How to Grow Okra From Seed in Pot Indoors? Before we tell you about it, let us ask you first then. Have you known about okra before? Going by definition, okra is small green pods from a tropical plant. Yes, this plant is commonly eaten as vegetable. It’s often used to thicken soups and other dishes as well. Looking at how useful it can be, it would be nice to grow it ourselves, don’t you think? It’s especially fun if you like doing some gardening. What can be more fun than planting something useful then?
Of course, you would agree about that, right? Well, most plants can grow outside on the ground of your garden, although it depends on the mix of soil you use to help them grow. But, should we grow them outside? Can we just do it indoors? You don’t have to worry. There are plants that can live indoors. Of course, okra includes in it. That being said, there are various things you need to learn beforehand. Only then, you can put that knowledge into action in better way. Let us tell you those things one by one here. Here we go then.
What Is Okra
Let’s start right from its definition before we get into the procedure of How to Grow Okra From Seed in Pot Indoors. Okra is indeed a tropical plant in the form of small green pods. To be exact, it’s a flowering plant from mallow family. Okra actually goes by various names. Commonly, it’s known as either okra or okro. However, in English-speaking countries, it’s called by the name of ladies’ fingers, ochro, or gumbo. Surely, you must have heard or even known it by either of those names. It’s a popular one in vegetable kind after all. Let’s see here though.
Okra isn’t merely a flowering, tropical plant with small green pods. While it might offer additional beauty to your garden especially when it blooms, it’s actually highly valued because of different reason. Yes, okra is considered valuable because its green seed pods are edible. You can use them in various dishes. Of course, they would be tasty if they are cooked well. What’s more? It’s vegetable we are talking about here. So, you should have been able to know that it’s a healthy food you can be sure to eat for your own good health.
Did you know? Raw okra contains lots of nutrition that would be good for you. Per 100g, there is as much as 33kcal of energy, 7.45g of carbohydrates with sugars and dietary fiber, 0.19g of fat, 1.9g of protein, 89.6g of water, and many more. Of course, it contains important vitamins in it. Those vitamins include vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B9, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Not to mention, there are minerals, like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc contained in it. There is no way for such vegetable to be unhealthy, right?
Such variety of nutrition also becomes the reason why people use it in various kinds of dishes. Okra’s pods for example are often cooked, pickled, and even included in salads. Not to mention, there are people who like eating it raw too. Regardless of which way you choose to eat it, okra is believed to be able to mitigate malnutrition and even alleviate food insecurity. This is possible considering how much the nutrition you get from this tropical plant. Speaking about okra’s pods, you can use either the leaves or the seeds, or even both for your cooking.
Basically, people like to use its leaves in salads to eat it raw. As for the seeds, you need to know that they can be roasted and even ground to make substitute for coffee. It’s caffeine free, so you can rest assured about consuming it much. The oil you get from the seeds contains high unsaturated fats, like oleic acid and linoleic acid as well. Drinking the ground seeds will give no harm to your body. See? You are not limited to some dishes only when it comes to cooking okra for you to consume. Okra makes perfect healthy vegetable to choose, indeed.
The information about the origin of okra might have been disputed with supporters of various origins, like West African, Ethiopian, and South Asian. However, okra can be found in regions with certain climates. As it was said earlier, okra is a tropical plant. So, the regions where this plant can live are the ones with tropical, subtropical, and warm temperature. Note this if you ever want to plant okra outdoors. Growing okra in pot indoors won’t be as difficult as it. Even so, you need to be aware of the kind of climates or temperatures that okra likes to grow in.
What Does Okra Look Like
Have you ever seen okra plant before? If not, let’s talk more about how it looks like here. We will tell you not only the pods’ look, but also the plants’ as a whole. You see, okra is a perennial species. That being said, okra is often cultivated as an annual one. In temperate climates, okra’s full growth can be 2m tall, making it resembling so much to other species, like cotton, cocoa, and hibiscus. It might be tall, but it sure is one interesting plant to grow in the garden. Not all flowering plants can be this tall.
Now that you know its overall size, let’s go a bit detail from here. Of course, this plant grows with green leaves. There are many of them growing along this plant. When it comes to its leaves, they are basically long and broad. Going by size, they would grow from 10 to 20cm. What makes them different than other leaves in other plants is that okra leaves grow in palmate way with 5 to 7 lobes. This makes an interesting look from the plant itself, considering that it grows with tall posture too. Is there something more? Well, yes, there is more to tell here.
As it was said earlier, okra is a flowering plant. In other words, this plant grows flowers as well. By size, we would say that okra flowers are 4 to 8cm in diameter. Usually, they would appear with 5 petals colored in white to yellow. Furthermore, if you look at it closer, you should have been able to notice that there is certain spot at the base of each petal of the flowers. The spot usually appear in red or purple color. Looking at such flower, okra sure has quite a resemblance to hibiscus, indeed.
Now, how about the fruit? As you might have known, the fruit has the look like a capsule. It’s usually around 8cm long. If you cut it horizontally, you will see that it has pentagonal cross sections inside filled with numerous seeds. You see it yourself now that okra is an interesting plant coming with interesting leaves, flowers, and fruits. Growing it at home would be fun to do. Don’t you think the same too? However, what is the color of the fruits then? Even when the plant is green, sometimes the fruits can be different in color after all.
If it’s about okra fruits, the most common one would be green of course. However, you need to pay attention as to what green is shown on the fruits. This would be a good knowledge to know when you are harvesting the pods later after learning How to Grow Okra From Seed in Pot Indoors. You see, the ripe pots are usually bright green. If you touch them, they should be firm but tender as well. Be sure to not choose the dull green ones. Okra fruits with this color are most likely far too mature after all.
When they are too mature, their quality would be reduced and not better than the bright green, ripe ones. That being said, there are okra fruits with red color as well. Green and red okra fruits have the same flavor. They are just different in color. Moreover, when red okra fruits are cooked, they would turn into green after all. Choose the red ones in the same way as the green okra fruits before. Ripe fruits are the best to cook for they can offer the best nutrition, taste, and flavor for you. Pay attention to this when harvesting the fruits later.
Where to Find Okra Seed for Sale
Are you eager to grow okra yourself already? Well, this plant is worth to be regarded so after all. We can say that it’s one of the prettiest vegetables that people can grow in their garden or simply in pots at home. Considering that it can be used as cooking ingredient, many people find it valuable plant to grow by themselves. Now, then, before you learn how to grow this tropical plant, you will have to prepare something first. Of course, you must have the seeds before you can grow something.
Well, yes, there are plants that are sold when they have already grown. However, you will not be able to experience the fun in growing the plants if you don’t do it right from they are still seeds. In fact, most gardeners love this way instead. Although long time and effort are required for such thing, they won’t miss the fun of taking care of the plants. Furthermore, growing plants from seeds would fully establish them in the intended places. It’s because they have long enough time to grow strong roots and adapt themselves to their place. Growing plants from seeds sure is important to do.
So, where can we find okra seeds then? It’s actually not that hard to find the seeds yourself. Considering that okra leaves, fruits, and seeds are commonly used in the making of various things, at least you can get a grab of some fruits which contain numerous seeds inside easily. You can get your seeds from the fruits you buy yourself. However, it’s not like this is the only thing you can do to obtain the seeds to grow okra plants at home. Of course, you can always by those seeds from plant stores nearby. They should have some or more in store.
While some people find it no problem at all to purchase the seeds from plant stores, others might not think the same. The stores being absence or far from the house might just be the cause. Did you want to make your order at the comfort of your home? If that is the case then, you should have gone to and visit online shops. There are many of them there on the internet, so you won’t find them hard to find. Browse through their pages and you will find seeds from various okra varieties.
There are seeds of Alabama Red Okra, Beck’s Big Buck Horn Okra, Bowling Red Okra, Burgundy Okra, Burmese Okra, Clemson Spineless Okra, Eagle Pass Okra, Edna Slaton’s Candelabra Okra, Egyptian Okra, Emerald Okra, Fife Creek Cowhorn Okra, Gold Coast Okra, Grandma Edna’s Cherokee Long Pod Okra, and many more. Make your choice! This is the first step to do if you want to cultivate okra plants in pot indoors. Those seeds are usually sold per quantity in which you might get 30, 75, or more seeds each. We would say that it’s the easiest and fastest way you can try to make your order.
Once you decide on which seed to buy, you can simply add to chart, order it, pay, and just wait for it. Soon, it should get delivered to your house by the shop you make your order from. See? Isn’t it easy and quick? You save more time and effort than when you have to go to the plant stores yourself. That is why making online purchase would make a good idea to get your hands on the okra seeds. How about the price then? Well, it would vary depending on the plant stores that sell the seeds.
However, the difference should not be that far apart. Let us tell you some of them here then. Alabama Red Okra is priced $2.50 per quantity. There are also Beck’s Big Buck Horn Okra priced at $2.75, Bowling Red Okra at $2.50, Burgundy Okra at $2.50, Burmese Okra at $2.50, Clemson Spineless Okra at $2.00, Egyptian Okra at $4.00, Grandma Edna’s Cherokee Long Pod Okra at $2.75, Hill Country Heirloom Red Okra at $3.00, Perkin’s Long Pod Okra at $2.25, and many more. In short, the price would range from $2.00 even up to $4.00, depending on the variety you choose.
How to Grow Okra From Seed in Pot Indoors
Now, are you ready to plant your okra seeds? Indeed, preparing the seeds is an important thing to do. However, it’s not the only thing you need to do before you can actually grow those seeds in pots. So, give us the chance to tell you the way to prepare things and grow the seeds here. There are various things you need to do, but we will make it make it shorter without leaving any important thing behind. Make sure you follow this recommended procedure to grow those seeds in plant pots.
- Select the right pot and prepare it for planting. Look for one or simply use 5-gallon bucket with about 12-inch top diameter and 10 1/2-inch bottom diameter. Drill small holes about ¼ inches in the bottom of the pot and fill it with gravel for easy drainage. Prepare a tray to use in the bottom to catch the excess water of it. Then, you need to look for the best spot to place it indoors. Just make sure the temperature doesn’t go below 60⁰F and it gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight too.
- Make potting mix and combine with fertilizer. Once the pot is ready, you need to make potting mix first. For okra plants, we suggest you to use either soilless potting mix or amend garden soil. Soilless potting mix for example contains sphagnum peat, sand, and vermiculite for good drainage. Combine this potting mix with complete fertilizer with 10-10-10. It will prolong the growing season. Once the mix is ready, you need to fill it in the pot within ½ inch of the pot edge. This marks the end of the preparation you need to make beforehand.
- Plant the seeds, water, and thin the seedlings. In this step of How to Grow Okra From Seed in Pot Indoors, you need to plant 3 to 5 seeds in one pot. Do so near the center with 1 to 2 inches of space between them. Then, cover with ¼ inch of potting mix. Water the soil until you see the seedlings begin to appear. After this phase, do the watering only once a week. Once they begin to grow, it’s best for you to thin the seedlings and leave only one seedling in one pot. Choose the one with two or more leaves than the others.
- Give nitrogen fertilizer side dressing and pinch the leaves. After the plants have grown 8 inches tall, you need to give this side dressing at least once and again after a few weeks later. This is meant to give necessary nutrients for the growing okra plants. When making the side dressing though, be sure to not use too much nitrogen fertilizer. For 12-inch pot, ½ tablespoon of it would be enough. After okra plants grow 2 feet tall, find the leaves at the ends of the branches and pinch them. It does the trick to force the plant to branch more.
How to Care Okra
You have learnt the way to grow okra from the steps above. Now, it’s the time for you to learn what to do to care for it. Growing something won’t just stop once after the seeds have grown after all. Caring for it in its lifetime is an important thing to do as well. Rest assured! Caring for plant isn’t as difficult and time-consuming as you think. Not all plants have to be taken care of every single day after all. For example, there are some plants that need watering just once every one or two weeks.
How about okra then? Would it need lots of care? You don’t have to worry. Okra isn’t plant that is difficult to deal with. Did you know? Okra is drought-tolerant, so it thrives in warm weather. You can say that daily watering isn’t necessary for such plant. However, there are still some things you need to do when the time is right. After you know how to grow okra from seeds above, this time let us tell you how to take care of okra here. So, pay attention as to what we will point out one by one below.
- Eliminating the weeds of the young plants. Even if the plants are still young, there would be some weeds around. These weeds will be in the way for the growth of the okra plants. So, by eliminating it, you will promote good health of the plants. It might seem to be trivial, but be sure to not miss this. Of course, you don’t want your okra plants end up dying before even blooming or producing fruits, right? Weeds can be this troublesome for plants after all. So, be sure to keep this in mind and do as you are suggested to do to keep your plants alive.
- Preventing the weeds from growing. Now that you have gotten rid of the annoying weeds, you need to prevent them from growing again. To do so, you will need to mulch the plants heavily. Add a layer of it around 4 to 8 inches high. It’s recommended for you to side plants as well with 10-10-10. Other alternatives to chooserich compost. Also, consider applying a balanced liquid fertilizer once per month. With these, your okra plants should be very well protected and they can grow in healthy way.
- Well watering especially in hot season and region. Any plant would need good intake of water to grow. However, okra plants are drought-tolerant. There is no need for you to water them every day. 1 inch of water for each week is the ideal thing to do for this plant. However, you will obviously need more in hot season, like summer for the water will drain quicker during that time. It goes the same if you live in a hot, arid region. Just make sure that you don’t water more than what is necessary. After all, okra plants are drought tolerant.
- Removing the lower leaves after the first harvest. This is one thing that is necessary to be done as well. Right after the first harvest, you are highly suggested to remove the lower leaves of the okra plants. Why must it be done? It’s because you can speed up production this way. In other words, the next harvest won’t be that much long after the previous one. You can gain more and more okra fruits to use this way. See? Even simple act like removing leaves can be this important to care for your okra plants.
How to Harvest Okra
In order to cook the okra, you need to harvest the fruits from its plant. However, harvesting isn’t merely the act of picking the fruits whenever and however you like. There is the right time and the right way to do such thing. Harvesting in the wrong time would most likely giving you fruits that are either unripe or too mature. Either way, they don’t make good pick to use in your cooking. If you end up tossing them, nothing worthy seems to be obtainable by growing the plant. Don’t you think so?
That is why the right harvest time plays an important role when growing okra plants indoors in pot. Well, of course, this is also important when you grow them outdoors. Also, don’t try to harvest the fruits however you like. There are better ways that you should do when doing so. To better understand about it, let’s just get down to the steps then. By knowing them, you will be able to understand why each of them must be done when harvesting okra fruits from the plant. Only then, you can get the right fruits to use for cooking or other things.
- Wait for 2 whole months after planting. The time is the first thing you need to know about harvesting any fruits from its plant. It includes okra as well. For okra plant, 2 whole months are what is required. The plant would have grown ripe fruits within the time. They won’t be either unripe or too mature to harvest. So, don’t lose track of the growth time of your okra plant. At least, remember when you plant it and you will be able to know when it will be ready for you to harvest its fruits.
- Check out how long the fruits have grown. Even if your okra plants are 2-month old already, you still need to make sure something. Yes, we are referring to its fruits here. Measure them to see whether or not they have grown from 2 to 3 inches long. When they are about that size, it means that they are ready to harvest. They should have grown big and long enough to be used in your cooking or other purposes. 2 to 3 inches long are the size of fully ripe okra fruits after all. Be sure to do some measurement.
- Wear gloves and long sleeves when harvesting. You see, okra plants are mostly covered in tiny spines. These spines would usually cause irritation on humans’ skin. Although not all varieties have them, better safe than sorry you need to wear gloves and long sleeves to give your skin some protection when harvesting the fruits. There is no need to worry though. The fruits won’t give any irritation on you once they are cooked and eaten. Okra fruits are completely perfect to consume. So, you can use it or eat it with ease.
- Cut the stem with a knife. Now that you are ready with the gloves and the long sleeves, it’s the time for you to cut the fruits from the plant. Use a knife to do such thing on okra plant. Then, cut the stem just above the cap with it. That alone should be enough to properly harvest okra fruits from the plant. Toss the fruits if they are too hard to cut though. It means they are too old to harvest. Keep this in mind and put it to action after you learn and follow How to Grow Okra From Seed in Pot Indoors.
What to Do with Okra
After you harvest okra fruits, what do you intend to do to them? Most people would simply use them in their cooking. It might even be the sole reason why people grow the plants in the first place. However, what we can really benefit from harvesting them isn’t only that. Even when they are edible, just what kind of foods can we made with it? We are sure that you must have been wondering about things like that. If you don’t have any clue as to what you have to do with the fruits, let us give you some advices to do here.
First, since okra is often used in cooking, let us tell you what to make with the fruits here. You see, okra pods produce slime in natural way. This slime is what is often needed in the cooking. Due to the slime, okra pods are good ingredient to thicken stews. You can also add them in curries, soups, and sauces by slicing them or just add them as a whole. Once the foods are done and you are about to serve them, you can always remove the okra pods if you only need them to thicken the thin foods.
Second, okra pods can be used in cooking in other way. They are not only meant to add slime to your thin foods after all. Did you know? Okra pods can also be used to make something crunchy. All you need to do is to sauté okra pods on a warm skillet four about one hour. This will then results you in sweet little crispy okra morsels. Such crunchy foods would make perfect addition to your salads. It makes nice way to eat salads too, don’t you think? So, you don’t have to stick to thick okra foods.
Third, okra has edible leaves and flowers to cook as well. Indeed, their flavor won’t be as great as the okra pods. However, it would make nice idea to make use of the okra plants you grow to their fullest extent. So, what can be made from the leaves? Okra leaves are slightly bitter. However, if they are chopped and added to the stews, they would also be capable of thickening them. As for the okra flowers, you can chop them too and use it to garnish dishes. It would give a bit tropical style to them.
Fourth, okra seeds can be used too, you see. This time, you can make beverage out of it. To do so, you will need to grind the seeds till they become powder. Just add it with hot water and sugar, and it will be nice substitute for coffee. Not to mention, the coffee-like beverage you get from okra seeds is free from caffeine. So, it would be a healthy coffee to drink. You might never realize before that planting and growing okra plants can be this interesting and beneficial for us in various nice ways.
Fifth, okra plants as a whole are also great to grow as ornamental use. They are tall and have palmate, broad leaves, making them attractive enough for your plant collection in the garden. Also, okra plants are characterized by their tropical flowers. Having blooming okra plants around will contribute tropical flair to your garden, especially the summer-styled one. See? Whether it’s as a part or as whole, okra can benefit us in various different ways. This is what exactly makes it very much worth to grow by ourselves at home, whether you want to do it outdoors or simply indoors.
How to Store Okra
So, have you ever known the way to store okra? Well, of course, storing okra pods are not as simple as putting them in container and leave them in a fridge. Such casual way of storing won’t last them long enough in their best condition. As you know, okra pods with bright green color are the best to use in your cooking. However, okra pods tend to lose this color and toughen up in the storage. If you want them fresh from the plant, people tend to harvest them as close as possible to cooking time.
Yes, you can always do so. However, okra plants are better harvested as soon as the time is right. The problem is that people don’t always want to cook and eat the pods right after that. That is why storing them becomes something necessary to do. So, what do we have to do to preserve them well in the storage so that they are still good enough to cook? Well, they can’t be kept forever, but you should be able to prolong their good quality for quite some time if you follow the ways below. Let’s see what you need to do to store okra in well manner.
Preserving Okra Pods in Short Term
- Keep the okra pods without washing. Storing is an important thing to do after growing and harvesting okra in pot. Vegetables like okra pods can always be stored to eat later without being washed. To be exact, there is no need for you to wash them if you only need to store them in short time. In fact, you need them dry to be kept this way. So, just spread the okra pods you just harvested out flat first if you want to make sure that they are completely dry.
- Put them in perforated plastic bag and keep them. The next thing you need to do is to put the dry okra pods in such plastic bag. This bag has holes in it, giving good air flow even during the storing. Once you have got those pods in the bag, tie it and just put it in your fridge. This will do the job to keep their quality around 4 to 5 days long. They should be still fresh to be cooked within such time range. It’s easy, but make sure to not miss the details.
Preserving Okra Pods in Long Term
- Choose young okra pods and prepare them for storing. If you are planning on keeping them for a long time, you need to do more things here. You don’t have to worry though. They are not as hard and complicated as you think. First than anything, you need to pick only young and tender okra pods. Then, you will have to prepare them by washing the pods and trim them off of their stems. This should leave you only caps whole. However, this is what you need for long-term storing.
- Boil the okra caps, cool, drain, and pack them. Indeed, the okra caps before have to be boiled in boiling water for around 4 minutes. Once it’s done, don’t forget to cool them in ice water for another 4 minutes. Now that you are done with this too, you need to drain them and pack them inside freezer bag. That should be enough to keep them good for as long as 6 to 8 months. So, once you learn How to Grow Okra From Seed in Pot Indoors, be sure to harvest the pods and keep it well this way to preserve their quality.
Description: How to Grow Okra From Seed in Pot Indoors? You need to prepare the seeds before you can do so and reap the benefits of each harvest it can give to you.