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Okra Growing Problems: Troubleshooting

Okra pods on plant1

Okra pods on plantOkra can be grown with ease wherever sweet s grown. Okra is often associated with the South–think gumbo soup, but it grows well in northern gardens as well. Okra grows in average soil; start okra when the soil and air temperature is right for planting corn

For okra growing tips see Okra Growing Success Tips at the bottom of this post.

Okra is generally insect and disease free but occasionally problems will arise.

Common okra growing problems with cures and controls:

Seeds do not germinate; plants do not emerge. Soil is not warm enough for germination; soil temperature must be at least 70°F for okra to germinate. Pre-soak seeds in water for 24 hours before sowing.

Flowers and buds drop before pods set. Weather too hot or temperatures are fluctuating. Temperatures greater than 95°F can cause flowers and buds to drop. Temperatures too cool can cause flower and bud drop.

Plant flowers but pods do not form. Heat and cold can interfere with pollinations. Pollination will be poor if temperatures rise above 90°F or drop below 55°F. Too little light, water stress, and excess nitrogen also inhibit pod formation. Plant in fun sun, in compost-rich soil, and keep the soil evenly moist.

Water-soaked spots on leaves; spot become circular with gray centers. Leaf spot is a fungus disease. Plant resistant varieties. Rotate crops. Keep garden free of plant debris. Apply copper dust or liquid copper spray every 7 to 10 days. Plant in well-drained soil. Rotate with other crops.

Black water-soaked blotches on stems and leaves. Anthracnose is a fungus disease that spreads in high humidity and rainfall. Leaves may wither and fall. Plant may die back. Remove and discard infected plants. Avoid working in the garden when it is wet which can result in spread of spores. Plant in well-drained soil. Spray or dust with a fixed copper- or sulfur-based fungicide every 7 to 10 days.

Plants stunted, leaves yellow, roots decayed. Fusarium root or stem rot is a fungal disease that favors warm soil. Remove infected plants and plant debris that harbor fungus. Rotate crops. Rotate crops regularly. Solarize the soil in late spring or summer.

Leaves turn yellow and then brown from the bottom up; plant loses vigor. Root knot nematode is a microscopic eelworm that attacks roots. Rotate crops. Remove old plant debris from garden.

Small rusty-orange to reddish brown or black blisters or pustules on stems and leaves. Rust is a fungus disease. It is most prevalent in humid regions. Prune away infected leaves or plants. Plant resistant varieties. Water evenly; avoid overhead watering.

Leaves are yellowish, curl under and become deformed; shiny specks on leaves. Aphids are tiny, oval, and yellowish to greenish pear-shaped insects that colonize on the undersides of leaves. They leave behind sticky excrement called honeydew which can turn into a black sooty mold. Use insecticidal soap.

Leaves yellow; tiny white winged insects around plants. Whiteflies will congregate on the undersides of leaves and fly up when disturbed. Remove infested leaves and the whole plant if infestation is serious. Introduce beneficial insects into the garden.

White, powdery spots on leaves and pods. Powdery mildew is caused by fungal spores. Spores germinate on dry plant surfaces when the humidity is high; spores do not germinate on wet leaves. Common in late summer or fall but does not result in loss of plant. Avoid water stress. Prune away infected leaves and pods. Keep garden free of plant debris. Rotate crops.

Holes in pods. Corn earworm is a brown-headed caterpillar with lengthwise stripes to 2 inches long; the adult is a night-flying moth with brownish or olive wings and bright green eyes. The worm will tunnel into pods. Handpick caterpillars and destroy. Use commercial traps. Dust with Sevin.

Deformed pods. Southern green stink bug is a light green bug to ½-inch long. Bug sucks sap from leaves and pods causing them to become twisted and deformed. Spray with insecticidal soap. Dust with sabadilla.

Pods are woody and tough. Okra should be picked just a few days after flowering. Pick pods that are 1½ to 2 inches long. Pick pods daily.

Okra Growing Success Tips:

Planting. Plant okra in full sun. Okra grows best in light, deeply worked soil rich in organic matter. Add aged compost to the planting bed before sowing or transplanting. Pre-soak seeds before planting; start seed indoors to give them a head start.

Planting time. Sow okra seeds or set out transplants after all danger of frost is past when the soil is at least 60°F.

Care. Keep the garden weed free; mulch to suppress weeds. Hand pull weeds so as not to disturb roots. Side dress okra with aged compost after planting and again when plants start to set pods. Keep okra evenly moist, it can go nearly but not completely dry. In very hot regions, give okra new life at midseason by pruning stalks back to 2 inches above the secondary buds. This will allow plants to send out new growth and flower a second time in the fall. Fertilize okra with compost tea after pruning.

Harvest. Harvest pods when they are young and tender. Wear gloves and long sleeves; okra is covered with spines that can irritate the skin. Pods are ready for harvest a just few days after the plant blooms. Cut pods when they are 2 to 4 inches long, do not let pods become tough; harvest every other day. Use pods immediately after harvest


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  1. My okra has big beautiful leaves and the plants are about waist high, but no blooms. The weather has been hot and humid.
    What do I do?

    • I prune my big leaves off leaving the smaller leaves and avoiding areas that show newly formed buds. I do this several times a year leaving the leaves on the ground creating ground cover for weeds and letting them compost into the ground. This encourages growth in the okra pods instead of the leaves. I picked it up from some of the local Amish.

  2. Temperatures greater than 90F (or below 55F) can cause poor pollination of okra. You will have to wait until the temperatures in your regions are cooler. Once temperatures come down, be sure to water the plants thoroughly. Water stress can also cause poor pollination and pod formation, also too much nitrogen.

    • I disagree it’s been HOT in South Alabama heat and humidity is just awful here !! We’ve been drought then we would drowned . Keeping the ground moist , not wet !! Okra likes it moist but doesn’t like it feet wet!! Okra loves hot!!

    • I agree with this. As i have almost 20 okra plants which looks very healthy with stem almost 2 inch thick and plant very wide spread. Every day each plant gives almost 2 flower. But due to hot summer here in UAE no flower turns to pod leaving me upset each day. Waiting for weather to cool down to harvest all those possible okras…

    • If nitrogen levels get too high, what would you recommend? I’m in the San Antonio, Texas area and I’m also combating aphids and various fungi due to high temperatures and humidity.

      • Excess fertilizer can be flushed from the soil with extra irrigation; the fertilizer will be carried past the roots. If the plant is in a container, you can also flush out the fertilizer, but it would be quicker to repot the plant in fresh soil. Flushing away excess fertilizer is not ideal; if the soil is not well-drained, the excess soil moisture can also be hard on plants.

      • Phosphorus and potassium will support fruit growth; feed the plant with a 5-10-10 fertilizer. Keep the temperature at 70F or greater and make sure the plant gets 8 to 10 hours of sunlight each day.

    • Black leaf mold is a fungal disease that is highly influenced by temperature, humidity, and extended periods of leafy wetness. Dew, rainfall, and fog in the warmer time of the year, all offer perfect conditions for the development of black leaf mold. The wetter it gets, the greater the leaf mold problem can become–again, particularly in the warmer time of the year. (When the relative humidity is less than 85 percent, the fungal spores will not germinate.) The best treatment–given you can not control the weather–is to either plant disease tolerant varieties (check with your local extension office for suggestions; two All America selections are Clemson Spineless and Blondy) or to use a vegetable garden fungicide, or both. The leaf mold fungus can overwinter on plant debris–so make sure you clean up the garden after each harvest. Crop rotation can also help: avoid planting solanaceous crops (potato family: pepper, eggplant, tomatoes, okra) in the same location two years in a row.

  3. Try cutting back all okra leaves at bloom time, except the few leaves that are around the crown, this will stimulate fruit growth. If not, there will be too much energy spent in leaf production. It won’t hurt the plant, these leaves fall off at maturity anyhow. You are just speeding up the process. I demonstrated this practice at the Department of Agriculture and they were amazed at how production jumped up.

    • Thanks for this tip. I will be looking for your okra cultivar ‘Heavy Hitter’ being developed at Oklahoma State University.

    • Hi im from the philippines and is a newbie in gardening. i just transplanted my okras to a bigger pot and i found out the soil i brought is clumpy instead of loose. i used it anyway. now im worried the okras wont like it. i watered the plants after transplanting and found no water draining in one of the pots even if there are lots of holes underneath. should i be worried? i think i should be worried.

      • If the clumpy soil is mostly clay, the okra will not do well. It is best to use a commercial potting mix or to mix plenty of peat or aged compost with your native garden soil. If the soil in the container is dry, it may soak up moisture before excess water runs through the holes in the bottom of the container. But if the soil seems moist and compact, it would be better to repot your okra into better soil.

  4. My okra is in the early state of growth, the ends of some leaves are looking kinda wiltered but are dark green. Im confused on what it is and I asked my Ecology teacher what it is and he has no idea. Can anybody help me?

    • Okra is very sensitive to cold–temperatures under 70F will slow up this plant. If your nighttime temperatures are not averaging 60F or warmer, chances are the leaf ends are getting “burnt” by the chill. Cover the plants with a floating row cover or a portable plastic tunnel until the night temperatures warm. Okra should not go into the garden until a month after your average date of last frost.

  5. I have raised okra and other veg. most of my adult life and i’m having problems with my okra ,small yellow spots forming on the leaves then small holes appearing.this is the first time i have ever bought small plants and planted them instead of planting seeds

    • Holes in okra leaves may be a sign of corn earworms, armyworms, or cabbage loopers. On close inspection do you find any of these caterpillars feeding on plants? You can simply handpick them and destroy them. Yellowing okra leaves could be a sign of silverleaf whitefly. Brush the plants with your hands and look for whiteflies to fly up in response. If no whiteflies are present uproot one of the plants and check for roots that are knotty or swelling–this is a sign of root-knot nematodes.

        • Disturbing the roots of any plant too severely can kill the plant. Nutrients and water essential for the plant’s growth come through the roots–if the uptake of nutrients and water is interrupted a plant will suffer.

    • This is the first time I try to hrow okra. When I went to pick yesterday a few of the okra pods are covered in small black dots. Not sure what this is and if they are safe to eat!

      • If the dots wash away, they may be related to insects feeding on the plant.
        If the dots do no wash off, the plants may have a bacterial or viral infection; remove the infected fruits and let the plant reflower and produce new fruits. If the leaves are also infected spray with a all-season horticultural oil which will control fungal diseases; bacterial disease can not be controlled.

  6. I’m having problems with my orka there is little round clear ball on the underside of the leaves. Starting to have blooms but they are turning yellow and falling off. Any ideal what this is and how to stop it. Asked my father who has raised a garden all of his life he has never had this problem.

    • The small clear balls on the underside of the plant leaves may be insect eggs. Try spraying the underside and topside of the leaves with an insecticidal soap; you can use a drop or two of liquid dishwashing soap in a small spray bottle or get a commercial insecticidal soap. Leaves turning yellow could be an indication of silverleaf whitefly feeding on the plant–whiteflies lay eggs on the underside of leaves. A last resort for spraying whitefies is neem. Yellowing okra leaves may also be caused by Fusarium wilt or root-knot nematodes.

  7. Is it normal for okra seedlings to drop the initial 2 leaves? I am growing Clemson spineless 80 in a 5 gal bucket. I am in Guatemala. Temp this time of year is in 80’s during day and can get down to high 60’s early AM. This is rainy season, so there is rain almost daily. The top leaves look healthy.

    • Yes, it is normal for the first two leaves to drop. Those are “seed” leaves or cotyledons. They drop away in the first days after the seedling emerges and the “true” leaves take over. This is true not only of okra, but all dicot seedlings–all vegetables and herbs are included.

      • I am planning on growing my okra in a bed near some hollyhocks. The hollyhocks are second year and have started to grow. I have noted they already have hollyhocks rust on them. Will this rust affect the okra? Discovered they are in the same plant family.

        • Yes, the rust could spread from the hollyhocks to the okra. Spray the hollyhocks with an anti-fungal and remove leaves that are seriously affected. You can also spray an anti-fungal on the okra leaves as a preventative.

          • Try regular cornmeal on the leaves and on the soil around the base to eliminate rust. It works well on our farm. We use it to eliminate the rust from the Hollyhocks spreading to other plants like Goji berries and okra.

    • Okra is often attacked by Stink bugs. Stink bugs lay eggs on the underside of leaves and the nymphs feed on leaves and blossoms by sucking the plant juices. This feeding can results in shriveling of leaf tissue and bumps or blisters. To combat stink bugs handpick the bugs off of the plants (use gloves–because they are called stink bugs for a reason); crush the bugs and the egg masses you find on the undersides of leaves. You can also control stink bugs with an horticultural oil or insecticidal soap. Stink bugs 1/4-inch long brown and shield-shaped.

  8. my okra plant and leave have small salt like substance on them any ideas? It isn’t\ powdery or clear , it looks like salt

    • Assuming that the white spots you see are not spider mite eggs–or another pest egg, the salt like substance on your okra plant leaves may be the result of a natural process called gluttation. Gluttation is like transpiration–it is the exuding of water through plant leaf stomata or openings. This can happen when the soil moisture level is high and the plant does not require all of moisture it draws up from the soil. Sometimes minerals, plant nutrients like sugar, and potassium are exuded with the water. This might leave a salt grainy look to the plant’s leaves.

    • Yellowing of okra leaves and branches may indicate Fusarium wilt or root-knot nematodes. Cut in the stem of one plant at the base, if you find dark coloration, it is Fusarium wilt. You’ll want to pull up the infected plants. Nematode infected plants will produce. A less worrisome problem could be over or under watering.

    • I am having this same issue and cannot find an answer. It is not the leaves that are turning yellow. The entire plant looks very healthy, it is only the okra pod or fruit that is yellow instead of green. I have been growing okra for many years yet have never had this happen.

    • Leaves turning yellow on okra could be the result of silverleaf whitefly feeding on the leaves. Brush the leaves with your hands and if whiteflies are there they will fly up. You use a handheld vacuum to remove the adults from plants and you can spray with neem oil.

  9. Some okra pods are large and firm at the base but are floppy (empth and bendable) at about the middle of the pod to the tip. What causes this?

    • High heat (temps above 90F) or cold (temps below 55F) can both interfere with okra pollination. Lack of soil moisture can also affect pod formation. As well plants must be in full sun and the soil must be nutrient rich–add plenty of aged compost or a balanced organic fertilizer.

      • i am growing okra in earthen pot. i have found that like small water drops in downside leaves. what is that drops? kindly tell me the remedy for this problem.

        • What you describe may be the simple results of transpiration.Transpiration is the process by which moisture is carried through plants from roots to small pores on the underside of leaves, where it changes to vapor and is released to the atmosphere. Transpiration is essentially evaporation of water from plant leaves.

  10. A few of my my okra plants leaves suddenly wilted, though they are watered and cared for equally. I wonder if they are attacked by insects? If so, please advise what is the remedy? Thank you.

    • Yes, insect pests such as aphid and silverleaf whiteflies can cause okra leaes to wilt. Check the undersides of plants and spray insects away with a strong spray of water. As a last resort spray the plants with a neem insecticide to kill young nymphs.

  11. I grew okra successfully in northern NM region in hoop house last year – from starts and then transplanted. This year my seeds have emerged and the first 2 leaves are yellow. Is this a problem? If yes, what can I do?

    • Yellowing okra leaves could be a sign of feeding by silverleaf whitefly or Fusarium wilt. Brush plants with your hand and if the whiteflies take flight release parasitic wasps in the greenhouse. If Fusarium wilt–cut into a stem of one plant at the base to find a dark tissue or fluid–then discard the plants and start fresh.

  12. I started a bunch of okra plants inside this year since i live in wyoming and we don’t have a long growing season. I have noticed that on the underside of the leaves and on parts of the stems there are little clear “balls” they come off easily and are hard, i have seen no evidence of pests. I have seen online that some places say this is normal “sap” from the plant, and other places say this could be eggs, they are too big to be aphid eggs. Also i have my plants located in 2 different rooms. Some of the plants in the one room have started to have the bottom leaves yellow and fall off. could this be an overwatering issue? they probably don’t get as much sunlight as the other group of plants that all look great. Thanks!

    • The yellowing leaves could be over or under watering as well as lack of sunlight. Move the plants to a very bright room and keep the soil just moist–don’t let it dry out or overwater. If you suspect the “balls” are eggs place yellow sticky traps near the plants and as well you can give the plants a light misting with insecticidal soap.

      • My okra plant keeps on flowering. After the flowers dropped (normal), pods were seen but never take off. The next day or two, the stalks broke off from the stem and dropped. Before they broke away, small ants were seen around them.

        Could it be that ants were sucking the saps dry around the broken area. Looks unlikely. If the stalk has not broken, these suckers would not have a chance to get to it. My plant is about 1.5 ft. tall. Is it immature for the pods to produce properly?

        • The presence of ants could be an indicator that plant has a severe infestation of aphids or other sap-sucking insects that ants “farm.” Give your plants a stiff, steady spray of water from the hose to knock off any insects. Exclude the ants from getting onto the plant by sprinkling Diatomaceous earth around the base. If you believe the plants are stunted, pull one up and check the roots for galls on the roots which can be a sign of pest nematodes.

          • There is no other insect or pest seen on plant. The leaves are green with no damage at all. Overall, the plant looks very healthy and growing. pH in normal range. Temperature around 90 deg F. The only problem is that pods keep on dropping at the axil after the flowering stage.

          • There may be insufficient or incomplete pollination. Temperatures above 90F can cause poor pollination. Water stress or too much nitrogen can cause poor pod formation. Make sure the plants are watered thoroughly. And see if a drop in temperature–into the 80sF–improve pollination.

    • The little “balls” are a sap like substance that okra plants create to attract beneficial bugs. They are clear and fall off easily by brushing them. Eggs stay attached and don’t just fall off. I have indoor okra plants and they are covered in the clear round balls of “sap”. It’s a sticky sweet substance beneficial bugs love.

  13. I have 2 green and 2 purple okra plants and the 2 that are in full sun have been doing amazing! about chest high now, but I noticed yesterday there are little black (what I assume are) eggs all over the new growth buds, some of the pods and there is a scattering of what looks like small brown eggs on the underside of some of hte leaves. I just lost my crookneck squash to squash bugs and my zucchini is just barely holding on for dear life I can’t take losing another plant! I used a dawn/water spray bottle method to kill the squash bugs but I can’t identify what these eggs are on my okra to know how to deal with them. the squash bugs group the eggs together which made them easy to remove but I’d have to remove several large leaves to do that on the okra. Any ideas? thank you!

    • Okra leaves are commonly attacked by cucumber beetles, harlequin bugs, stink bugs, tarnished plant bugs, and a variety of caterpillars. Since you have identified eggs on the undersides of leaves, it may be caterpillars–and the next generation is on its way. All of the above pests can be thwarted with horticultural oil–it will smother them. You can find horticultural oil at the garden center or you can make your own: add a tablespoon of liquid soap (not detergent) to a cup of vegetable oil–put a tablespoon of this concentrate in a gallon of water and spray–both sides of all leaves.

  14. My Okras are about 5 feet tall and beautiful, yet have not flowered. I have others in another bed that are shorter and have been producing for a month and a half. I have fertilized them with Medina hasta Gro. Will a side dressing with super phosphate help the flowerless ones?

    • Phosphorus may well encourage blossoms. It sounds like you are growing two different varieties of okra–one tall and one short as you describe them. So you may well have two different days to maturity–and the variety that has not yet flowered may do so soon. Don’t forget to keep the soil just moist to avoid stress–which can delay blooming; this is important particularly if the weather is dry. Keep in mind that okra flowers bloom for 1 days only, and the pods should be ready for harvest several days later.

  15. my okro is in it harvest period but after the yellow flowers fall then you will see that the food will be small in size and within two days it will turn yellow and fall.Please help me with any chemicals to use

    • Chemicals are likely not the solution to the okra pod drop problem you are having. At the delicate stage of pod set make sure that the soil stays evenly moist–not too wet and don’t let it dry out. This will give pods the opportunity to develop. Protect the plants from nightime cold by placing plant blankets over them and if the days are very hot–protect the plants with shade cloth. Be sure that the fertilizers you use are higher in phosphorus and potassium than nitrogen–try 5-10-10.

  16. My okra plant got knocked over by the wind/small animal and the stem was 3/4 broken. I have put some tape over it and provided a support for the young plant to lean against. It’s only 10 inches tall but has little buds. The affected stem area now has something whitish under the clear tape I used. Is that normal? Will my plant survive the trauma?

    • If the stem of your plant was broken–it is likely the nutrient and water uptake capillaries were damaged. The plant above the break may very well die. You may want to place supports next to your other plants to prevent more damage from wind and animals. Start another okra plant now to make sure you have enough okra come harvest time.

    • Yellowing okra leaves is a sign that the plant lacks chlorophyll, the agent that converts sunlight to food for the plant. Do not plant okra in soil that is cooler than 65F. Plant in mounded soil that warms quickly. Plant in compost-rich soil which will be nutrient rich and well draining. Plant disease resistant varieties: Okra is susceptible to verticillium wilt, a fungal disease, which damages okra roots and causes wilting and yellowing of the plant above ground. If you suspect disease, you will need to plant in another spot and solarize the soil by heating the upper layers of soil under clear plastic sheeting.

    • You can wash whiteflies away with a blast from the hose. Do this on a regular basis until the population decreases. You can also shake the plants and suck the flying insect up with a shop vac–just avoid sucking the plant’s leaves. Constant attention is needed to decrease the population. Once the pest population is under control place sticky traps near the plants.

  17. I planted four okra seedlings and they have been growing, in fact I noticed one was getting really tall (nearly a foot). It is still an immature plant, no floral buds or anything like that.. and today it drooped over. Almost all the way to the ground. The stem is not broken, so what I did was “shore it up” with a couple of inches of extra dirt right around its stem, so now it resembles a newly planted (small) tree … but I’m still wondering if there is anything else I need to do. I was impressed by how tall it was getting, but obviously when it fell over, that changed everything. P.S., it seems green and healthy, aside from a bit of bug munching on its leaves.

    • Might the plant have been bumped or nudged by a critter? Too little or too much moisture might also cause a young plant to droop. Unusual leggy growth can be caused by too much nitrogen in the soil. It is likely the plant will be just fine.

      • Thank you, Steve. Based on what you wrote, I’d say too much moisture, most likely. We are getting several hard rain storms – in fact, the plant might have been battered a bit that night — and there is a lot of moisture in the ground. I’ve loosely secured it to a stake to help support it. It still looks good and green. Thanks for the info.

  18. I started baby okra plants inside and they are between three and six inches tall but falling over. Some laying all the way over. And they only have two leaves on them still. Is this normal? What causes this and what can I do?

    • Move the seedlings into fresh potting soil; the soil may be too damp or too dry. Young plants may also collapse from a fungal disease called damping off–again use fresh soil for young plants and do not over water.

      • I have a bing field of okra plantation about 10 ectors for commercial ,here in western uganda but i use darty water,because its the one i have ,they are now 3 weeks old and am still planting more, now should i continue using that dirty water? and how often should i water them,should i water them little ? cause am i hot season of this july. thanks

        • Be careful using “dirty” water to water food crops. You should not use water that has come in contact with feces–from either the toilet or from washing diapers or other material that has come in contact with feces. You can water crops with what is called “greywater.” Greywater is water that comes from bathroom sinks, showers, tubs, and washing machines. Greywater may have traces of dirt, food, grease, hair, and some household cleaning products. Greywater may look “dirty” but it is a safe to use in irrigation of ornamental plants and some vegetable crops–but not root crops or any part of an edible plant the greywater actually touches such as leaves and fruits. Greywater is often released into rivers, lakes, or estuaries.

  19. I never had problem growing okra. This year i got a new variety. African. Beautiful healty plants. Been spraying the bugs. The plants have been getting lots of buds. I never see them open. They fall off.i see a little tiny okra.but in a few days it falls off. Yesterday i did see one okra that is 3 inch long. Thats out of 9 plants. Philip .Fresno. CA

    • High temperatures–greater than 90F–can cause poor pollination for okra. As well water stress–too little–can result in lack of flowers and pods. Wait for the temperatures to moderate; in the meantime, keep the plants evenly moist.

  20. Some of my ocra leaves have holes and turn yellow. There are leaves under these that are healthy. I have found tiny bugs almost like a tiny fly. I also have found what looks similar to stink bug. Do i remove damaged leaves and what is best for pest control?

    • There are several insects that attack okra–whiteflies, aphids, corn earworms, armyworms, and cabbage loopers. Many of these will eat leaves. Remove severely damaged leaves– a little bit of damage won’t hurt. You can handpick and destroy pest insects, place floral lure traps in the garden, or spray plants with a garlic or hot pepper spray.

  21. A small green worm is eating holes in my okra. I found what looks like a long string of flat eggs under another leaf. I saw a picture of the worm, but there was no caption. Should I spray Neem Oil or a soapy wash on both sides of the leaves?

    • The green worm you saw on your okra may have been a cabbage looper; other caterpillars that attack okra are beet armyworms, southern armyworn, corn earworm. Neem oil or a horticultural oil as well as insecticidal soap should control caterpillars–but you need to actually spray the pests. A sulfur spray or dust will also control caterpillars–but be sure to follow directions and wear protective gear.

    • A couple of environmental factors can keep okra from flowering: (1) temperatures are too hot or too cold; summer heat above 90F can stress plants and delay flower formation–you must simply wait until temperatures moderate; (2) lush, healthy plants but no blooms can be the result of too much nitrogen fertilizer. Decrease the use of fertilizers with nitrogen and water plants thoroughly to wash excess nitrogen from the soil. Nutritional balance can be corrected but it may take more time than you have left in this growing season. On the off-season, add lots of aged compost or planting mix to the soil.

  22. I have an okra plant that i planted in February and it is now August and it isnt any bigger than 2″ tall what did i do wrong? Or what can i do?

    • Depending upon where you live, you may not have enough season left for your plant to grow tall and thrive. For next season, add lots of aged compost to your planting beds–if possible turn the beds down a foot or more (you will only have to do this once to amend clay or overly sandy soil). Your okra may not have thrive because the weather was unseasonably cool or because they did not get enough nutrients and moisture. Adding compost to the beds will take care of nutrition and will hold moisture throughout the next growing season.

      • I live in Southern California and it definitely hot enough for it and i water plenty i have gardened plenty of different fruits, veggies, and flowers and never had a problem this is the first time with the okra for my husband i take care of the bugs and the soil is great i have other plants in the same soil and they are thriving i just dont know what im doing with this plant

        • If your okra plants are healthy and thriving, the plants should grow to a height of 4 to 5 feet tall and produce pods in about 60 days. Stake the plants. After the pods begin to form, pick them every 2 to 3 days. If you allow the pods to ripen on the stems, the plants will stop bearing.

  23. I am trying to grow Okra first time and it’s been 3 weeks and my okra is still too small.. temperature is between 70 to 90. I don’t know what is wrong with the plant… any suggestion?

    • The ideal temperatures for growing okra are the 70s and 80s–if temperatures stay in the 90s for long periods, growth may actually slow. As well, if nighttime temperatures are dipping into the 60sF or lower, growth will slow. Keep the soil evenly moist–don’t let it dry out. You can give your plants an organic fertilizer, 5-10-10, or fertilize with compost tea.

    • I had a similar problem i seeded in feb and by june it was only an inch tall well I finally gave up trying to get it growing so i stopped watering and went out a week later and it grew like 4″ so if you think your watering enough it may be too much … I read on other sites okra only meeds 1″ of water per week … I was over watering

        • Thanks for the info. My old plant was eaten alive by bird and I grow new one and it’s doing a lot better with different soil. My problem one my first plant was too much coconut husk(Coco Coir) now when I mixed it with more regular soil it is doing a lot better.
          I also planted tomato and it’s been a week and it’s still not germinated and I put tomato seed a inch deeper and 4 different container(2 type of different seeds) and none of them are germinated. If you know anything about it please let me know. Thank you for your reply guys.

          • Seeds can be planted too deep which can delay germination. Set seed twice the depth of the size of the seed. For example, if the seed is 1/4 inch long, plant the seed 1/2 inch deep.

  24. Hi Steve my okra plants seem about spent (little frizzle things on top of stalk with a few fruits) if I cut them back can I get them to produce again? I’m in Pinellas Co Florida still high 80’s temps right now. Thank you!

    • They may produce again if the weather stays warm through the winter. Once temps begin to dip towards the mid 60sF, they will likely be finished.

      • Spot on Steve. I got a few more smallish okra but they’re done. Saved and dried out some seeds so I’ll plant again maybe in March. Thanks for the help and I’ll keep you posted!

          • I will continue to do so it’s a very good site! We are having a rough go right now some new species of whitefly on top of maybe 30 days without rain but we will soldier on!

    • Okra flower buds can drop for several reasons: (1) the flowers were not pollinated; encourage bees and other insects; (2) cool temperatures; replant when temperatures rise to above 70F: (3) rain or wind can inhibit pollination; (4) too much nitrogen in the soil; use a fertilizer low in nitrogen.

        • You can protect okra and other crops from intense sun and sunburn by putting shade cloth over your plants. Built a frame and drape the shade cloth over the top.

  25. Does okra plant dies during winter or do they just stay dormant and grow back in spring ? I wanted to get seedlings from the plant that I can use for next season so I left one fruit to mature until its brown & ready to be picked. I’m not sure if I’m doing the right thing .

    • Where do you live? If you live in a tropical region of the world, okra is a perennial and will live for several years. If you live in a part of the world where frost comes in autumn, then okra is an annual. Okra will die when it is hit by frost. You can save seed by allowing a few pods on the plant to dry on the plant. When the pods are completely dry, you can open them and save the seed for planting next spring. Keep the seed in a paper envelope in the refrigerator until late next spring, then plant the seed.

  26. My 3 months old okra grew 2 feet tall with buds in all the plants. Strong winds in my area broke the stem in to half. The upper portion is still dangling.
    Any chances of revival? Very upset 🙁

    • Okra broken by the wind: the growth above the break will die away; the break will have damaged the plant capillary system which carries nutrients and water to the plant tissues; those tissues will not die. If the break is low on the plant, it would be best to get another plant started right away. If the break is high up the stem, the foliage below will continue to live and the plant will generate new growth. To be sure you to get a harvest, plant a couple of more okra plants now.

  27. Love this website. So, I grew four okra plants from seed this season. I moved them into their own pots and they’ve all done great, producing okra, thriving – until recently, when one seems sick. Previously, it produced okra and seemed to be doing okay, but over the last week or so its few leaves have turned a lighter, yellowish/green than the other plants. The new growth that seemed on the way has just kind of stopped. It seems a bit frozen in place, while the others stay green, make new leaves and pods. I moved it to a slightly sunnier spot (they all get good sun) but it hasn’t changed much. I do wonder if I’ve over-watered it. Any thoughts? I’m trying to just let it do its thing and see if it recovers.

    • Yellowing leaves can be a sign of over-watering. This is a common problem when growing okra in a container, especially if the container is plastic or ceramic which both retain moisture. Place a saucer under the container and then put an inch of water in the saucer; if the soil is wet it will not soak up any of the water in an hour; if the soil is dry, it will soak up the water from the saucer in an hour. Once you determine if the plant is over or under watered you can proceed with moderation. Another cause of yellowing leaves could be transplant shock; if the roots were disturbed at transplanting. And another cause of yellowing leave can be too much fertilizer; follow the label directions and feed your plants just half of what is recommended.

  28. Hi Steve —
    great article – most helpful. I have several okra plants that are about 3.5 ft. They are yielding some okra. Trouble is they have very little leaf growth. The leaves are medium sized and not very bright in color. Even at the crown of the plant – they are ‘wimpy’. They are in well tended raised bed soil, However they are in full, direct sun… I live in SE Florida. I have one ‘knock-off’ okra plant I placed in a pot – it gets partial shade after 2PM… and it is rich with huge leaves and a much deeper green hue. Also the stem is almost twice as thick as those in my raised bed.

    Soil content for these two cannot be too different – sooo…

    Could it be too much direct sun for okra that diminishes its flora?

    thanks ever so much, I am joining your page today!

    • Okra thrives in full sun. To test if sun is the problem, place a frame over your plants and place shadecloth on the frame so that the plant is shaded from sun after 2 pm (similar to your potted okra). If sun is the cause of the problem, the leaves should turn back to a deep shade of green within a couple of weeks; it will be slow but noticeable. If you see no change, the the problem could be a soilborne diseases such as fusarium wilt or root-knot nematodes. Plants infected by fusarium wilt will be wilted and should be dug up and put in the trash. Plants with root-knot nematodes will also be sickly and if you dig up one of the the roots will be knotty. Those should also be tossed. Try the shade first, and let us know if you see change.

      • Thanks very much — I am doing exactly that — ive got shade screen I can put up today:)
        Im looking forward to seeing the changes if any.


  29. I’m having a problem that repeats itself every year. My Okra plants bloom and a small okra pods is always at the base of the flower that becomes visible when the expired bloom drops off. The small pods almost always turn brown and eventually drop off without developing into a harvestable pod. There has been some discussion about possible pollination issues associated with this problem but I thought okra was self-pollinating. Also, even though all my plants are the same age (planted on the same day by direct seeding) they differ in size. My soil is a heavy clay and can setup like concrete after being exposed to the baking sun for a day or two after a soaking rain. Could this be a nutrient problem? I have never had a soil test done and I normally don’t add any additional fertilizer when I plant so the plant has to rely on what’s in the soil without additional supplements. My wife and I love okra and it is so discouraging to be disappointed year after year. I’m willing to try anything to increase my yield but I’m stumped on what steps are necessary to make it happen. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    • You have identified the likely problems with the poor okra showing in your garden. Yes, okra is self-pollinating, however, like tomatoes, the okra blossom can use some help. When the flowers bloom, give the plant a gentle shake; this will help the pollen to drop from the male to the female part of the flower; do this on a dry, windless day or early in the morning. When a flower is not pollinated or not well pollinated, the flower will often dry up and drop off. Blossoms can also be stressed by lack of nutrients; your soil may be a problem. Next time you sow seed, create a mound of planting mix atop your clay soil–you can even dig a trench 1 x 1 foot deep and fill it with planting mix and then create a mound above the trench; this will give your plants enough root space with good and nutritious soil to supplement their growth. (And you won’t have to dig up and amend the whole garden). Try these suggestions and I am confident your yield will be very good.

      • Hi Steve,

        Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions. I love to experiment and I’ll be glad to give your suggestions a try and see if I see an improvement in yield. Any increase to me is an indication of being on the right track. Trying new things and new methods is one of the most satisfying aspects of gardening for me. Sometimes I think I enjoy that as much as the harvest. I’ll let you know my results and share any other significant news that might be helpful to all the enthusiastic gardeners out there.

        Thanks again,


  30. Hi, Steve. One of my okra plants is acting funny: It comes alive in the evening, looks good in the morning, and leaves eventually droop towards the afternoon. It has dropped one leaf, then I put some epsom salt on it (2tbsp actual and also applied diluted). The next day, the remaining two leaves sprang back, but the lower leaf eventually fell off the day after. Now it’s only the lone leaf, but going strong and no drooping.

    It’s beside several other okra which appear normal (leaves droop in the evening, spring back in the morning).

    Any clue why this is happening? Thanks in advance.

    • Drooping and limp leaves in the afternoon indicate the soil may be just in need of increased moisture. This happens in the summer at the end of hot days. Keep the soil evenly moist and if you suspect soil moisture is evaporating quickly add a top layer of aged compost or planting mix to stem evaporation–you can actually place the compost on stop of your drip line or soaker hose. Lower leaves will naturally drop especially as the season draws closer to the end. It is likely the plant that is suffering is in slightly different soil than the plants that are doing well.

    • Yes, most root fungal diseases are spread via excessive moisture in the soil. Make sure the soil is well drained. Add lots of aged compost or commercial organic planting mix to the garden on the offseason. This should improve drainage. During the season water to the depth of the roots–this means you can water less often but deeper as the season progresses. Clean the planting bed of all plant debris at the end of this season and plant you okra in a different bed next season–rotating out of the infected bed for two years.

  31. I sow ladies finger seeds 10 days before. The small plants are came. Now a few are dying after leaves nurves becoming pale yellow and decaying. I had put mud, cow dug and Ash mixture in a bag and seeds are put.

    • The yellowing leaves may be caused by too much nitrogen in your seed starting mix. Cow dung is rich in nitrogen. Use less cow dung and more native soil if possible.

    • Are your okra leaves turning white or are the fruits turning white? If the leaves are turning white it may be cause by Alternaria leaf spot which is a fungal disease. This disease can spread when the weather is warm and damp. Remove diseased plants; add lots of aged compost to the soil; plant disease resistant varieties. If the fruit is turning white, it may be sunburn–especially is the weather is very hot and dry. If the fruit is powdery white, it may be powdery mildew–another fungal disease.

  32. I just planted several Okra plants which I bought from a local nursery. I see trunks are black on a few Okra plants. Never seen before. What could be the reason. Plants looks like healthy for time being.

    Appreciate any recommendations!


    • Keep an eye on your okra plant; vegetable plant tissue that turns black can be an indication of a bacterial disease. Bacterial plant diseases often infect the water-carrying capillaries. As the disease advances the plant tissue deteriorates and plant stems and leaves will turn black and rot. Once a bacterial disease has taken hold in a plant there is no cure. If your okra continues to deteriorate remove it from the garden and dispose of it in the trash.

  33. Hello Steve, Thank you for all your comments and advice! I have a problem with some of the new buds growing in the “v” of the stalk and leaf stem turning dark grey and having very thick “fuzz” …almost looks like fur. The buds never develop, but turn brown and die. I live south of Nashville, TN. Lots of rain. I have gotten quite a bit of good pods but don’t like loosing these.

    • Your “fuzz” and color description sound like a fungus or mildew. This is likely the result of very wet or humid weather. Early in the morning on a dry day spray the plants with a natural fungicide such as compost tea or a table spoon each of baking soda and vegetable or horticultural oil, plus two drops of dish washing soap, in a gallon of water.

    • Okra is self-pollinating. When the flowers open give them a gentle shake this will help the pollen to fall from the male to female parts of the flower. This should increase pollination. Poor or no pollination will cause flowers to fall. Weather too hot or too cold can also cause flowers to fall and so can too little or too much moisture or too much nitrogen in the soil.

  34. Hi Steve, I am in north California…I planed Okra seeds in garden bed in July (i was late) they all germinated however all my Okra plants stem in very thin and with very few leaves the steam is so week it can not even take weight of one fruit and fell down to side. Also it has so far only given 1-2 fruit per plants with slow growth. what could be the reason i want to understand and fix for next harvest season.

    • Okra and other pod vegetables need plenty of nutrients to yield a good crop. You can start now to improve the nutrients in your planting beds. Add aged compost or an organic planting mix to the planting beds; also added steer manure in the fall. Next season add aged compost or an organic fertilizer (5-10-10) to the planting hole before you set the seedlings into the hole. Transplant out okra seedlings as soon as nights stay above 55F.

  35. Hi Steve, My okra are growing fine but the fruit is very woody(fibrous). Even the small fruit-two to three inches is very fibrous. Thanks

    • Okra can become tough and woody in hot and dry growing conditions. If it gets hot and dry where you live, you may want to protect the plants next season by placing shade cloth above the plants. Soil too dry also can cause okra to be woody; keep the soil evenly moist during the growing season. Do not let pods linger on the plant; harvest close to the number of days to maturity.

    • Your newly germinated seedlings have likely been attacked by a cutworm. These larvae shelter in the soil near young plants. Gently remove the soil near young plants and you may find cutworms curled up in a tight C shape; they will come out at night to feed. You can protect seedlings from cutworms by placing a small cylinder around each young plant-you can take the bottom out of a small paper cup and bury it in the soil around the seedling–leaving about two to three inches exposed as a barrier. You can also sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the seedlings. If cutworms are not found then the problem may be earwigs; use the same prevention for earwigs.

  36. My okra seedings are dying before they produce “real” leaves. The soil is damp, it’s about 72 degrees in the house, they are inside with eastern/southern sun exposure through windows. This has happened before. (also trying a different growing medium this time)

    • A fungal disease called damping off is the likely problem. Use a sterile, commercial seed starting mix. Do not overwater. Do not expose the seedlings to direct sunlight for a week or so. Make sure your seed is disease free (if you have purchased seed from a commercial seed grower it is disease free).

    • Protect okra plants from cold temperatures by covering them with a floating row cover until temperatures moderate. You can also state young plants under the protection of a plastic tunnel. Foliage that has been damaged with not regenerate new tissue, but you can protect unburnt and new foliage from the cold.

  37. My okra plants grows nicely, just before flowering I see some black ant like insects on the buds, with some tiny salt / sugar like particles on the okra plant.
    After the flower has fallen off and the Okra start growing, the plant just dies, with some part of the leaves turning yellowish.
    Please I am losing all my okra plants.

    Please advice

    • Two common pests that attack okra are aphids (some are black) and flea beetles. Aphids will suck plant juices from plants and flea beetles will scrape the green tissue from leaves; both can leave plants weak and yellowing. Use an organic pesticide to control these insects.
      When okra plants yellow and die after fruit set, check to make sure the soil is staying just moist (don’t let the soil dry out during fruit development), conversely don’t overwater. Yellowing leaves can occur when the soil is too dry or overly wet; leaves can also yellow if plants are over or under fertilized; use a slow-release organic fertilizer such as compost tea.

  38. my plants are dying, they begin to dry at the tip of the root, the root begins to take a dark color and then the entire plant begins to dry, this problem is in many parts within the planting furrows
    I have some pictures

    • Okra is susceptible to fungal diseases fusarium wilt and verticillium wilt. These diseases can cause dieback of leaves and stems usually starting on lower leaves and stems. The disease can spread up stems and often to the whole plant. A fungicide can control these diseases but they are difficult to eradicate. Root browning and dieback can be caused by soil that is simply too dry or by a soilborne bacterium. If disease is in the soil it will be difficult to eradicate. Make sure that planting beds are cleaned of all plant debris at the end of the season. Rotate okra (and other tomato family plants/ Solanaceae) out of the beds for three to four years. If rotation is not possible, you can place clear plastic over the planting beds and solarize the soil–or replace the soil.

  39. My okra flowers were yellowing and dropping off so I fertilized them and they quit dropping. Now the buds are yellowing and dropping off. The weather has been high 90’s with rain and high 80’s over the last week. They are the Clemson spineless. Also should I trim some of the leaves away from the plant?

    • Prolonged temperatures in the high 80s (above 86F) and in the 90s can cause okra flowers and buds to drop. Wet weather can also cause flower and buds to drop. The plant will recover when temperatures moderate. If the rain persists, you set stakes at the corners of the planting bed and drape clear plastic over the stakes to protect the plants; leave the sides and ends open for air circulation.

    • The okra seeds will turn dark color with age. Ask the produce person where the okra was grown and how long it has been at the grocery.

    • Okra plant height will have no effect on fruiting as long as the plant produces flowers and flowers are pollinated. Larger plants will produce more blossoms so that will increase the yield as long as pollination occurs. Okra flowers are self-pollinating; they have both male and female parts. When flowers open, give each stem with flowers a gentle shake to help pollen fall.

  40. My okra pods aren’t long and finger-like. Instead, they’re completely circular and baseball sized. What’s up with that?

    • There are a few possible reasons the okra is not naturally finger-like: (1) insect damage (cut into the pods to see if there is an insect feeding inside); (2) disease (a fungal or virus infection); (3) insufficient pollination; (4) weather or environmental damage during development. You can take a pod to the nearby cooperative extension and have an expert diagnose the problem or cause.

  41. I have planted over 850 plants of Okra. I live in the Caribbean – specifically Trinidad &Tobago.

    I have a total of 8 beds, at the top of each bed the Ochro Plants itself are HUGE! However, lower to the back of each bed – they’re alot smaller.

    I used seedlings in which the variety is flowering at 6weeks.

    It is drip irrigation system which evenly distributesall water solvable fertilizers. However, i suspect UNEVEN Growth! But unsure of the cause!

    Can anyone explain why i am encountering this odd phenomenon?


    • Assuming that the sunlight is the same for all of the plants over the course of the day and soil preparation was the same across the planting beds prior to planting, then it is likely the plants at the back of the bed are not getting the same water and nutrients as the plants at the front of the bed. Double-check your irrigation system to be sure the water-soluble fertilizers are being delivered evenly to all of the plants. If that checks out, then side-dress the smaller slow-growing plants with a complete fertilizer such as 5-10-10 or give the smaller plants a feeding of dilute fish emulsion every two weeks.

  42. Hi Steve,
    i have okra seedlings that are about 4 inches tall. i noticed today that many of them have small holes in the leaves. I’m in central Alabama. i know i’m a little late getting the seeds in the ground, but we can go to Thanksgiving without a frost some years.

    • Small holes in okra leaves may be a sign that flea beetles are eating the leaves. Flea beetles chew tiny shot holes in leaves as they feed. A flea beetle is very small about 1/10 of an inch long so you may have to look closely on both the upper and lower side of the leaves to find them. You can spray with kaolin or canola oil to control flea beetles. You can exclude flea beetles from seedlings or small plants by covering the plants with a floating row cover.

  43. Hi,
    I have a problem in setting the fruits on my okra plants. is there any exogenous chemical or phytohormone spray available for fruit set? What would be the problem in my okra where I am observing 60-70% fruit dropping. Could you please suggest any solution?

    • Check at a nearby garden center for a blossom set spray that contains the plant hormone cytokinin (often in the form of kinetin). This is a natural hormone that promotes cell division in plants which will promote blossom set and fruit development.

  44. I don’t know how to figure out what if the green sheath around the flower is it the Okra? Also what is the spiney
    Ball on it that dries up and pops

    • The green sheath you see is the okra seed pod, the fruit, the part you eat. The pod forms after the flower is pollinated; the ovary swells, the petals fall away, and the pod forms–containing the seeds. The ball you are probably referring to is the flower stamens which dries up and flakes away as the pod below grows.

    • Okra plants will begin to form branches as soon as they reach 4 to 6 inches tall. Okra plants will form pods soon after they flower.

  45. Hi there,
    I grew some Okra last year and saved seeds for this year. I have started early this year and grown the seedlings in a pot outdoors in Direct sun (as direct sowing was not seem to be working this time, tried once). After about 3-4 weeks when the plants were 3-4 inch high with 5-6 leaves each and were healthy, i transplanted them into the garden. Some slowness in the growth was expected at this point so it happened. For a week or so i did not see any new leaves and then I noticed that these small plants have started to produce flowers. After couple of days I pinched all the flowers before they grew any bigger or bloomed. Just wonder if it was OK or what should I be doing? Would the plant start going again or should I go and sow new seeds?
    I am in Sydney and the weather is getting pretty warmed up now. during the day it is staying between 28 to 35-36.

    • Pinching off the flowers on the small okra plant was the right thing to do. You want to allow the plant to put its energy into root development early on. Okra loves heat, but temperatures in the mid to high 30sC (90F) are very warm for young plants and likely causing stress. Place shade cloth over the plants to protect them from the midday sun. When temperatures moderate to mid-to-high 20sC (80sF), the plants will be less stressed and likely resume growth. When possible time the planting of okra so that it gets its start in the mid to high 70sF and finishes when temperatures are hot. Also, keep the soil just moist; do not let the soil go completely dry.

  46. My okra looks healthy..but the plant isn’t growing hardly at all. I actually see some flowers that are small on the plant. I’ve never experienced this with okra before
    Any suggestions? They are only about 6″ tall, and have been in the ground for over 6 weeks.

    • The worst case scenario is root-knot nematodes attacking the roots; this would leave the plants stunted. If that is the case you will find hard galls on the roots when you lift the plants. However, first, try feeding the plants with B1 transplant fertilizer which is mild and may give the plants a boost. If temperatures have been greater than 90F, the plants may simply be waiting for temperatures to drop into the 80s (hot weather can stress plants). Keep the soil just moist and protect the plants from the midday sun.

  47. Rabbits are all the leaves of my young okra plants! The stems seel fine. Will they keep growing and grow new leave are are they done for? I will be building wire netting fences for my garden this weekend to keep the sneaky guys away from my other veggies.

    • If the plants have not been fatally damaged, new leaves will begin to grow in 7 to 10 days. In the meantime, sow seed or set out new plants and protect them.

  48. Steve,
    Bought two (2) pods of okra three (3) day
    ago and each about 3 or 4 thin stems with
    leaves maybe 2 inches high.

    I transplanted in the garden and stems dropped
    down. Two 2 days later I found in the morning
    the stems on one were completely gone while
    the other plant stems are flat on the ground.

    Could this be caused by wind/rain or what. As
    I am not an expert, what can I do.
    Thanks Jim W.

    • If it has been windy and rainy, then that may well be the cause. Other possible causes are attack by insects or snails or slugs, soil too moist or too dry, and high temperatures. As a plant detective, the most apparent cause is the likely culprit.

  49. Im in Colorado, still have nights in the low to mid 40’s. My plants are only 6 inches tall and already trying to bloom. I pinched them, but was wondering how many times I can pinch.. t they do not like the colder nights. I used to grow bushels in South Carolina

    • You can pinch blooms often if you don’t want them to pollinate and set fruit. Check the recent historic average low temperatures through the summer; if temps are consistently low in summer where you are, you may want to grow okra in a plastic tunnel.

  50. I have planted okra seeds in garden frost no water stresses In ground since April25th…….4 rows..EVERY PLANT IS UP but is onky maybe 8-12 ” tall??? No bloo.s no bad loaves..just plants. Why are they so dwarfed?

    • If temperatures are greater than 90F, the plants will grow slowly until temperatures drop; the same is true if night temperatures are below 65F. Wait until temperatures moderate. Give the plants a low does of fish emulsion solutiohn to pep them up.

    • Okra pods could drop shortly after they form if temperatures are consistently warmer than 90F; they could also drop if there is a cold spell. Pod drop indicates the plant is stressed; check to be sure the soil is just moist; do not fertilize with a high nitrogen feritlizer.

  51. Ok, I’m stumped! My okra plants have been in the ground for almost 3 months. I have fertilized, watered everyday, the temps are in the high 80s and they are only 4 inches Tall! Beautiful green plants but not growing like they should! Everything around them is going crazy except the jalapeño. They are the same!

    What am I doing wrong?

    • What is the nighttime temperature? If it is less than 70F, cover the plants at night with a row cover. Feed the plants a dilute solution of fish emulsion every 10 days or apply a 5-10-10 fertilizer following the label directions.

  52. Need Help!
    Asking question from Charlotte NC. plants just started producing fruits. Unfortunately the tiny fruits are dying as soon as flower dropped! it is happening on to all of my okra plants. I’ve been watering them morning and evening. Not sure what else I can do. Expert advice greatly appreciated!

    • Okra flowers and very young fruit will abort if pollination was incomplete or if temperatures are very hot. Feed/water the plants with a solution of 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt added to a gallon of water. The magnesium should increase flower production and help fruit to have strength. If temperatures are very hot, be patient and things will turn around when temperatures moderate.

  53. I am from suthern California (Wilmington)
    In Few plants of okra in my garden i found,
    (1) i found tiny black things in leaves, oon fruits & also in flowers.
    (2) some leaves got brownish/ redish
    (3) some leaves became curlease.

    What is the solution for this?
    Any natural spray effective?
    I used natural treatment of dish washer liquid, baking soda,water & edible oil every five days.
    I did this two times.
    Giving miracle grow plant food with water regularly.
    Earlier water daily. Now in 2-3 days as when i diging soil i found it wet.
    Give me your email address si that i can send to day photos of plant.
    How can we stop this problem before appear?

    • The small black specks may be insects–thrips or aphids; spray with insecticidal soap or neem oil every two or three days until they disappear. Leaves that are brownish-red may be suffering from lack of phosphorus. Switch your fertilizer to a 5-10-10 such as Lily Miller Mor-Crop; high nitrogen can cause tender leafy growth which will attract sap-sucking insects such as aphids or thrips.

      • My okra is on its 4th week now, and summer has just begun and i notice some small buds at the top of plant. Is it normal at a young stage of the plant? Thank you in advance.

        • It is not abnormal for young fruiting vegetables to produce flowers and to begin forming fruit. That said, young plants may not yet have the stamina and energy to produce fruit successfully; they may become stressed. You can use your fingers to nip off flower buds until the plant is a foot or taller and has become well-rooted. You have plenty of season left for the plant to produce pods; there is no advantage for the plant to rush the season.

  54. I live in Georgia. My okra has been incredibly healthy and abundant this year. For the first few months the leaves were huge.Then I started having a problem with whitefles. I have been spraying for those and the okra production has not been affected. Also, leaves on the bottom of the plants have started to turn yellow and die. Now in the past two weeks the new leaves are very thin. They are still green and there are still blooms and okra. Just wondering if this is normal for this time of year.

    • Yes, what you are seeing is normal for the end of the plant’s productive time. You can give the plant a boost by watering with a dilute solution of fish emulsion every 10 days.

  55. Hi great post! My okra has been growing well but I noticed that once the pods have come they turn yellow and fall off. I m watering regularly. The temperature has been hot and cold on & off. Also I use miracle gro once a week and I I’ve noticed very tiny clear gel like round particles on the back off the leaves not sure if its the fertility or something else. Would really appreciate a feedback. Thank you.

    • The gel-like particles may be insect eggs. The pods yellowing and dropping could be from too much nitrogen. Feed the plant with a dilute solution of fish emulsion or kelp mean (both organic) every 10 days. Keep the soil evenly moist; not overly wet and never dry 2 inches below the surface. Spray the leaves on both sides with insecticidal soap.

  56. Hello,
    I have 12 okra plants and it’s been more than 2 months that I planted them. Yet, there are no blooms and pods are out of question. I have planted 4 plants each in a single 5 gal pot. Also, I have been dealing with Aphids, moths, caterpillars and ants on my okras.

    I also see small buds forming but they dry and fall off. Like really really small buds. There are some buds at the top of the plant but their growth is very very very slow too.
    Please help me! Our family loves okra and I am looking forward to having some homegrown okras.
    Any advice is appreciated.


    • Grow one okra plant per 5-galloon bucket; a 7-gallon bucket would be better. One plant will need all of the nutrients in a 5 gallon bucket. Plants that are stressed will be attacked by insect pests; this may be the case since 4 plants are sharing one bucket. Feed the plants with a dilute solution of fish emulsion every two weeks once the plants are 8 inches tall. When blooms appear, give the plant a dose of 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt mixed in a gallon of water. This will help blooms appear. When blooms appear give the branch a slight shake to help the pollen drop and pollinate the fruit. All of this should help you grow a good crop of pods.

  57. The last two years our many of our okra plants have dropped all leaves and died long before the end of harvest. Others are healthy and still producing. We have fertilized more the last two years (once a week with Miracle Grow). Could this be the problem? Normally we are still getting okra at frost. We have clay soil, but we mix peat moss, black cow manure well into soil before we plant. My plants looked really healthy early in the season.

    • Hot weather and irregular irrigation may explain the loss of leaves. A fertilizer too rich in nitrogen may also cause some leaf burn. In the offseason, amend the soil with aged compost or a commercial organic planting mix; this will help the soil be both well-drained and moisture retentive. During the growing season, feed the plants with a diluted solution fish emulsion or kelp meal liquid fertilizer every 10 days; this should be sufficient. If you suspect the soil is poor or diseased in one part of the garden, rotate the crops out of that section for two to three years.

  58. My okra has grown about 15 ft tall yes that is not a typo and and it is still growing even though temperatures have dropped into the upper 50s at night it has also produced so much okra this season I have not been able to get it all put away before it goes bad or even get it picked before it gets too big. My question is does anybody know why it got so tall? I would like to reproduce this next season but in a different location so my other plants are not in the shade next year!!! And so I can get the truck next to it so I can stand on it instead of the ladder.

  59. My okra has been producing beautifully. Honestly it has been the most pest free crop in my garden. However it only seems to produce from the top and get progressively taller as it does. Not the worst problem I guess, but the most productive plant is getting to where the pods will eventually out of reach. Any thoughts or advice?

    • You can nip off the growth buds at the maximum height you want the plant to be; that will make the plant bushier and limit the height.

  60. This is the first time I m planting okra… I live in chennai… now it’s almost 20 days still I planted I have only 4 leaves and 2 leaves looks like little yellowish green… I feel the growth is stunned… at the time of sowing seeds I did it without adding any compost or peat. But after 15 days I added them.. will my plants grow good or do I have to do something about it

    • If the plants are small and yellowish-green, the soil may be poor. If you have space, plant additional plants now. Amend the soil ahead of planting by adding aged compost or commercial organic planting mix to a depth of 12 inches (30cm) or more. This will add nutrients to the soil and help the soil to hold moisture. Feed the plants now in the ground with a dilute solution of fish emulsion or liquid seaweed every 10 days.

  61. We have small not mature pods dropping off the Okra plant in south Alabama. The plants have just started to produce. Weather has been average for this area. What is wrong with it?

    • Pods can drop for a variety of reasons. Typically pods drop when the plant is encountering some sort of stress–temps too low or very hot, too much or too little water, too much nitrogen in the soil. Keep the soil just moist and feed the plant a dilute solution of fish emulsion or kelp meal every 10 days. Plants drop fruit when they are trying to survive. You’ll need to do some detective work to figure out what the underlying cause is.

    • There could be a few reasons for okra vines growing long and twisted: (1) insufficient sunlight; plants are stretching for light; (2) insect infestation–check closely for sucking insects such as aphids, thrips, or mites; (3) inadequate soil moisture; (4) environmental stress, smoke or pollution.

    • Okra can be eaten raw, cut into bite-size bits. However, if the okra fruit has been long on the plant it may be tough and not palatable. If you don’t the fruits, you can save the seeds to grow again next year. Only open-pollinated (non-hybrid) seeds will grow true. You can also add the okra fruits to the compost pile.

  62. I brought my potted okra and peppers in from outside, bought a grow light and a fan. Finally, the okra flowers started blooming but not all of the way, I gave each okra plant two tablespoons of Happy Frog for Tomatoes and a little later began giving my peppers and okra mosquito bits water to get rid of the fungus gnats. All of the okra leaves dried up and fell off. Two of the three pepper plants, had small peppers die. one pepper plant is still very happy. Is it the Mosquito bits, the grow lights (Cheaper LEDs) the fact that the temperature inside stays around 69F or something else? I have also watered my mint and scallions with mosquito bits water with no problems but they are indoor plants. I have seen that fungus gnats, though annoying, does not usually hurt adult plants. Any thought?

    • If the gnats appeared after you brought the plants indoors, the soil may have become too moist and attracted the gnats to the damp soil. Soil too damp would cause leaves to drop. Also, too little light or too much nitrogen in the fertilizer could cause leaves to drop as well. 69F would be on the lower end of what okra and peppers prefer. A combination of less than optimal conditions may account for the plants’ failure.

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