If you are growing okra for the first time, or if you got small plants last\nyear, you might be wondering how big okra plants can get. I wanted to\nknow the same thing, so I did some research to find out just how large this\nplant can get.\n\n\n\nSo, how big does okra grow? Okra plants can grow 3 to 7 feet (0.9 to 2.1 meters) tall and 1 to 5\nfeet (0.3 to 1.5 meters) wide. The pods\non an okra plant can grow as long as 7 inches (18 centimeters), but most are 3\nto 5 inches (8 to 13 centimeters) long, with a diameter of 1 inch (2.5\ncentimeters).\n\n\n\nOf course, the quality of your okra (if you get any at all!) depends on the\ncare that you give your plants. Let\u2019s take a closer look at okra,\nincluding size, growing conditions, and time to maturity.\n\n\n\nHow Big Does Okra Get?\n\n\n\nSome okra plants can grow as tall as 7 feet (2.1 meters),\nbut most will reach a height of 2 to 6 feet (0.6 to 1.8 meters). Okra plants can be as wide as 5 feet (1.5\nmeters), but most will have a width of 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 0.9 meters).\n\n\n\nOkra pods are usually 2 to 6 inches long, but some can get as large as 7 inches long.\n\n\n\nThe pods on an okra plant will grow to 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in diameter, with a length of 2 to 6 inches (5 to 15 centimeters). However, some okra pods can grow up to 7 inches (18 centimeters) in length, such as the Go Big Okra from Burpee.\n\n\n\nHow Long Does It Take for Okra to Grow?\n\n\n\nOkra will take 49 to 65 days (7 to 9 weeks) after\ntransplanting to grow to maturity. Okra\nseeds should be started 5 weeks before transplanting.\n\n\n\nThis means that you can expect to wait 85 to 100 days from planting an okra seed to harvesting mature okra pods.\n\n\n\nNote that okra seeds will germinate in 1 to 2 weeks,\nassuming ideal temperature and soil conditions (more on this later).\n\n\n\nHow Much Okra Do You Get From One Plant?\n\n\n\nOne okra plant can produce a pound or more of pods in a\nsingle growing season. This will depend\non many factors, such as the care you give the plant and how frequently you\nharvest.\n\n\n\nOne plant can produce a pound or more of okra pods.\n\n\n\nIf you stay on top of the harvest every couple of days, then\nthe plant will keep producing for some time.\n\n\n\nFor more information, check out this article on okra from the University of Arkansas.\n\n\n\nHow Do You Know When To Harvest Okra?\n\n\n\nFor most varieties, you should harvest okra when the pods\nare 3 to 4 inches (8 to 10 centimeters) long. \nIf you wait too long, the pods will get tough and stringy.\n\n\n\nOne good way to tell is when cutting the stem to harvest the\npods. If the stem is difficult to cut,\nthen the pod is too hard to use for eating.\n\n\n\nWhat Does Okra Look Like?\n\n\n\nThe okra pods that are grown for eating look somewhat\nsimilar to long peppers (such as jalapenos), but perhaps a bit longer and\nthinner.\n\n\n\nOkra pods usually grow straight and do not have much of a\ncurve unless there is a pest or other problem present.\n\n\n\nOkra pods can come in green, red, or purple colors, but the leaves on okra plants are green (the plants themselves can grow up to 7 feet tall!)\n\n\n\nThey are often green, but also come in red or purple colors. The pods also have fuzz on the surface\n\n\n\nWhy Are My Okra So Small?\n\n\n\nOkra plants prefer full sunlight, so too much shade will\ncause the pods to grow small.\n\n\n\nAnother possible cause of small okra is a lack of water,\nwhich is more likely in the warm climates where okra thrives.\n\n\n\nIf the light and water levels are correct, make sure you are\nnot providing too much nitrogen to your okra plants, since this can cause\nexcessive growth of leaves at the expense of the pods.\n\n\n\nAre Okra Plants Hard To Grow?\n\n\n\nOkra likes full sun, so be sure to plant them in an area where they get 8 or\nmore hours of sunlight per day. Avoid planting okra in a place where it\nwill be completely shaded by a tree or tall neighboring plants (such as\ntomatoes).\n\n\n\nOkra grows best in well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0 (slightly\nacidic). However, there are many other factors that affect okra growth,\nincluding temperature, watering, fertilizing, and spacing. Let\u2019s start\nwith temperature.\n\n\n\nTemperature for Okra\n\n\n\nOkra is a warm weather crop. The\nminimum temperature for okra seed germination is 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16\ndegrees Celsius). If the soil is any colder than this, you will see low\ngermination rates \u2013 that is, if you can get any seeds at all to germinate!\n\n\n\nThis is nature\u2019s way of protecting okra seeds from sprouting at a time when\nthey will be unable to survive. This is why it is suggested that you\nstart okra seeds indoors to avoid cold soil temperatures in early spring.\n\n\n\nThe maximum temperature for okra seed germination is 105 degrees Fahrenheit\n(41 degrees Celsius). If the soil is any warmer than this, germination\nrates will decrease.\n\n\n\nCombined with high humidity, high temperatures can encourage the growth of\nmold, which is another threat to your plants. So, don\u2019t wait too long to\nplant your okra seeds and transplant your established plants outside!\n\n\n\nYou should start okra seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before transplanting into\nthe garden.\n\n\n\nThe ideal (optimal) temperature for okra seed germination is between 85\ndegrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius) and 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees\nCelsius).\n\n\n\nKeep in mind that these temperatures refer to soil temperature, not air\ntemperature. If you want to find out the soil temperature, use a\nprobe-type thermometer to check.\n\n\n\nIf the thermometer reads a temperature that is too low, then you have some\noptions. One option is to wait until the sun warms up the soil.\n\n\n\nTo speed up this process, clear away any debris, such as leaves or grass\nclippings, from the soil surface. Also make sure to choose a location for\nplanting that gets plenty of sun, so that it can warm up the soil faster.\n\n\n\nIf you are worried about a short growing season, you can also use a cloche\n(a plastic or glass cover) to trap some heat and warm up the air and soil near\nyour okra seeds.\n\n\n\nA cloche can be made from a plastic water bottle to retain warmth and\nhumidity in the soil for seeds or seedlings as they grow. \n\n\n\nFor more information, check out the table below, and check out this\narticle from the University of California on ideal seed germination\ntemperatures.\n\n\n\n\n Seed \n Germination \n Temperature \n \n Temperature \n (degrees \n Fahrenheit) \n \n Temperature \n (degrees \n Celsius) \n \n Minimum \n \n 60 \n \n 16 \n \n Ideal \n \n 85 to 95 \n \n 29 to 35\n \n Maximum \n \n 105 \n \n 41 \n \n\n\n\nWatering for Okra\n\n\n\nOkra can withstand drought to some extent. \nHowever, in case of a long dry spell, you should keep the soil moist to\navoid water stress.\n\n\n\nOkra can withstand some drought conditions, but be prepared to keep them watered in a dry climate, or if you have sandy soil.\n\n\n\nYou may need to water more often if you have sandy soil, which drains quickly\neven when soaked thoroughly.\n\n\n\nPutting mulch on top of your soil will help to retain moisture. If you\nfind that you have a problem with dry soil, check out my article on how to treat dry soil.\n\n\n\nOn the other hand, over watering your okra plants (or any plants for that\nmatter) can lead to root rot and eventual death. The best way to decide\nwhen to water is to feel the soil with your fingers.\n\n\n\nIf the soil feels dry 2 or 3 inches below the surface, then go ahead and\nwater. For more information, check out my article on over watering your plants.\n\n\n\nTry to water early in the morning, rather than at night, to allow water to\nsoak into the soil before evaporating.\n\n\n\nFor more information, check out this article on okra from Bonnie Plants.\n\n\n\nFertilizing for Okra\n\n\n\nAdding compost to your soil before planting okra is a good way to improve\ndrainage for clay soil, improve water retention for sandy soil, and add\nnutrients to your garden.\n\n\n\nAdding compost to your soil provides nutrients and organic matter for your plants to help them grow.\n\n\n\nFor more information, check out my article on making compost.\n\n\n\nAccording to the Old Farmer\u2019s Almanac, you can also side-dress okra with a balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) or use decomposed manure. Avoid fertilizer with high nitrogen content or fresh manure, since both of these can burn your plants!\n\n\n\nFor more information, check out my article on over fertilizing your plants.\n\n\n\nSpacing for Okra\n\n\n\nWhen starting okra seeds indoors, sow the seeds 1 inch (2.5 centimeters)\ndeep and 2 inches (5 centimeters) apart. \nThis should be done 3 to 4 weeks before the last frost date. You can\nfind frost dates in your area on the Farmer\u2019s Almanac website.\n\n\n\nYou may need to thin seeds started indoors to prevent competition. For more information, check out my article on thinning seedlings.\n\n\n\nTransplant the young okra plants outside after the last frost date. \nSpace the plants 12 inches (30 centimeters) apart in a row.\n\n\n\nLeave 3 feet (0.9 meters) between rows of okra. This will allow space\nfor watering, weeding, fertilizing, and harvesting your plants.\n\n\n\nFor more information, check out this article on okra from the Texas A&M University Extension.\n\n\n\nConclusion\n\n\n\nBy now, you should have a better idea of how big okra can grow. You\nalso have some tips on how to help okra plants to grow to their full potential.\n\n\n\nI hope that this article was helpful \u2013 if so, please share it with someone\nwho can use the information. If you have any questions or advice of your\nown about growing okra, please leave a comment below.