Growing Ladyfinger in Pots
The following information is about Growing Ladyfinger in Pots (Okra).
Introduction To Ladyfinger Vegetable
Ladyfinger or Okra or Bhendi is a flowering plant grown for its edible green seed pods. Ladyfinger plants are cultivated in tropical, subtropical, and warm regions. It is an annual crop and grown about 4 meters tall. Lady’s finger plants have long and broad leaves with 4 to 5 lobes with white and yellow flowers. Lady’s finger can tolerate severe drought conditions. Lady’s finger can grow in a wide range of soils with a pH range of 6.5 to 7.0. Lady’s finger is a warm crop, and frost can damage the pods. Lady’s finger plants need a good amount of water to thrive, overwatering can cause rotting. Lady’s finger plants are mainly propagated from seeds in the pots. Lady’s finger plant grows well in full sun and thrives well in a temperature range of 25 to 35 degrees. Seeds take 5 to 6 days to germinate, vegetable takes 55 to 65 days to mature. Lady’s finger vegetables are a rich source of carbohydrates, Dietary fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin K. In USDA zones 9-11, Lady’s finger can be grown around the year. Lady’s finger plants are heavy feeders, feed the plant with NPK fertilizer with low nitrogen level.
- Scientific Name for ladies’ Finger: Abelmoschus esulentus.
- Family: Lady’s finger belongs to the family of Malvaceae.
- Common Name: Ladies Finger, Okra, Okro,
Varieties for Growing Ladyfinger in Pots
Ladyfinger comes in green and red colors. Green to dark green Ladyfinger is common, red Lady’s finger is not common. The taste of both is the same, and the red color Lady’s finger turns green when cooked. Seeds of red ladies ginger are more expensive compared to green Lady’s finger. There are many varieties of seeds of Lady’s finger are available in the market, select the best quality dwarf varieties as they grow compact suitable for pots. Search for the quick crop seeds that can reduce harvesting time.
Propagating Methods for Growing Ladyfinger in Pots
- The best method of propagating Lady’s finger is through sowing seeds.
- Soaking the seeds in warm for 24 hours before sowing will soften the seed coat and fastens the germination process.
- Lady’s finger can also be propagated through transplanting seedlings, but transplanting seedlings are not recommended.
Ideal Season for Growing Lady finger in Pots
- Lady’s finger crop is a summer crop. Loves heat and humid climate.
- Summer and Spring are ideal moths to grow Lady’s finger in pots.
- In the regions with mild winter seasons, Lady’s finger can be grown around the year
- Constant heat and humid climate will reduce the harvesting period, pods get ready very fast.
Suitable Container for Growing Lady finger in Pots
- Select large-sized pots for growing Lady’s finger.
- Pots should hold a minimum of 5 gallons of soil.
- The Ideal size of the pot for growing a Lady’s finger should be 12 inches in depth and 12 diameters.
- Lady’s finger seedlings are not suitable for transplantation, so sow the seeds directly into the desired container.
- Pot for growing Lady’s finger can be of any material, choosing black-colored pots is recommended as the Lady’s finger are heat-loving plants.
- Pots should have a good draining system, 2 to 3 draining holes are recommended.
- Cover the draining holes with flat stones, to improve aeration and avoid dripping of soil.
- Ladyfinger can be grown in plastic bags or growing/biodegradable bags.
Ideal Temperatures for Growing Lady finger in Containers
- Lady’s fingers need medium to high temperatures to thrive.
- the Temperature should be above 10°C for seed germination.
- For flowering and fruiting, the temperature should be between 25°C to 35°C.
- Lady’s finger can tolerate high temperatures, but plants cannot tolerate the temperature below 10°C.
- Soil temperature should be 25°C to 35°C to sow the seeds.
- The ideal daytime temperature for a growing Lady’s finger is 20°C and at night time, the temperature should 15°C.
Planting for Growing Lady finger in Pots
- Buy dwarf variety seeds that mature fast, Buy seeds from local nurseries or farming centers, or horticulture units. Seeds are available online also. Select the seeds of reputed quality and brand.
- Dwarf varieties Lady’s finger plants grow up to 3 to 4 feet, this makes it suitable for container gardening.
- Fill the pot with a commercial potting mix, leaving ½ inch gap between the soil surface and the rim of the pot. Place the pot in the warm sun from morning to evening to warm up the soil.
- In the evening, make ½ deep hole at the center of the pot and sow the seeds. Cover the seeds with soil loosely.
- Water the seed with a sprayer and place the pot in a bright and warm location.
- And cover the pot with a plastic cover to protect heat and moisture.
- Maintain the constant moisture levels in the soil.
- Seeds take 5 to 10 days to germinate depending on the climate. A warm climate fastens the germination period.
- Once you see the seedling peeping out, just remove the cover as the seedling grows well in direct sunlight.
- Once the seeds start germinating, apply a thin layer of mulch for controlling weeds.
- Ladyfinger plant reaches 3 to 4 feet in the duration of 2 to 3 months and starts blooming.
- During the flowering period, side-dress the plants with organic manure or compost to increase fruiting.
The Best Location for Growing Lady finger in Pots
- Lady’s finger is a summer crop, it thrives well in the full sun.
- Lady’s finger needs 5 to 7 hours of sunlight.
- Choose a place where it can get a good amount of sunlight.
- The best place for Lady’s finger pots are terraces, balconies, backyards, front yards, etc.
Soil Requirement for Growing Lady finger in Pots
- Lady’s finger thrive well in loam, well-drained soil.
- Using a soilless commercial potting mix rich in organic matter is highly recommended.
- Enrich the soil with compost or organic manure to provide a constant supply of nutrients to the plants
- The pH levels of the soil should be 6.5 to 7.0.
Water Requirement for Growing Lady finger in Pots
- Lady’s finger require a good amount of water to thrive.
- Keep the soil moist constantly.
- Check the moisture in the soil regularly, the plant needs more water during the flowering till the fruiting period.
- Using watering spray to water the plants.
- In peak summer seasons, water the plants twice a day.
- Don’t make the soil soggy, it may cause root rot.
Sunlight Requirement for Growing Lady finger in Pots
- Lady’s finger are heat-loving crops, thrive well in full and direct sun.
- Place the pot in a place where it receives a good amount of sunlight, the plant requires 6 to 8 hours of sunlight every day.
Mulching Requirement for Growing Lady finger in Pots
- After sowing seeds, when the young seedling appears cover the soil around the stem with a 5 to 6-inch layer of mulch to prevent weeds.
- Mulching will keep soil dampen and prevent weeds.
- Pine straw is the best mulch for ladies ‘finger’
Fertilizer Requirement for Growing Lady finger in Pots
- Mixing the potting soil with natural/organic manure or compost will provide the necessary nutrients for the plants.
- Side dressing the plant with natural compost or organic compost during the growing period will produce more yields.
- you can also mix the potting soil with mild slow-release fertilizers to the plant instead of compost or manure before planting.
- Feed the plant with a balanced liquid seaweed fertilizer or instant manures during the flowering period to increase the yields.
- The NPK ratio of the fertilizer should be 5-10-10 or 6-12-12.
- Feeding the plant with 1-2 liters of well-decomposed compost in the flowering period can give you more fruits.
Read this: Seedbed Preparation.
Pruning Requirement for Growing Lady finger in Pots
- If you are growing dwarf varieties, plant, pruning is not required as it grows compact.
- If growing a normal Lady’s finger plant, pruning and pinching are necessary to keep the plant compact. Once the plant reaches 4 to 5 feet height, pinch the growing tips to keep maintain the compact size of the plant.
Pests and Diseases in Growing Lady finger in Pots
- The Young Lady’s finger plant can be attacked by leaf-eating insects. Keep an eye on young plants every day, if you notice any eaten leaves, pick them immediately and throw them away.
- Common pests that affect the Lady’s finger plants are aphids, whiteflies, and mealybugs.
- Common pests damage the plants to a large extent.
- Common pests like aphids or whiteflies can be cleared by blowing a strong stream of soapy water.
- Aphids or other pests can also be treated by spraying neem oil or horticultural oil.
- Ants climb up plants to steal sips of nectar, these can also cause a serious problem.
- Lady’s finger plants are also susceptible to Fusarium wilt and nematode.
- Use organic fungicides for all the fungal diseases and nematodes, don’t go for petroleum or chemical-based fertilizers.
Harvesting in Growing Lady finger in Pots
- Wear gloves while harvesting Lady’s finger, as the small thrones on the leaves and pods of plants can irritate the skin.
- Use scissors to harvest pods very carefully, as another pod exists from the same spot.
- Lady’s finger can be harvested in short intervals.
- Regular harvesting will increase the production of pods.
- Prune the bottom leaves of the plant after the first harvest, this increases the yields.
- The plant starts flowering after two to three months of sowing seeds.
- Pods appear in 6 to 7 after flowering.
- Harvest the pods when they are tender and fresh, size of pods for harvesting should be between 3 to 5 inches.
Storage Tips for Growing Lady finger in Pots
- Lady’s finger, when stored in freezer bags and stored in the refrigerator, stays fresh for 1 to 2 weeks.
- Cut fresh Lady’s finger and dry for an hour, these cut Lady’s finger stays fresh for more than 2 weeks when stored in the freezer.
- Fresh ladies ‘ finger, can be kept at room temperature for a week.
Tips for Growing Lady finger in Pots
- The evening is the best time to sow the seeds in the pots.
- Lady’s finger is self-pollinating plants, so hand pollination not required.
- Lady’s finger is a cut and comes again vegetable, so keep cutting the pods every day or two and they will keep on coming.
- Check ‘the tenderness of the Lady’s finger by pinching its tips.
- Lady’s finger plants not only produce tasty vegetables, its delicate foliage, and beautiful blooms add beauty to your garden
- The harvesting period of Lady’s finger is 50-60 days.
- Melons, cucumbers, bell peppers, eggplant are the best companion plants grown with ladies ‘finger.
- Lady’s finger plant doesn’t grow well with potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, or a similar vegetable.
- Lady’s finger plants can be grown in pots, garden beds, buckets,s or in any type of container that can hold a good amount of soil.
- Lady’s finger can be grown any time, other than the winters.
- Many varieties of Lady’s finger are available in the market, choose a dwarf variety and check plant height before buying seeds.
- Transplants Lady’s finger plants are difficult to transplant as they have very delicate roots that get harmed while transplanting.
- While watering, do not wet the foliage, water the plants only at the base.
- Water the okra plants only in the morning.
- A thick layer of mulch to keep the soil wet and to reduce the weeds.
- Lady’s finger plants are a heavy feeder, feed the plants with nutrients periodically with natural or organic liquid fertilizers.
- Nutrient deficiency in the plant will produce fewer yields.
- If the potting mix is very loose, provides some stake support to the plants. Insert wooden sticks in the middle of the pot and tie the plant with a thread loosely.
- Side dress the plants with slow-release granular fertilizer, that release nutrients to the plant slowly throughout the growing season.
- For growing Lady’s finger plants in cooler regions, sow the seeds before the last spring frost date Put the pot in a warm sunny location during the germination period.
- Sow the seeds when in constant warm temperature for fastening germination, if the outside temperature doesn’t support placing the container in warm room temperature, provide grow light if needed. Move the containers after when seedling appears.
- Too much usage of fertilizer or compost can hurt the growth of the plant, feed the plant once or twice a month.
- Lady’s finger plants require more water, approximately it needs 1 inch of water per week, provides more water if you in hot regions.
- Pruning the lower leaves will fasten the growth of pods.
- The pH levels of the soil should be between 6.5 to 7.0, in lower pH levels can be adjusted by adding limestone or bone meal to the soil. Adding plenty of compost can keep the pH levels neutral.
- The fruiting period of plants lasts up to two months, depending on the varieties of seeds.
- Tough pods should be removed from the plants, otherwise, it will stop producing pods.
- Recommended varieties of Lady’s finger are;
- Annie Oakley – It is a dwarf variety that grows up to 4 feet tall, the harvesting period is 55 days, and has spineless pods. Annie Oakley 2 and Green best belongs to the same species.
- Clemson Spineless: these are spineless dwarf varieties that grow up to 5 feet, the harvesting period is 56 days.
- Chant Okra: this hybrid variety produces large pods, and the harvesting period is 55 days.
- Red Velvet: this hybrid variety produces large red spots, and the harvesting period is 60 to 70 days. Some red pod Lady’s finger is Bowling red, Hill Country Red, and Jing Orange.
- Burgundy is another red pod variety lady’ finger plant, it is open-pollinated and the harvesting period 49 to 60 days.
In case if you are interested in this: How To Grow Organic Lettuce.
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