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Okra

Botanical Name
Abelmoschus esculentus
Height
3 to 6 feet
Flowers
2 to 3 inch hibiscus-like with purple throat; yellow, pink, orange-red, red; last just one day but blooms throughout the growing season
Fruit
Pods
Light
Full sun
Soil
Moist, well-drained
Planting & Care
  • Okra is sensitive to cold temperatures
  • Plant seeds outside after soil temperatures have reached 60°F and night temperatures remain above 55°F
  • Seedlings can be started indoors 1 to 2 weeks before the last frost date
  • Plants should be hardened off and transplanted outside after all danger of frost has passed
  • When direct sowing outdoors, plant seeds 1 inch deep in hills 12 to 24 inches apart.  When the seedlings reach 3 inches in height, thin to a single strong plant per hill.
  • Seeds can be soaked in water or wrapped in moist paper towels overnight to speed germination
  • Most varieties can be harvested when pods are tender and immature and reach 2 to 3 inches in length
  • Wear gloves and long sleeves when harvesting as okra plants have short hairs that may irritate the skin
  • Use a pruning shear to harvest pods to avoid damage to the plant
  • Pods can quickly become large, tough and woody.  If it is difficult to cut with a shears when harvesting, it is probably too old to use.
Problems
Aphids, cabbage worms, corn earworm, mites, slugs, whitefly, powdery mildew
Varieties
  • Annie Oakley - 52 days to harvest, compact plant, tender pods
  • Clemson Spineless - All-America Selections winner, 4 feet tall plants, pods ready to harvest when 2.5 to 3 inches
  • Candle Fire - All-America Selections winner, non-ribbed bright red pods, plants have red stems and are very attractive in the garden
  • Cajun Delight - AAS winner, 3 to 5 inch tender pods, matures in 50-55 days, 4 feet

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