Okra Growing Guide

Okra is a warm-season sun loving vegetable that grows well in most warm areas of the country.  Okra is good source of vitamin A and can be eaten in a variety of ways such as, boiled, fried, and cooked in soups, gumbos, and casseroles.

Site selection

For high yields, okra prefers full sunlight and fertile, well-drained soil.

Soil preparation

Okra grows grow best in fertile, weed free soil that has been worked 8 to 10 inches deep.


Plant okra 2 to 3 weeks after all danger of frost has passed in the spring. For a fall crop, plant at least 3 months before the first fall frost. 

Plant the okra seeds about ½ to1 inch deep and 2 inches apart in rows at least 3 feet apart.  When the okra is about two-three inches tall, thin the seedlings to about 1 foot apart



Okra will do fairly well under dry conditions. However, if you water the plants every 7 to 10 days, your yield will be much higher. Sandy soils require watering more often as apposed to clay soils.

Care during the season

Remove weeds and grass from around the okra plants. It's best to remove weeds close to the plants by hand to avoid destroying the okra roots. Reapply garden fertilizer after the first harvest. 

Scatter the fertilizer evenly between the rows. Mix it lightly with the soil. Water the plants after fertilizing.


Flea beetles and aphids may attack okra. K nock flea beetles and aphids off plants with a strong stream of water. Organic options for insect control include sulfur and BT-based insecticides. 


Diseases on okra are more severe in cloudy, damp weather areas making them more susceptible to verticillium and fusarium wilt. This causes the plants to suddenly wilt, dry up, and die, usually in midsummer just as plants begin to produce. Check the plants routinely and treat them with an approved fungicide if diseases appear use Neem oil, sulfur. There are other fungicides on the market as well. Always follow label directions. 


Okra plants start to produce large flowers about 2 months they start growing.

Its best to harvest the tender pods when they are 3 to 4 inches long. If the okra gets too large, it will be tough and woody. Pick the okra every 1 to 3 days or yields will decrease. 

Okra stores well for 3-5 days in the refrigerator.

To save okra seed for the nest season leave some of the last pods on the plant until they grow very large. Remove and allow to dry. The seeds shell out easily from the pods. Other okra plant material such as leaves and stems can be composted. 

Companion plants

Cucumbers , Basil,  Eggplant, Peppers, Melons, and Southern peas.