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Okra

Abelmoschus esculentus

Also known as

Gumbo, Lady's Fingers, Bhindi, Bamia, Lady fingers

Full Sun
Moderate care
Moderate watering
Tender

H2

RHS hardiness

1°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

1.1m

Max

35cm

1.5m

Min

1.2m

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a mild fragrance

Okra Overview

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

Seed

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

Attracts birds

Okra flowers attract nectar drinking birds like sunbirds.

Attracts useful insects

This species attracts beneficial insects such as beetles, bees and butterflies.

Pot plant

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.

Crop rotation

Medium Feeder

Attractive flowers

Flowers are a pale yellow/cream, with a dark red centre.

Other uses of Okra

Used as vegetable

Medicinal

Okra is loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants

Edible

Similar in taste to eggplant, okra is used in shellfish, corn, onion and tomato dishes. Avoid over-cooking or they become slimy.