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When to Plant Okra

Okra seedlings

Plant okra seedlings in the garden 3 to 4 weeks after the last frost in spring. Start okra seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before setting out plants. Direct sow okra in the garden after the last frost in spring when the soil has warmed to 60°F (16°C).

Okra is a warm-season crop.  Okra grows best when average temperatures are between 70° and 85°F (21-29°C).

Planting okra

Plant okra in full sun. Plant okra in humus-rich, well-drained soil. Turn the soil to a depth of 8 inches before planting and add lots of well-aged compost or well-rotted-manure. Okra planted after early peas will benefit from the nitrogen stored in the soil by the pea nodules.

Space okra 12 to 18 inches (30-45cm) apart. Dwarf varieties can be planted closer together.

Okra harvest

Okra matures 50 to 60 days after planting. Pick pods when they are 2 to 3 inches (5-8cm) long. Pods left on the plant that grow longer will be more fibrous and less palatable. Use okra soon after harvest; it does not store well.

Picking green pods as soon as they are edible size will encourage continuous production. Mature pods left on the plant signal it to stop producing. Cut the pods from branches rather than tugging them to avoid disturbing the roots.

Okra seedling
Okra seedling

Okra planting dates

(These dates are for the Northern Hemisphere)

Average date of the last frostPlanting dates
Jan. 30Feb. 15-Apr. 1
Feb. 8Feb. 15-Apr. 15
Feb. 18Mar. 1-June 1
Feb. 28Mar. 10-June 1
Mar. 10Mar. 20-June 1
Mar. 20Apr. 1-Jun3 1
Mar. 30Apr. 10-June 15
Apr. 10Apr. 20-June 15
Apr. 20May 1-June 1
Apr. 30May 10-June 1
May 10May 20-June 10
May 20June 1-20
May 30 
June 10 
Okra seedlings

Okra planting details

  • Sowing depth: 1/2 inch (12mm) or slightly more
  • Space between plant after thinning: 12-18 inches (30-45cm)
  • Days to sprout: 7-12
  • Days to harvest: 55-65
  • Storage period: 7-10 refrigerated
  • Seeds per 100 row feet: 2 ounces
  • Yield per 100 row feet: 175 pounds
  • Suggested varieties: Blondie, Clemson Spineless, Dwarf Green Long Pod, Emerald Green

Related articles for growing okra:

How to Grow Okra

Okra Seed Starting Tips

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. Harvesttotable.com has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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