How to Grow Okra in a Pot
Gardeners with limited growing space strive to balance the space with edible and ornamental plants. This is especially easy when an edible plant exhibits showy flowers, adding beauty as well as food to the garden. A relative of hibiscus, okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) features edible, finger-like pods and large flowers similar to ornamental hibiscus flowers, usually in shades of white or creamy yellow with a deep red center. While gardeners traditionally grow this heat-loving plant in the ground, pots make it possible to grow okra on balconies and patios and extend the growing season for cooler climates.
Select a pot for the okra plant that is at least 10 inches in diameter. You can use a 10-inch or larger pot from a garden center or use a 5-gallon bucket, which has a top diameter of about 12 inches and a bottom diameter of about 10 1/2 inches.
Drill 1/4 inch or smaller holes in the bottom of the container and line the bottom with gravel or broken pottery pieces to allow excess water to easily drain from the soil. The pot requires a plate or tray to catch excess water as it drains from the bottom of the pot.
Place the pot in a location that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day and where nighttime temperatures are no less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Okra seeds germinate best when soil temperatures are between 75 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The pot becomes quite heavy when filled with watered potting mix, so you may find it easier to place the pot in the desired location when it is empty.
Prepare a potting mix for the pot or choose a bagged mix that drains well. You can use a soilless potting mix, containing equal parts sphagnum peat, sand and vermiculite, or amend garden soil with equal parts garden soil, organic matter, sand and vermiculite. Garden soil compacts rapidly in container gardens without the addition of organic matter, sand and vermiculite to improve soil porosity and drainage.
Mix a complete fertilizer with the potting mixture, such as 10-10-10, or a high-nitrogen and high-phosphorous fertilizer, such as 20-20-10. Supplemental nitrogen prepares the okra plant for the long growing season, but too much nitrogen leads too excess foliage and lackluster pods.
Fill the pot with the potting mix to within 1/2 inch of the container edge. If you prefer, you can blend the potting mixture directly in the pot, but using a larger container to mix the ingredients prevents spilling over the edge.
Plant three to five seeds near the center of the pot, spacing each seed 1 to 2 inches apart, then cover them with 1/4 inch of potting mix. Planting multiple seeds increases the chances that at least one seed will germinate. Delicate okra roots make transplanting seedlings difficult, so sowing the seeds directly in the large pot eliminates the risk of damaging the roots.
Water the soil as needed to keep the soil moist until okra seedlings emerge. After plants are well established, the drought-tolerant plants should only require weekly supplemental watering, especially during the flowering and fruiting period.
Thin the okra seedlings to only one plant for each pot, choosing the most vigorous of the seedlings after two or more sets of leaves develop.
Apply a nitrogen fertilizer side dressing at least once during the growing season, such as when plants are about 8 inches tall and again a few weeks later. Nitrogen sources include urea, bloodmeal and poultry manure; regular compost application can provide the necessary nutrients without a nitrogen-specific source. General guidelines for side dressing fertilizers suggest 5 tablespoons for every 10 feet in a garden row, so 1/2 tablespoon of nitrogen fertilizer benefits a plant in a 12-inch container. Remember that too much nitrogen hurts okra production, so it is best to add too little nitrogen.
Pinch the leaves at the ends of the okra branches when the plant reaches 2 feet tall. This forces the plant to branch, leading to more okra pods.
Cut okra pods from the plant when they are 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches long, while the pods are young and tender. Check the plants several times a week so you don’t leave mature pods on the plant, which prevents the plant from producing new flowers and okra pods.
How to Grow Okra in a Pot. Gardeners with limited growing space strive to balance the space with edible and ornamental plants. This is especially easy when an edible plant exhibits showy flowers, adding beauty as well as food to the garden. A relative of hibiscus (Hibiscus spp.), okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) features …
How To Grow Okra From Seeds In Containers
Okra is one of the most delicious vegetables out there. I love to eat okra, you can cook them alone, you can cook them with chicken or beef. Okra is so healthy, packs with vitamins and fibers.
If you’re a lover of okra and have no space in your kitchen garden, this article is totally for you because I will explain how to grow okra in containers. Follow these steps to grow okra in containers from seeds.
1: Best time to grow okra
You can start sowing the seeds of okra directly in the final location or you can start the seeds indoors in seed trays.
- If you want to start seeds indoors, the best time is 3-4 weeks before the chance of the last frost. It will give you a heads up.
- If you want to sow the seeds directly in the containers, wait until there is no frost. Or you can use some kind of protection against frost to save your plants.
- You can also start seeds of okra in full summer because okra loves sunlight. It is mid-April here, and we are sowing the seeds directly in the final destination now.
- Okra plants require at least 10 degrees Celsius to survive and about 25 – 30 degrees Celsius to produce fruits. Plants can handle warm conditions, but a lower temperature is no go.
2: Sow The Seeds Indoor
When time is right in your area, you should start the process of sowing seeds. You will need seeds of good variety (dwarf varieties for containers), good soil, and a seed tray or you can use disposable glass to sow seeds.
You can use seed starter soil or you can make your own soil. Here are the ingredients to make your own soil:
- 50% coco peat or coco coir
- 50% organic compost
- You can also use your garden soil if the soil is very fertile
Mix these ingredients well in a container and fill your seed tray with the mixture. Sow the seeds about 2-3 inches deep in the soil. Give them water and put them under sunlight.
Seeds will germinate in just 5-10 days. Keep them under sunlight and keep the moisture level of soil high. You can transplant them in bigger containers when they reach a height of 6-8 inches. Read the next step to learn about good containers and good soil.
3: Sow The Seeds Directly In Bigger Containers
You want to sow the seeds directly in bigger pots or you want to transplant your seedlings, you will need these two things:
- A Good Size Container: If you have a container or pot that is 10 inches in height and 10 inches deep, you can grow okra in them. You can also use 5-gallon buckets or grow bags of good size. My suggestion is “grow bags”, as they are very cheap and environmentally friendly.
- Good Soil: Okra plants are very hardy plants as long as they are getting full sunlight. They can grow in any kind of soil. But for pots, you will need potting soil for better growth and a bigger harvest. Potting soil is a special kind of soil for the container gardens. You can either order potting soil or you can learn to make your own at home.
After making or buying your potting soil, fill your containers with it. Sow the seeds about 2-3 inches in the soil. Give them water and put your containers under sunlight. Keep the moisture level a little high during the germination process.
Transplant Seedlings: You can also transplant your seedlings in this same soil. Just make a hole in the soil and transplant seedlings in that hole with the root ball. Try to transplant seedlings early in the morning to keep them healthy and save from transplant shock. Give your seedlings water and put your containers under sunlight.
4: Tips To Take Care Of Okra
- Okra plants require full sun for better growth, it means at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight. So keep them away from shades of big trees and walls.
- Keep checking the moisture level of soil, if the top 2 inches of soil is dry, give water to your plants. In hot areas, you may have to give them water on a daily basis, so I suggest you use a drip irrigation system.
- Add organic manure and compost in the soil of your containers if needed. In containers, sometimes plants need extra fertilizer. You can also use liquid organic fertilizer.
- Add mulch on the top of the soil to keep the weeds away from okra plants and minimize the evaporation of water. Always use organic mulch.
- There is no need to pollinate okra plants by hands because they are self-pollinated plants.
- Keep an eye on aphids and other pests. If there is an attack, remove them by hand, there is no need to use any kind of pesticides.
- Fusarium Wilt can also attack your plants. But it is a problem for big producers, you can control them with your hands by removing the affected part of plants.
5: Harvesting Time
Okra plants will be ready to harvest in just 50-60 days. Plants will produce multiple harvests in one growing season. When fruits of okra are 2 to 3 inches long, you can harvest them. Don’t wait too long or fruits will be too hard, fibrous, and not good at eating.
You don’t need to store okra fruits. My mother always harvests okra after every 3 to 4 days and cooks them fresh from our kitchen garden. Keep your gloves on during harvesting because some of the varieties contain numerous tiny spines. These spines can cause skin irritation.
How To Grow Okra From Seeds In Containers Okra is one of the most delicious vegetables out there. I love to eat okra, you can cook them alone, you can cook them with chicken or beef. Okra is so