Okra or Abelmoschus Esculentus is a flowering plant in the family of mallow. It has edible green pods that are originated from Asian and African countries. The Plant is cultivated in tropical and subtropical warm regions of all over the world.
Okras are gardener friendly crop plants as they produce in bulk amounts and brings huge profit to them. It is quite easy to grow them in large containers or through landscaping as it requires minimal care to harvest raw okras.
They are used as a culinary dish in various recipes. Pods can be cooked, steamed, fried or eaten raw and often used in stews & soups. Because of its high nutritional value, they are also used to cure several health problems like BP, cancer and digestive problems.
Nutritional Information: Okras are naturally cholesterol free. On serving 100 grams of okra contains 33 grams of calories, 7 grams of carbohydrates and less amount of proteins and fats. It is also a good source of riboflavin, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, dietary fiber, thiamin and folate that helps to cure several health problems and makes you live long, happy life.
Okra Varieties: Okra plant varieties are classified based on the seed pot height, color, maturity time and its growing season. Here is the list of some popular okra varieties that you can grow in your home and garden.
|1||Clemson||Dark green with angular pods|
|2||Emerald||Dark green with smooth round pods|
|3||Annie Oakley||Spineless okra with bright green, angular pods|
|4||Chinese okra||Dark green color and grows up to 12 inches height|
|5||Purple okra||Leaves resembles in new guinea|
- 1 How to Grow Okra from Seeds?
- 2 How to Propagate Okra from Cuttings?
- 3 How do you Care for Okra Trees?
- 4 What are the Health Benefits of eating Okra?
- 5 Is Okra an annual or a perennial?
- 6 What grows well with okras?
- 7 How long will okra plants produce?
- 8 Why okra plant leaves turning yellow?
How to Grow Okra from Seeds?
The edible parts of the plant are used as the ingredient in cooking recipes. Because of its popularity and easy care gardeners often grow their own okra that does best when directly placed in the garden.
- Choose okra seed variety to grow them in pots.
- Prepare soil and sow the seeds in pots.
- Provide water and sunlight.
- Add fertilizers if necessary to the plants.
- Harvest okras or ladies fingers when it develops.
Seed Variety: Before start growing okras from seeds choose a seed variety and soak seeds overnight to speed up the germination process.They have thick seed coats that make easier to germinate. Now plant 2-3 seeds in rows that are 12 inches apart.
Pot and Soil: Purchase a small pot of size 6 inches both width and depth to start from sowing seeds. When the seedlings germinate and mature you can transfer it to bigger pots. Okras generally prefer soil with a neutral pH between 6.5 and 7.0.
Water and Sunlight: Water your seeds regularly and also to prevent the soil from drying out. Keep the pot or container in sunlight for a minimum of 6-8 hours a day. Okras usually grow in warm climatic conditions. To maintain an optimum temperature of 65 – 70 F.
Pollination: Ladies fingers are self-pollinating plants. They produce beautiful flowers that contain both male and female gametes for fertilizing by their own pollen. It does not require any insects or wind to pollinate plants.
Pruning: Wear cotton gloves to protect your skin from the irritating leaves of okra. Select a stem of the plant to prune at the back for few days and also remove vine offshoots with pruning shears. It is done to improve the plant growth and produce ladies fingers with high yield.
|S. No||Element||Deficiency symptom|
|1||Nitrogen||Yellow leaves, thin shoots|
|2||Phosphorus||Dark green leaves|
|3||Potassium||Brownish yellow color leaf margins, scorched leaves|
|4||Magnesium||Green veins, yellow spots on lower leaves|
|5||Zinc||Small and mottled leaves, thin stem|
Pests & Diseases
|Spider mite||Damping off|
|Spotted bollworm||Fusarium wilt|
|Bugs||Cercospora leaf spot|
Fertilizers: Okra requires warm, humid conditions to produce effectively. Use N-P-K fertilizer in the ratio of (10-10-10) at the base of the soil. You can also use organic fertilizers such as compost, manure, cottonseed meal and bone meal to bloom flowers quickly.
Harvesting: Your 1st harvest is ready after 2 months from planting. Harvest okras every other day when they are 2-3 inches long. For this cut the stem just above the cap with the knife. If it is too hard to cut then the pod is too old and should be tossed.
After harvesting, keep okras in a refrigerator that lasts for 2-3 days. If okras are properly packed it can also last for 2-3 months without using the fridge.
How to Propagate Okra from Cuttings?
Before propagating okra from cuttings, you need to prepare the soil with well-rotted compost with clay soil. It is a well-known vegetable in hot summer growing regions. Use this method by selecting a mature okra stem cuttings at moderate temperatures to grow at the landscape or outdoors. Here are 2 methods to propagate okra plants from cuttings i.e. by placing cuttings in water and in the soil.
Rooting in Soil: For take stem cuttings of size 8-12 inches, you wish to root okras in the soil. Now trim off the bottom leaves to prevent from bacterial, fungal diseases and also prepare the soil by adding mulches to it. Water the plant a little and care for it by providing sufficient sunlight and nutrients. Within 2 weeks root starts developing and you can place it in bigger pots.
Rooting in Water: For rooting the stem cuttings in water, take the cutting of certain height and place them in a jar or glass of water. Provide sunlight to the cuttings and change the water in the jar for every 2-3 days. Once the root grows you can transplant it to outdoors to promote faster growth.
How do you Care for Okra Trees?
Okra plants can be easily grown at both indoors and outdoors and requires a lot of care for okra plants. Here are some useful tips to grow and care for your home growing okras plants…
- Avoid over watering as it may result from the plant to root rot.
- Fertilize the okra plants for every 2 months with organic matter.
- Wear gloves and face masks while fertilizing okra plants at home.
- Do not overwater the plant as it may result in root rot and may even die.
- The pot or container has holes at the bottom for air circulation and proper drainage.
- When the plant matures it grows to a height of 3-4 feet tall transplant it to outdoors.
- Follow instructions and warning labels on seed covers, fertilizers before using them.
- Plant receives enough sunlight for a minimum of 6-8 hrs a day when placed in pots.
- Add mulches (leaves, ripen fruits & vegetables)at the base of the plant to retain soil moisture levels.
- Keep children and pets (especially your loving dogs & cats) away from plants when you use fertilizers for a better plant growth.
What are the Health Benefits of eating Okra?
Okra is a flowering plant that is known as ladies fingers in all parts of the world. They are too costly to buy because of its seed pods. Consuming okras will not only adds tasty to your delicious food but has many health benefits that include the ability to improve the bone health, digestive system, and metabolism and prevents cancers.
Vision: The antioxidants components like beta carotenes, xanthein, and lutein neutralize free radicals that are dangerous for performing metabolic activities. These free radicals are responsible for the cell degradation in the body. It also improves the eyesight and keeps the eye related problems away.
Digestion: Adding okra in your diet significantly increases the total fiber intake that helps to move your food easily through the digestive tract. Bowel movements are regular and reduce the gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, cramping and constipation.
Boosts Immune: High vitamin C content in okra boosts the body immunity system. It can stimulate the immune system to create white blood cells and combat against the pathogens.
Blood Pressure: Vitamins and minerals are the important aspects of human health. Potassium helps to maintain proper fluid balance in your body, relaxes blood vessels and arteries thereby reducing the blood pressure and strain on cardiovascular muscles.
Though there are many health benefits of okras, consuming in excess amounts may result in some side effects like common cold, throat infections and may even cause acidity in the stomach.
Is Okra an annual or a perennial?
Okra is a flowering plant that is grown for its edible green seed pods. These plants are cultivated in tropical, sub-tropical and warm temperate regions of all over the world. The species is an annual perennial plant that usually grows to a height o 2 meters tall.
What grows well with okras?
Okras grow well when you plant along with melons, lettuce, peas, radishes, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, sweet peppers and eggplant. Companion plants with okras helps to deter pests and boost the growth and production.
How long will okra plants produce?
The plant reaches maturity within 50-60 days. It produces okras after 10-12 weeks from the time of its maturity stage. The plant grows and bears seed pods until the frost has passed away. During frost conditions, okras turn black and may even die.
Why okra plant leaves turning yellow?
Okra plant leaves turn yellow due to the lack of sunlight and nutrients supplied to the plants. Sometimes it can also be due to the overwatering of plants. These yellow leaves lack chlorophyll pigments, catalyst that converts sunlight to food for the plant and are naturally resistance to insects and diseases.
Start growing ladies finger in your home that adds beauty to your garden and monitors your health. If you have amazing ideas about ladies fingers, please share your experience with us.