Okra are a rewarding vegetable to grow at home and an excellent addition to any garden. Below we share the basics of growing okra in a home garden, as well as common mistakes and considerations.
Okra are not a frost tolerant vegetable. This means the best time to plant them is mid to late spring, once there is no longer a chance of frost in your area.
Plant your okra seeds directly in the soil of your garden or container at a depth of 0.5 inches (1 centimetre). Seeds can be planted outside or you can germinate them indoors and transplant them later. Typically, okra seeds take about 1 - 2 weeks to fully germinate.
If transplanting, the best time to move okra plants outside is when they reach 3 - 4 inches (7 - 10 centimetres) tall or have at least 3 - 4 true leaves.
When planting okra in the garden, it’s best to space them 1 - 2 feet (30 - 60 centimetres) away from the nearest plant.
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The key to caring for okra in containers is well draining soil and a pot big enough for their root system. Aim for a pot that is roughly 577 cubic inches (9,455 cubic centimetres) in size. A typical 10 or 12 inch flower pot is a great container option for okra.
For more in depth information, check out our full guide on growing okra in containers.
On average, it takes about 50 - 65 days for planted okra seeds to develop into a fully mature plant.
Typically, okra plants reach about 2 - 3 feet (or 75 centimetres) in height. Though this can fluctuate depending on the variety.
Okra need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day in order to thrive. Be careful to place your plants in an area that receives adequate sunlight. Otherwise, they may not mature properly.
Okra like well draining soil that is kept consistently moist, but not wet or soggy. The amount of water it takes to achieve this effect will differ depending on the type of soil available to you.
Be sure to water your okra on a consistent, steady schedule. This will ensure the plant yields a healthy, uniform crop.
If growing your okra in pots, they will need to be watered more frequently than okra planted directly in the garden.
You will know your okra are in need of more water when their leaves wilt, yellow, and/or the plant begins to droop. But be careful, this can also happen if the plant receives too much water. This is a difficult balance for most novice gardeners. But the more time you spend with your okra, the better you’ll be able to gauge how thirsty they are.
Okra are ready to pick when the pods are 2 - 4 inches (5 - 10 centimetres) long. Leaving a short bit of stem attached, cut the okra from the plant with a sharp knife or scissors.