Seed Swaps


Abelmoschus esculentus

Okra is part of the Abelmoschus genus and its scientific name is Abelmoschus esculentus.

Attractive plant with white hibiscus-like flowers with a purplish center.
The seed pods need to be picked when they are about 3 inches (7cm) long. They get woody and tough quickly after that, so plan on harvesting every other day.

Okra is related to cotton and cocoa as well as hibiscus. The flowers have 5 white to yellow petals often with a red or purple spot at the base of each petal.3

Okra is a flowering edible vegetable / houseplant annual, it will last but a year in its native climate.

Normally reaching to a mature height of 3.25 feet (1.00 metres).

Popular varieties of Okra with home gardeners are Clemson Spineless, Red Burgundy, Burgundy, Emerald and Cajun Delight.

Typically, Okra is normally fairly low maintenance and can thus be quite easy to grow - only a basic level of care is required throughout the year to ensure it thrives. Being aware of the basic growing conditions this plant likes (soil, sun and water) will result in a strong and vibrant plant.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Okra have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Okra

  • Full Sun

  • High

Usually grown as an annual, in tropical climates okra can be grown as a short lived perennial. Feed well every couple of months during the growing season. It will become dormant during the cooler months.

Enjoys a full sun position in your garden and remember to water often. Zone 5 to 11 are typically the USDA Hardiness Zones that are appropriate for this plant (although this can vary based on your microclimate). Okra requires a loamy soil with a ph of 6.0 - 6.5 - it grows best in weakly acidic soil. Keep in mind when planting that Okra is thought of as tender, so remember to wait until your soil is warm and the night time temperature is well above freezing before moving outside.

See our list of companion Plants for Okra to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Okra from seed

Try to aim for a seed spacing of at least 11.7 inches (30.0 cm) and sow at a depth of around 0.98 inches (2.5 cm). Soil temperature should be kept higher than 15°C / 59°F to ensure good germination.

Transplanting Okra

Ensure that temperatures are mild and all chance of frost has passed before planting out, as Okra is a tender plant.

Harvesting Okra

The pods should be picked (usually cut) while they are tender and immature (2 to 3 inches long for most varieties). They must be picked often—at least every other day. Okra plants have short hairs that may irritate bare skin. Wear gloves and long sleeves to harvest okra. Use pruning shears for clean cuts that do not harm the rest of the plant. When the stem is difficult to cut, the pod is probably too old to use. The large pods rapidly become tough and woody. The plants grow and bear until frost, which quickly blackens and kills them. Four or five plants produce enough okra for most families unless you wish to can or freeze some for winter use.1

Seed Saving Okra

If the pods are missed when harvesting and are too big and tough to use, leave on plant until dried and frost kills plant, then pull off pod and dry out during winter. Plant the seeds in the pod the next season. Be sure you have plenty of plants after you dedicate that one pod to seed harvest.

How long does Okra take to grow?

These estimates for how long Okra takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world.

Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!

Days to Germination How long does it take Okra to germinate?
6 days

Average 6 days | Min 1 days | Max 16 days (177)

Days to Transplant How long until I can plant out Okra?
+ 34 days

Average 34 days | Min 8 days | Max 81 days (29)

Days to Maturity How long until Okra is ready for harvest / bloom?
+ 64 days

Average 64 days | Min 24 days | Max 295 days (12)

Total Growing Days How long does it take to grow Okra?
= 104 days

Okra Etymology

The botanical epithet is from the Latin esculentus meaning “edible”. 2

Other names for Okra

Ladies' fingers, Hibiscus esculentus, Okra "lady's finer", bhindi bamia

Hibiscus esculentus

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1 “Okra entry on University of Illinois Extension ":

2 Latin Dictionary

3 Wikipedia entry on Okra

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