Are you looking for a way to grow your own okra but don’t have much space in your garden? Planting okra in a pot is a great solution! Okra, also known as Abelmoschus esculentus, is a tropical plant that is easy to grow and produces tasty pods that can be used in a variety of dishes. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to plant okra in a pot so you can enjoy fresh okra all summer.
If I briefly explain what these plants are, they are called lady’s fingers in common. It is a warm-season tropical vegetable with a distinct and easterly flavor. In addition to that, their delicate foliage and showy blooms are two more interesting features of these plants. Due to these special characteristics, they are also a perfect choice for ornamental gardening. Growing these plants is relatively simple. So, let’s begin to discover more about these plants.
How To plant okra in a pot?
Pick The Right Okra Variety for Containers
First and foremost, you need to select the right okra variety when growing these in containers. Keep in mind that not all okra varieties will grow at the same height. Besides, they would produce different-colored pods as well. So, I suggest you go ahead with dwarf okra plants, which would not exceed 5 feet in height. Having said that, you could grow any okra variety. However, if you chose the dwarf okra plants, they would grow to their best if you grew them in appropriate container sizes.
Suppose that you live somewhere where the weather is tropical; then the best thing would be to go ahead with a variety of okra plants, which would grow at a pretty fast pace.
Go ahead with a Large Container with Drainage
It is vital that you choose the right-sized pot, as it will have a greater impact on letting the plants grow well and vigorously. Okra plants come up with large taproots. Hence, you need to choose a pot that can contain those taproots. The best is to go ahead with a pot that is about 3 gallons in size. Having said that, it would be even better if you could proceed with a 5-gallon-sized pot, and it has to have a 10–12-inch depth and a similar diameter as well.
I encourage you to go ahead with a black-colored pot since okra plants are fond of heat. When you chose a dark or black-colored pot, it would allow the plants to gain more sunlight. Additionally, your selected pots need to have sufficient draining holes as well. Only then can the excess water drain from the pots. You can also put a plate or a try under the pot if you want.
Pot material wise, you may go ahead with clay pots, ceramic pots, cement planters, brick planters, plastic or galvanized buckets, or even stone planters .
Place Okra Containers In The Right Location
I suggest placing the pot in a specific spot before you fill it, as it may be too heavy for you to move it. Keep in mind that they need full sunlight for about 6–8 hours to thrive. So bear this in mind when choosing a proper container. Further, there could be exceptional okra plant varieties that would want full sunlight for about 10 hours as well.
Fill The Container with Correct Potting Soil
It is crucial that you provide a well-draining soil mix for these plants, as it will aid them in growing healthily. If you happen to use a poor-draining soil mix, it would contribute to soggy, waterlogged conditions in the soil mix, which would be quite unhealthy for the plants. If you do so, it would contribute to root rot and ultimately result in the death of the plants. So I urge you to go ahead with a soilless potting mix that has a great deal of organic matter.
If you opt to go ahead with a soilless option, you need to go ahead with equal parts of sand, peat moss, and vermiculture. You need to ideally target a loamy, crumbly soil mix that would suit these plants the best. Furthermore, you can be tactful and add plenty of compost to help grow them. Alternatively, you may use aged manure for this purpose. It would nourish the plants with the required nutrients.
In terms of the right pH level, you need to ideally go ahead with a pH range of 6.5–7.0. That being said, they can survive with a pH range of 7.6 as well. Furthermore, I urge you to use potting soil and refrain from using topsoil or garden soil. For example, if you use potting soil, it would be light and loose and would not suit these plants well. Besides, if you use top soil, it may tend to impact the draining of the soil mix and the root growth of the plants.
Plant Okra in Pots at the right time.
Okra plants don’t prefer to grow in cold weather or in frost. So, if you are someone who lives in any place where there is frost, you need to ideally skip those frost conditions and then place the seeds in the ground. A temperature range of 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit would optimize the conditions for them.
Furthermore, if you live in USDA zones 9–11, you could grow them anytime of the year, regardless of what season it is. In other words, if you live in a tropical area or a subtropical region, you can grow them all year.
How to Plant The Okra Seeds In Containers
Okra plants contain an extensive root system. Due to that, transplanting them would be a little complicated. If you end up transplanting them, chances are that they will become root-bound and traumatizing for the plants. When sowing you need to sow 2-3 okra seeds for about ½ to 1 inch depth in each container. Next, apply some water to them while using a hose.
Thereafter, make sure that you keep them in a warm, brightly lit place so that the seeds can germinate. Usually it would take 5–10 days for germination to take place. However, it is noteworthy that the warmer the soil and the weather, the better it would be for germination. The spacing should be 12 to 18 inches when you plant them.
If you come across the seedlings at a local garden, it is very likely that you will end up choosing those instead of the seeds. However, okra seedlings also contain taproots, which are delicate. Thus, you need to be very careful when you plant with them as well. Furthermore, when planting, you must dig a slightly deeper hole in your garden bed than the container size that they were previously in.
When you remove the seedlings, ensure that you do it gently, and then place them in the hole. Further, when you plant them, ensure they have a gap of 12–18 inches. Fill the hole with soil while keeping the seedlings stable. Water the seedlings next, as this is necessary for root establishment.
Choose the right Companion Plants
One might think that growing okra plants alone would not make them look attractive. Instead, you can consider growing some companion plants along with them. In fact, the addition of companion plants would aid in the growth of the okra plants as well. So, following are some of the companion plants that you can think of growing along with the okra plants.
Lettuce plants can thrive well in the shade, and they would give you a fresh salad as well. You may also consider growing radishes to grow as companion plants for okra plants. Further, you can use them in an edible salad as well. Mint is another plant that you could use here. They will act as a repellent for beetles, and in addition to that, they have a sweet fragrance as well. Along with the okra plants, you can grow peppers, nasturtiums, and beans.
You could grow peppers only if you have a larger planter; furthermore, they can deter stink bugs and act as a repellent for cabbage loopers. Nasturtiums will act as deterrents, causing beetles to flee the Nasturtiums. Not only that, but it would also be attractive to pollinators.
How To Care For Okra In Pots
Okra plants are quite famous for their easy maintenance. So looking after them is quite simple, and anybody in gardening can start cultivating them regardless of their experience. So, some of the care tips that you could practice are as follows:
Water the okra plants properly
Keeping the okra plant’s soil slightly moist is important when taking care of these plants. Ideally, you need to keep watering these plants regularly. That being said, okra plants can also tolerate dry spells, but it would be best if you could provide them with one inch of water every week. However, you will have to enhance the watering of these plants when they are in the flowering period as well as in their production period.
It is vital that you check the moisture status of the soil before you water it. If the soil is wet, then it is best to avoid watering them at that point of time. However, if you find out it is dry, you can commence watering them without any delay. When you have well-established plants, you can water them just once a week. However, you must thoroughly water them.
How do Fertilizing for Okra Plants
It is best to provide composted manure or compost into their soil mix to enrich them with nutrients during the initial stage of their growth. You should also consider side dressing the plants with compost to provide extra nutrients during their active growing season. Besides, you could use a balanced granular fertilizer when you plant them fresh. Ensure that you mix it into the soil properly. If your plants are about 6 feet taller, I suggest adding another dose of a balanced fertilizer.
Don’t allow the soil to gain more nitrogen. If you do this, you will only encourage excessive vegetative growth in these plants, rather than allowing them to focus on fruit production. However, when they are mature, you can choose a fertilizer that is low in nitrogen content. It is best to use a phosphorus fertilizer with a phosphorus content of 5-10-15 or 6-12-12.
Mulch Around Your Plants
You should think about mulching your plants to help the soil retain more moisture. This would be quite effective, especially if you are someone who lives in a dry area. They would help the plants stay moist, and consequently, you could minimize the number of times you water them as well.
To recap, it is not a complex task at all to grow the orka plants in pots. So, even if you are a beginner in gardening, you could start proceeding with this. These plants would perform well in moist conditions. Further, if you live in a place where there will be too-cold weather conditions, it would be worth growing them in pots and then bringing them indoors once the weather gets adverse.
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