Okra is a great garden bed plant as it’s pretty stress-tolerant and grows quite well in some of the warmer gardening zones. However, it’s well known that Okra plants can grow to great heights. So you might be wondering if your okra plants will need support, or if you need to stake okra plants.
You do not always need to stake okra plants. However, if you don’t want them to fall over or lean as they get taller, you should stake them because broken okra plants produce less fruit. Plus, tall okra plants will be more susceptible to high winds.
In the rest of this article, I will discuss whether okra plants can climb, how to prevent okra plants from falling over, how tall they can get, and ways to keep your okra from getting too tall. So if you would like to learn more about this incredible plant, let’s get started.
Do Okra Plants Climb?
Every variety of okra grows pretty large and tall, making it seem like they would be a good climbing plant. People will often plant these plants next to a trellis, so it begs the question: Do okra plants actually climb?
Okra plants do not climb unless you specifically grow climbing okra which isn’t really a type of okra despite its name. It’s actually a gourd. However, even though okra doesn’t climb, it will still enjoy the support of a stake or trellis as it grows. This is due to the height okra plants reach.
So okra plants aren’t really climbers, but they will take advantage of any support you provide so long as you fasten them to the stake or trellis. Okra plants are quite beautiful and will provide a good amount of shade despite not technically being a climbing variety of plants.
Does Okra Need Support To Grow?
Now that you know a little more about okra plants and how they aren’t actually considered climbers, it’s time to discuss what support is necessary for these plants to thrive. Do your okra plants even need support?
Okra does not need support to grow. However, supports such as stakes or trellises are a great idea since okra grows very tall and can easily fall over due to wind or the weight of the plant. In addition, a damaged plant is less likely to produce as much fruit.
Ultimately it’s entirely up to you whether or not you choose to provide support for your okra plants. There are many who opt not to, and their plants grow just fine. However, if you live in an area with a lot of wind, some sort of support is a good idea as the plants get taller.
How To Prevent Okra From Falling Over
Now I will describe a few ways you can protect your okra plants from falling over and becoming damaged. Okra is, for the most part, a sturdy plant. They are pretty stress-resistant, don’t need a ton of water, and can handle a warm climate. However, they do struggle with withstanding wind and the weight of their leaves as they grow bigger.
Ways to prevent your okra plants from falling over or leaning:
- Stake your okra. Using a stake is a simple method for keeping your okra plants upright. Simply insert a metal or wood stake at the base of your plant and secure the stalk to the stake using string, cloth, or rope. As the plant grows, you may need to tie it to the stake in more places. Also, be sure to use a stake that will be tall enough for full-grown okra.
- Place a trellis. Another way to secure your okra is by using a trellis. To successfully use a trellis for your okra, you simply need to ensure that the trellis is sturdy and then tie your okra plant to the trellis to provide support for the heavy leaves.
- Cut the top of your okra off. You can actually prune your okra plants’ tops to force them to grow shoots from the sides and therefore grow outward instead of up. This method works pretty great so long as you stay on top of pruning.
- Plant your okra behind a structure that can block the wind. If you are adamant about not adding any sort of support, it’s a good idea to plant your okra somewhere safe from the wind. You can do this by planting them behind a fence or a wall or even in a greenhouse.
So as you can see, there are a few ways you can protect your precious plants from falling over or sagging beneath their own weight. It’s important to note that some okra varieties will grow taller than others. So always do your research when acquiring your seeds.
How Tall Does an Okra Plant Get?
So now that you know how you can help your okra plant from falling over as it grows, you might be wondering just how tall your plant will get. You have probably heard that they grow quite large, but how large is large?
Okra plants can get 3 – 6 feet (0.91 – 1.83 m) tall. These plants can grow to be quite large, and therefore it’s often a good idea to grow them with support such as stakes or trellises. Another option is to cut their tops so that the okra has to grow outwards instead of straight up.
Okra is one of the taller plants you can grow in your garden, and you just might find yourself precariously balancing atop a ladder to harvest your pods. However, if this is a concern, you can always plant a smaller variety of okra instead.
How To Keep Your Okra From Growing Too Tall
Lastly, I will go over some methods for producing okra that won’t be over 6-feet tall. These two options are relatively simple and great ways to ensure your okra doesn’t grow too big and get out of hand. So let’s dive right in and learn about how you can accomplish this.
Prune Your Okra As It Grows
Okra can easily grow tall and take up a ton of space in your garden. This is why the most straightforward method for keeping your okra at an acceptable height is to prune your okra plants.
You should regularly prune your okra plants if you don’t want them to get too tall. Pruning encourages the plants to grow wider rather than straight-up. Your plants should be kept between 12 – 24 inches (30.48 – 60.96 cm). This will also help each plant to grow more okra pods.
To prune your okra plant, you will want to wear gloves and not be afraid to remove the majority of the plant’s height. However, it’s important to note that okra tolerates pruning quite well, and your plant will be better able to produce tasty pods without all those other leaves to worry about.
Plant a Dwarf Variety of Okra
Another option is for you to plant a smaller okra plant. Luckily there are several smaller varieties of okra known as dwarf okra.
Dwarf varieties of okra tend not to grow over 3 feet in height and still produce delicious fruit. So, for example, if you plant the baby bubba variety, you will still be able to harvest full-sized pods, and your plant won’t grow to insane heights.
Other dwarf varieties of okra include:
- Baby bubba
- Dwarf long pod okra
These are just to name a few of the smaller varieties that you can plant. Each of these plants is an excellent alternative to the bigger, more traditional types of okra.
You don’t need to stake your okra plants or provide support of any kind if you don’t want to. However, wind and other harsh weather can easily cause your okra plants to droop, so it’s recommended that you provide support such as stakes as needed.
Just remember, there are a few alternatives to staking your okra plant, such as regular pruning and planting a smaller variety of okra seeds.