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

05 Nov 08, Sina (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Okra should germinate in 10-21 days at 20C, so you shouldnt need to use black plastic. Soaking the seeds in lukewarm water for at least two hours will definately help. In a temperate zone it is definatly worth growing in tubs as warmth is necessary especially at night at all times, but if you get up to 40C, a sheltered spot will do. well watered and a foliar mist and a couple of liquid feeds will keep them happy. Usually start to crop in 52 days
01 Feb 12, Silversurfer (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I had great success planting early crop of Okra in 2011. I use the Burgundy Okra which is somewhat cold tolerant (Eden Seeds). I soaked seeds in warm water for 2 hours and heated up the ground or seed tray prior to planting (clear plastic) and maintained greenhouse conditions with a portable cover (very easy low cost cover) = significant increase in propagation. I cropped and ate these for 2 months and followed up by planting green Star of David Okra. Same method produced great propagation results BUT I have a problem with these at harvest. I'm hoping someone has an answer. The Star of David sprouted the fattest Okra Ive ever seen. I thought Id managed to grow giant Okra yet no matter how short I picked them they remained too hard to eat - huge unusable crop - I only collected seeds. U guys got any answers? I will plant a late summer crop of Burgundy Okra that can survive longest into winter. Combining the use of cold tolerant and green Okra I hope to crop for 8 months a year.
30 Nov 12, Dennis patuwairua (New Zealand - temperate climate)
where can I purchase okra plants in New Zealand
23 Dec 12, Lee (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Usually I find plants at local markets, otherwise have to start from seed. Yates, Kings and Egmont have okra seeds of various types. The last lot of plants I bought were from a grower in Rama Rama, which is considerably further south than here, but much flatter and further from the sea so their climate can be quite dry and hot. I've never seen okra sold as plants or seedlings at generic garden centres. This may be because I live in urban Auckland and the weather is borderline for growing okra - first sign of coldness and they halt and sometimes never start growing again. Humid conditions can also attract powdery mildew here.
09 Jun 17, Dale (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
...can you tell me what time of the year is suitable for planting okra ..
12 Jun 17, Jack (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Sow seed in trays in August/September and transplant out in October/November
04 Oct 17, David Reade (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Source of seeds, young plants in Wellington? And how wet and wind tolerant are they?
07 Oct 17, Julia (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
seeds available online from various sellers and all post nz wide :)
22 Nov 17, InWelly (New Zealand - temperate climate)
seeds at Bunnings Mitre10 etc germinate easy inside so far no successful transplants tho
09 Jan 18, David (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I have a new glasshouse and wonder whether I will be able to grow okra in this. Any tips? thanks
Showing 1 - 10 of 25 comments

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