Also known as
Gumbo, Lady's Fingers, Bhindi, Bamia, Lady fingers
This plant has a mild fragrance
Okra is a heat-loving plant, and would be the last to suffer during a dry spell. Gardeners will have a good supply of this versatile vegetable until it stops producing if not picked continuously. Once loved by the Egyptians, is has been grown as vegetable from 3500 years ago. It has one of the most beautiful blooms in the vegetable garden too!
Common problems with Okra
This species has many pests such as aphids, vegetable leafminer and corn earworm. The best method to ensure they don't affect the crop production would be to apply organic pest resistant spray (Garlic, chili, tobacco and soap spray) on the fruits and leaves.
How to harvest Okra
Pick the fruit when they are still young and soft and before they grow too large and fibrous. Harvest when fruits are 5 - 7 cm long. If you are after the seeds, allow the seed pods to develop fully and let them dry out before collection and storage.
How to propagate Okra
Soak the seeds overnight. Sow 2-3 seeds per hole when the temperature is above 20 C at a depth of 1.5-2.5 cm and space them 45 to 90 cm apart. Sowing time is best during spring.
Special features of Okra
Okra flowers attract nectar drinking birds like sunbirds.
Attracts useful insects
This species attracts beneficial insects such as beetles, bees and butterflies.
It can be grown in any sized pot, but a large deep pot works best as this species can grow very tall and needs a large amount of root space.
Flowers are a pale yellow/cream, with a dark red centre.
Other uses of Okra
Used as vegetable
Okra is loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
Similar in taste to eggplant, okra is used in shellfish, corn, onion and tomato dishes. Avoid over-cooking or they become slimy.