- Germination Days: 7-14
- Hardiness Zone:3-10
- Planting Depth:1/2"- 1”
- Plant Spacing:12”
- Row Spacing:24”
- Growth Habit:upright
- Soil Preference:fertile, rich in organic matter. 6.0 – 7.0 pH
- Temp Preference:warm
- Light Preference:full sun
- Days to Maturity:55 days
- You can start okra seeds indoors in peat pots about 3 to 4 weeks before the last spring frost date.
- In warmer areas, you can also start okra directly in the garden 3 to 4 weeks before the last spring frost date as long as you cover the plants until the weather warms up fully.
- Plant okra seeds about 1/2 to 1” deep and 12 to 18 inches apart in a row. You can soak the seeds overnight to help speed up germination.
- Okra prefers warm weather, select a location where the plant can receive full sun.
- Okra is adaptable to most soils type, but performs best in well-drained soil that’s rich in organic matter.
- Okra plants are tall, so space out the rows 3 to 4 feet apart.
- Okra prefers constant moisture and weed free. Apply a layer of mulch 2 to 3” high around the plant.
- Apply aged manure, or rich compost as a side dressing
- When the seedlings are about 3 inches tall, thin the plants so that they are 12 to 18 inches apart, if they aren’t already.
- Keep plants well-watered throughout the summer months; 1 inch of water per week is ideal, use more if you are in a hotter region.
- After the first harvest, remove the lower leaves to help speed up production.
Common Okra Growing Problems
- Seeds did not germinate:Soil is not warm enough for germination; soil temp must be at least 70°F for okra to germinate. Pre-soak seeds in water for 24 hours before sowing.
- Plant flowers but pods do not form:Temperature fluctuations can interfere with pollinations. Pollination will be poor if temperatures rise above 90 °F or drop below 55 °F. Too little light, water stress, and excess nitrogen also inhibit pod formation.
- Spots on leaves; spot become circular with gray centers.Leaf spot is a fungus disease. Plant resistant varieties. Rotate crops. Keep garden free of plant debris. Plant in well-drained soil.
- Black water-soaked blotches on stems and leaves:Anthracnose is a fungus disease that spreads in high humidity & rainfall. Leaves may wither and fall. Plant may die back. Remove & discard infected plants. Avoid working in garden when it is wet which can result in spread of spores.
- Plants stunted, leaves yellow, roots decayed:Fusarium root or stem rot is a fungal disease that favors warm soil. Remove infected plants and plant debris that harbor fungus. Rotate crops. Rotate crops regularly. Solarize the soil in late spring or summer.
- Leaves turn yellow and then brown from the bottom up; plant loses vigor:Root knot nematode is a microscopic eelworm that attacks roots. Rotate crops. Remove old plant debris from garden.
- Yellow leaves and curled, shiny specks on leaves: Aphids are tiny, oval, and yellowish to greenish pear-shaped insects that colonize on the undersides of leaves. They leave behind sticky excrement called honeydew which can turn into a black sooty mold. Use insecticidal soap.
- Yellow leaves; tiny white winged insects around plants.Whiteflies will congregate on the undersides of leaves and fly up when disturbed. Remove infested leaves & the whole plant if infestation is serious.
- Holes in pods.Corn earworm is a brown-headed caterpillar with lengthwise stripes to 2 inches long; the adult is a night-flying moth with brownish or olive wings and bright green eyes. The worm will tunnel into pods. Handpick caterpillars and destroy.
- Deformed pods.Southern green stink bug is a light green bug to ½-inch long. Bug sucks sap from leaves and pods causing them to become twisted and deformed. Spray with insecticidal soap.