Growing Okra, also Ladyfinger, gumbo

Abelmoschus esculentus : Malvaceae / the mallow family

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

(Best months for growing Okra in USA - Zone 5a regions)

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • P = Sow seed
  • 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 20°C and 35°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 35 - 60 cm 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

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.
09 Jul 23, (USA - Zone 8b climate)
I use mammoth sunflower to shade my squash
02 Mar 23, Martha Chigova (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Can I plant okra in March
30 Jan 23, Sharon (USA - Zone 10b climate)
Can i grow okra year around? What variety to plant?
01 Feb 23, Anonymous (USA - Zone 10b climate)
Not advised. Choose any variety.
13 Oct 22, Farin Bourne (Canada - Zone 3b Temperate Warm Summer climate)
There are some amazing recipes of okra on YouTube for curried and fried okra
04 Sep 22, Ted Ledbetter (USA - Zone 4b climate)
I am in zone 4b never have good luck growing my okra tried it for a few years now northern lower Michigan.any help thank you ted
Showing 1 - 10 of 358 comments

I've grown it in Chch before. It grew well (lots of vegetation) but I didn't get a very big harvest off it.

- Tim

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