Growing Okra, also Ladyfinger, gumbo

Abelmoschus esculentus : Malvaceae / the mallow family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec

Not recommended for growing in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions

  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 68°F and 95°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 14 - 24 inches apart
  • Harvest in 11-14 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Peppers (Capsicum, Chili), Eggplant (Aubergine)
  • Okra on flowering plant

Raise seedlings in a similar way to capsicums - warmth is essential. Pick pods when they are about 5 - 8 cm (2 - 4 inches) long. Cut the stem below the pod with a knife. If the stem is too tough to cut then the pod is probably inedible!

Wear gloves when picking as okra are often covered in tiny irritating hairs (which disappear when cooked).

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Okra

Use pods cut or whole in soups or casseroles as a boiled vegetable, or stirfry.
Freeze uncut okra pods for using later - they'll keep for months frozen.

Your comments and tips

12 Jul 24, Anonymous (USA - Zone 8b climate)
Can I plant okra for fall in area 8B?
14 Jul 24, (USA - Zone 8b climate)
Best to wait until March if you can
20 May 24, Bud Wheeler (USA - Zone 6b climate)
what days in the moon sign for okra in 6b to plant which best days
28 May 24, (USA - Zone 9a climate)
3 days before the full moon.
07 Sep 23, Alka (USA - Zone 7b climate)
Can we plant okra now
11 Sep 23, Anonymous (USA - Zone 7b climate)
Best to wait until next March/April to plant.
24 Jul 23, MichelleS (USA - Zone 8b climate)
I live in the south and can grow okra ok but every time I have it got attacked heavy by ants and possibly aphids (the ants may have been farming the aphids?) either way any time my okra would get to flowering the next morning the flower of small okra would be gone. I gave up trying. I put DE on them and that did nothing to deter the ants! I must have a special kind of ants here. Should I even bother trying to grow them?
02 Sep 23, Beavis McScroggins (USA - Zone 7a climate)
The ants actually choose to protect and farm either the okra or the aphids. Both produce sugar that feed the ants. The okra will produce small lesion like bumps that will feed the ants. The aphid leave a sugary waste. I got lucky and my ants killed the aphids. One of my okra plants is completely covered by the ants. I think I put it right above the main nest. I have harvested pods of it, and they are fine. I leave most of the it for the ants on this one. The other only has relatively few ants, and we have been eating/freezing them all summer. I found it kind of fascinating when I first saw/read about it.
08 Jul 24, MichelleS (USA - Zone 9a climate)
As a follow up: I found that if I plant okra several places throughout my garden (not all in one spot) and blast the ants or aphids off with water I’ve been able to grow several varieties of okra successfully this year. Very exciting! I just thought I’d pass on the info in case it helps anyone else with this problem. The aphids and ants don’t come back as soon as I thought they would and it’s worked very well for my cowpeas as well which were also covered in ants and aphids. Spraying them off with water in time saved my plants! No insecticide or BT needed.
09 Jul 23, (USA - Zone 8b climate)
I use mammoth sunflower to shade my squash
Showing 1 - 10 of 366 comments

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