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Plant Care Guide >> Container Vegetable Gardening >> Abelmoschus esculentus (Okra/Lady's Finger)
Lady's finger is a tall-growing, warm-season, annual vegetable. Lady's finger 's stunning foliage and bell-like yellow flowers with red centers make it a natural for an ornamental garden. It is available year-round, with a peak season during the summer months. The pods grow rapidly, being ready for harvest in about 60 days of summer weather, when grown from seed.
Common name: Lady's Finger, Okra
Vernacular Languages: Hindi: Bhindi; Santhali: Ramjhinga
Botanical Name: Abelmoschus esculentus
Family: Malvaceae
Soil Preparation:

Lady's Finger performs best in well-drained, fertile soils in full sun. Avoid wet, poorly drained sites. Soil pH is generally not a problem as okra grows well in soils that are slightly acidic to slightly alkaline (pH 6.5 to 7.5).

Sowing:

Because Lady's Finger seeds do not germinate well in cool soils, plant seeds after the soil has warmed in the spring. Soak or wrap the seeds in moist paper toweling or in water overnight, to accelerate germination.

Planting:

Plant 5 to 6 seeds in 12" pot. Lady's Finger seedlings do not transplant well. After germination, thin to two plants per pot.

Climate:

It is a warm season vegetable crop and requires a long warm growing season.

Light:

The plant require to be grown in full sun of at lease 6 hrs a day.

Watering:

Lady's Finger can tolerate dry conditions. However, watering may be necessary during extended dry periods. It needs to be evenly moist throughout the growing season.

Humidity:

Moisture is especially important during flowering and pod development.

Staking:

The plant does not require staking.

Fertilizing:

Before planting, apply 1 to 2 pounds of an all-purpose garden fertilizer, such as 10-10-10. When harvesting begins, sprinkle a small amount of nitrogen around each plant. However, avoid heavy nitrogen applications, which may promote vegetative growth and reduce crop yields.

Pest and Problems:

Watch for buildup of colonies of aphids on the undersides of the leaves.

Growth Habit:

The plant can grow up to 6 ft in height.

Harvesting:

The pods should be picked while they are tender and immature (2 to 3 inches long for most varieties). Use a sharp knife or hand shears. They must be picked often- at least every other day.

Special Care:

Lady's Finger does not like to have its roots disturbed.

Medicinal Uses:

Lady's Finger simply boiled in salted water, is eaten as a cure for heartburn, in particular the heartburn of late pregnancy. It is also used for pneumonia, bronchitis, urinary problems, heart diseases and tuberculosis of the lungs.

Click here to buy seeds for this plant.
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