Whether you eat okra or not, this plant is worth growing with deep crimson red pods and gorgeous yellow flowers that bees love. The most productive red variety, these plants produce tender, 6"-long pods that are delicious in soup, gumbo, and stew, or deep-fried. Introduced in 1983; An All-America Selections winner in 1988.
Botanical Name: Abelmoschus esculentus
Days to Maturity: 55–60 days
Native: Unknown; probably tropical Africa and Asia
Hardiness: Frost-sensitive annual. In frost-free areas, okra may be grown as a perennial.
Plant Dimensions: 4' tall, 24" wide. Can grow taller in longer season areas.
Variety Information: Dark red, grooved pods best harvested at 6" or shorter. 'Red Burgundy' is touted as the most productive red variety.
When to Sow Outside: 1 to 2 weeks after your average last frost date.
When to Start Inside: Recommended for cold climates only: 4 to 6 weeks before your average last frost date, when soil temperature is at least 70°F, ideally 80°–90°F. Use biodegradable pots to reduce root disturbance.
Days to Emerge: 10 –15 days
Seed Depth: ½"–1"
Seed Spacing: A group of 3 seeds every 18"–24"
Row Spacing: 4' apart
Thinning: When 4" tall thin to 1 every 18"–24"
Harvesting: Okra is most tender when harvested at about 3"-4" long. Cut the thick stem with a sharp knife. The use of gloves and long sleeves is advised, as some people have an allergic reaction to the foliage. After initial harvest, removal of the lowest set of leaves will increase production. Harvest regularly; if pods are allowed to mature, plant will stop producing.
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