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  • Writer's pictureKassi Kuppinger

10 Different Types of Gourds for Your Autumn Decor

Gourds are such a fun part of the fall season, adding charm, character, and a bit of quirkiness to any fall decor, whether on your front porch or inside your home. If you love using gourds to decorate for fall, you may want to know what different types of gourds are out there to choose from! Not only can this help you find the gourds you are looking for, but it will also give you fun facts to share with your friends when they come over for pumpkin carving and are in awe of all your fun and festive cucurbits.

What Is a Gourd?

Gourds are a fascinating and versatile group of plants that have been cultivated for thousands of years for their practical and artistic purposes. These hard-shelled, often curiously shaped fruits belong to the Cucurbitaceae family, which includes cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, and squashes. Like other members of the Cucurbitaceae family, gourds grow on long vines. They can also be separated out into three major groups: Cucurbit gourds, Lagenaria gourds, and Luffa gourds. Cucurbit gourds are small and decorative with thick, colorful skin that is often covered in warts. Lagenaria gourds include bottle, basket, and dipper gourds, and are generally bigger and have a variety of uses, both practical and decorative. Luffa gourds are more often used for practical purposes than they are used for decoration. They have an elongated shape, and when dried out are very effective for use as a sponge. Very few gourds are good for eating, though some are tasty if harvested young.

Why Are Gourds Popular for Fall Decor?

Gourds have earned a cherished spot in fall decor due to their diverse shapes, sizes, and earthy hues that perfectly capture the essence of autumn. As the leaves change and the air crisps, these hard-shelled fruits, including pumpkins, squash, and ornamental gourds, come into season. Their warm colors, ranging from deep oranges to muted greens and browns, evoke the cozy ambiance of fall. Often intricately bumpy or curvy, gourds add a rustic touch to any setting, whether used as centerpieces or porch decorations. Their association with harvest, abundance, and the changing seasons makes gourds a beloved symbol of fall, transforming homes and spaces into vibrant, nature-inspired sanctuaries as the cooler months descend.

10 Types Of Gourds to Incorporate in Your Fall Decor

1. Apple Gourd

apple gourds

Apple gourds are charming, apple-shaped fruits that belong to the gourd family. With their petite size and delightful apple-like appearance, these gourds are popular choices for decorative purposes. Their smooth, colorful skin, often ranging from bright green to soft yellow, adds a touch of whimsy to fall arrangements. While they don't have the same culinary appeal as other gourd varieties, apple gourds are cherished for their ornamental value and their unique shape and vibrant hues make them a favorite among crafters and decorators alike.

2. Basket Gourd

basket gourd

Basket gourds, characterized by their hard, woody exterior, are incredibly versatile in both practical and artistic applications. These gourds have a hollow center, and when dried, their shells harden, making them ideal for crafting functional items like baskets, containers, and birdhouses. They are also often seen with intricate designs painted on them or carved into their exterior. The adaptability and aesthetic qualities of these types of gourds make them popular choices for many.

3. Bottle Gourd

bottle gourd, birdhouse gourd

The bottle gourd, also called birdhouse gourd, trumpet gourd, or calabash, is part of the Lagenaria group of gourds, is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world. Characterized by its elongated, bottle-like shape, this gourd is valued for its versatility. Young and tender fruits are edible and used in various cuisines, while the mature, dried gourds can be used to make containers of various kinds. In addition to their practical uses, the smooth surfaces of these gourds are also often carved, painted, or engraved, transforming them into intricate decorative items.

4. Daisy Gourd

Daisy Gourd

Daisy gourds, named for their resemblance to daisy flowers, are a delightful addition to the world of ornamental gourds. These small-sized gourds feature intricate patterns that resemble the petals of a daisy, and this, coupled with their vibrant colors, makes them highly sought after for decorative purposes. Often found in shades of yellow, orange, and green, daisy gourds are favorites in fall arrangements, adding natural beauty and a whimsical touch to harvest-themed displays. Their miniature size and charming aesthetics make them popular choices among the many different types of gourds.

5. Dipper Gourd

Dipper Gourd

Dipper gourds, another type of gourd that belongs to the Lagenaria group, are distinctive for their elongated, dipper-like shape. These plants have been cultivated for centuries due to the practical use of their dried, hollowed-out fruits which can be used as ladles. Also appreciated for their decorative appeal, the smooth surfaces of dipper gourds are often carved or painted, turning them into artistic items or ornaments. With their dual roles as both practical tools and creative canvases, dipper gourds hold a unique place in the worlds of both functionality and artistry.

6. Nest Egg Gourd

Nest Egg Gourd

Belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family, Nest egg gourds, aptly named for their resemblance to bird eggs, are charming ornamental gourds that boast smooth, often pastel-colored skins. While they are not typically consumed, they are often used in creative projects, such as crafting ornaments, garlands, and wreaths. Their natural elegance makes them popular additions to various seasonal and festive displays.

7. Penguin Gourd

penguin gourd

Penguin gourds, named for their resemblance to the charming birds of the Antarctic, are unique members of the gourd family. These gourds, scientifically known as Cucurbita pepo, are often green or speckled in appearance with their shape being similar to that of penguins. They are often transformed into art pieces, ornaments, and even functional items like birdhouses, with their smooth surfaces providing an excellent canvas for artists of all kinds.

8. Speckled Swan Gourd

Speckled Swan Gourd

Speckled swan gourds, scientifically classified as Lagenaria siceraria, are distinguished by their smooth, speckled skins, which come in a variety of colors, including white, green, and orange, adorned with unique patterns reminiscent of delicate swan feathers. Beyond their aesthetic charm, these gourds have become popular in the world of decorative crafts, with their distinctive shapes and patterns being utilized to create stunning and imaginative ornaments, vases, and sculptures.

9. Sponge Gourd

Sponge Gourd

Sponge gourds, scientifically known as Luffa aegyptiaca, are fascinating members of the gourd family prized for their unique texture and usefulness. Unlike most gourds, these plants produce fruits that, when mature, develop a network of fibrous tissue inside, creating a natural sponge-like structure. Once dried, these sponges are widely utilized for exfoliating the skin, cleaning, and scrubbing, making them eco-friendly alternatives to synthetic sponges. Sponge gourds also feature vibrant yellow flowers which add a touch of exotic beauty to gardens.

10. Winged Gourd

Sponge Gourd

Winged gourds are part of the Cucurbita group and are thick-skinned with highly irregular colors, patterns, shapes, and degrees of smoothness. Many feature ridges or "wings", warts, and curved necks and come in shades of yellow, orange, green, and white. While not good for eating, winged gourds are perhaps the most popular of gourds for use in fall decorating, with their vibrant colors, attractive patterns, and unusual shapes.

Shop Gourds at Bath Garden Center in Fort Collins

At Bath Garden Center, we have many different types of gourds for you to add to your holiday decor this fall. Spruce up your front porch and add some spunk and character with hundreds of weird, warty, and fun options. You can also pick up your pie pumpkins and carving pumpkins too! Visit Bath Garden Center in Fort Collins today for all your fall decorating needs. See you soon!

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