Hard-shelled Gourd, Calabash 'Birdhouse'

Lagenaria siceraria

Family: Cucurbitaceae (koo-ker-bih-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lagenaria (lag-en-AR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: siceraria (sy-ker-AR-ee-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Birdhouse
Additional cultivar information:(aka Martin House)



Vines and Climbers

Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer




Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Loxley, Alabama

Vincent, Alabama

Hereford, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Menifee, California

Longmont, Colorado

Brooksville, Florida

Dunnellon, Florida

Fountain, Florida

Lakeland, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Venice, Florida

Hinesville, Georgia

Mcdonough, Georgia

Villa Rica, Georgia

Clinton, Illinois

Collinsville, Illinois

Murphysboro, Illinois

Windom, Minnesota

Byhalia, Mississippi

Gautier, Mississippi

Lucedale, Mississippi

Saucier, Mississippi

Mount Laurel, New Jersey

Yonkers, New York

Vinton, Ohio

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

West Warwick, Rhode Island

Lenoir City, Tennessee

Selmer, Tennessee

Conroe, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Houston, Texas

Lufkin, Texas

Round Rock, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 12, 2010, dianne99 from Brookville, KS (Zone 5b) wrote:

I just planted these out, so no rating yet. All of this is according to Suzanne Ashworth in Seed to Seed. Lagenaria siceraria will not cross with any other member of the Cucurbitaceae family. So you can safely save seeds while growing one variety of this with one each of C. maxima (squash), C. mixta (squash), C. moschata (squash), C. pepo (squash), C. ficifolia (Malabar Gourd or Chilacayote), and C. foetidissima (Calabazilla) without any crossing possible. Of course, any fruit would not be affected, only the seeds would be affected if you planted more than one of each.
Great book, she does such a thorough job of explaining. Some very useful gourds from ancient civilizations are becoming extinct, so we should all try to protect one variety for other generations...so if you hav... read more


On Jun 12, 2010, gray_53 from Mcdonough, GA wrote:

Mine always get yellow and white spots on the leaves, and it seems to damage them. Any suggestions?


On Feb 18, 2009, passiflora07 from Fern Park, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Just wanted to say thanks to onalee for such a thorough note!!


On Nov 24, 2008, CurtisJones from Longmont, CO wrote:

From your friends at Botanical Interests: Birdhouse gourds make great birdhouses. Once cured, these hard-shelled gourds will last indefinitely and can be painted, carved, cut, or drilled as you would do with wood for literally hundreds of craft projects. They can be made into pots, planters, bowls, toys, and even hanging baskets. The 15’ to 35’ vines can be grown along the ground or up a VERY STURDY trellis or fence.


On Feb 8, 2007, tiLLybuG from Murphysboro, IL wrote:

We had great success growing birdhouse gourds along our fence row in Southern Il. They can benefit from being fertilized during flowering and fruiting stages as long as you keep the nitrogen content low.


On Oct 16, 2005, Daisyriver from Windom, MN (Zone 5a) wrote:

harvested 30 gourds from two plants...also harvested 8 dipper and 6 corsican gourds. Sowed indoors in peat pots may 1 and planted in garden on Memorial Day. Harvested the first week in October. This summer was warm and humid with well spaced moisture. I did not feed. Most of the gourds are are of sufficient size for purple martins.


On Sep 26, 2005, zemerson from Calvert County, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have grown this two years in a row but neither year did I get any fruit off of it. The little baby fruit developed but out of hundreds of little fruit, none grew any bigger. But the plant I measured growing 5-6" a day! This thing covered my front porch completely within a month. I would assume it would do better with a longer growing season.


On Jul 6, 2005, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

Easy, satisfactory plant to grow. I let mine crawl up a tree where it added to the summer shade canopy over a garden bench.


On Oct 11, 2004, onalee from Brooksville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

If you have a growing season of at least 90-100 days and plenty of space, you can be the proud owner of several hard-shelled gourds (Lagenaria siceraria), sometimes known as Birdhouse Gourds, by fall.

The vines will quickly cover a trellis, hide a chain-link fence, wrap around trees, and then keep growing! Despite the vine's need for vast amount of space, it's a fascinating plant to grow that adults and kids love. The resulting gourds can be made into birdhouses, feeders, baskets, dishes or planters.

The vine requires a long hot growing season of 90 - 100 days. Since gourds demand a long growing season, they can be started indoors 4 weeks prior to planting outdoors. I have successfully started gourds in regular pots with soil and transplanted them to the gar... read more


On Aug 6, 2001, Cine from Lufkin, TX wrote:

Green hourglass-shaped fruits 8-10 inches long are decorative fresh and useful when made into birdhouses. Fun project for kids or paint with funny faces.

In full sun, sow 5 seeds over a hill 12 inches tall and 2 ft across with well drained soil. Smaller gardens plant along fence/trellis. When 6 inches tall, thin to 3 plants/hill.

Late to mature. When skin is hard, cut from vines. To make birdhouse, spead in warm airy place until thoroughly dry. Cut a hole for "door", shake out seeds and hang outside. Best left natural for birdhouses.