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How to Grow Okra

Can you believe it!? Some people do not know what Okra is! Many people say they have never eaten it. If you have ever had a Gumbo recipe of any kind, you have had Okra. If you've eaten any southern cooking, it's very likely that you've had Okra. The part of the plant that you eat, is actually the Okra seed pod.

Okra is grown all over the world. It is most common in the southern part of the U.S., and uncommon elsewhere. Now here comes the good part..... Growing Okra is easy, and it grows quickly. It's quick maturation, makes it a vegetable that can be grown even in areas with short seasons. So, if you have not tried it in your garden before, give it a try this year.

Did You Know? Okra is related to Hibiscus.

Common varieties include:

  • Clemson Spineless

  • Dwarf Long Pod Green

  • Red Burgundy

Sowing Okra Seeds:

Sow Okra seeds 1/2 inch or less deep. Space seeds 6 to 8 inches apart, in rows 2 feet apart. A week or so after germination, thin plants to a final spacing of 12 to 18 inches apart.

Sow seeds early, after all danger of frost has past, and the weather has warmed. Do not rush to plant them after the last frost. The seeds prefer warm weather and warm soil to germinate. The plants grow quickly in warm weather.

Maturity: 50-60 days.

How to Grow Okra:

Okra  plants are quick growing in hot weather. It loves the heat more than perhaps most other vegetables. Provide full sun and rich, well drained soil. Keep them watered, but make sure to provide good drainage, as they do not like to keep their feet wet for extended periods. Apply both fertilizer and mulch.

Also See:

Plant Problems

Soil Temperatures - Ideal germination temperature by vegetable

Ideal Soil pH - by vegetable


Harvest Okra when the pods are 3 - 4 inches long, while they are young and tender.

Okra pods will get hard and stringy quickly. Pick the pods regularly, as often as every other day. This encourages the plant to produce more flowers and pods for an extended period of time.

Insects and Pests:

Aphids and other insects enjoy sucking on the juices of the plants. The first time this author ever grew it, the Okra mainly fed the insects. Insect control is important for a bountiful harvest.

More on Plant Problems


Commonly grown in the south, Okra is susceptible to frost. Pod production diminishes in cool weather.

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