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Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), also called "Gumbo" or "Bamya", comes from the mallow family (Malvaceae) and is native to Ethiopia. Okra has been cultivated by the Egyptians and is an important fruit vegetable especially in the African and Mediterranean cuisine. Okra, also known as vegetable marshmallow, is one-year-old and rarely cultivated in Germany. One of the reasons for this is that heat-loving vegetables are even harder to cultivate in our climes than peppers and aubergines.

Appearance and growth

Okra can reach a height of up to two meters in the warm regions of origin. At the junctions of the round stems, long, stalked, three to five-toothed leaves sit on long stalks. From July, short-stalked, large decorative flowers appear in the leaf axils. They are yellow with a dark red center. The stamens are fused to a stamp surrounding tube. The 10 to 20 centimeters long, pointed cone-shaped, longitudinally ridged pods are covered with a down. In the cross section of the five to hexagonal fruits white seeds are visible. There are varieties with light and dark green and dark red fruits.

Blossom of the okra

Okra is a member of the mallow family and produces decorative yellow flowers with a dark red spot in the middle

Location and ground

Okra should preferably be grown in the greenhouse, only in warm regions, for example wine regions such as the Rhine Valley, okra can thrive in the tub in a sunny, warm and sheltered location. The soil should be nutrient-rich and humic.


From the beginning of April you can sow okra seeds in potting soil and place them at 22 to 25 degrees. The germination period is about ten days. If you let the seeds swell for one night before sowing, they will then germinate better. One week after emergence, you should pique the seedlings in ten-centimeter pots, keep warm at the same temperature and sufficiently water.

Okra pods

Inside the pod are fine white seeds


From the end of May, the young plants can be planted in the greenhouse or under a foil tunnel at a distance of 30 x 60 centimeters.


Okra is sensitive to cold and should be covered if possible. The shoots can lead you up with strings. Water the plants regularly and a lot, especially in dry periods. In addition, a weekly fertilizer has proved its worth.

Harvest and recovery

At the end of the summer you can harvest the unripe capsule fruit about two weeks after blooming. Although they can be eaten raw, cooking or cooking is recommended. Do not be surprised: Okra secretes a slimy substance while cooking. This is suitable for thickening food. If you do not want this substance to escape from the vegetables, you should first blanch the okra in vinegar water for a few minutes and then quench with cold water or place the whole pods in cold lemon water one to two hours before cooking.

Prepared fruits of okra

The five- to six-cornered fruits are usually cooked or cooked. In doing so, she turns off a whitish mucus

The pods can be used in many ways: The taste of green beans reminiscent fruits taste in curries, stews or as a side-dish. In the African kitchen they are often cooked with a tomato-garlic sauce to chicken, in the Creole kitchen there is the stew "gumbo".


The different types of okra differ in the form of the fruit, which may be narrow or rather broad, and in the color of the fruit. 'Sun Love' shows green, the varieties 'Feuerteufel', 'Red Velvet' and 'Red Burgundy' red fruits. The variety 'Alabama Okra' has green-red fruits. The fruits of 'Santa Cruz' are slightly longer than those of other varieties.

Abelmoschus esculentus Burgundy Red

The variety 'Burgundy Red' forms dark red fruits that grow between the nodes of the stems

Okra as a medicinal plant

Okra contains herbal mucilages, which contribute to a healthy intestinal flora. In the case of colds and inflammations of the mucous membranes, the okra cooking water is also an old home remedy.

Diseases and pests

In addition to aphids, the okra is susceptible to the white fly. The aphids can fight you with an occasional spraying of the plant. Otherwise, it may help to place yellow sheets between the okra plants.

Video Board: Tyler, The Creator - OKRA.

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