How To Grow Okra in Australia

Quick Guide: Growing Okra

  • Optimal Growing Temperatures: Between 20°C and 35°C.
  • Ready to Harvest: 11-14 weeks after planting.
  • Space Between Plants: Plant 35-60 cm apart.
  • Companion Plants: Capsicum, Chili, Eggplant
  • Non-Companion Plants: None
  • Plant Type: Seed.

When to Plant Okra in Australia

Australia Map


Best planting months for Okra in the Tropical regions are March to September. This includes areas like Cairns, Darwin, and Broome.

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For the Subtropical region, Okra can be planted January to February and August to December. Cities in the Subtropical region include Brisbane, Central Coast, and Sydney.

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Okra can be October to December in the Temperate regions of Australia. Cities in the Temperate region include Melbourne, Adelaide, Geelong, and Perth.

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For the Cool region, Okra are not recommended to plant there. Cities in the Cool region include alpine regions of Victoria and Tasmania.

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Best planting months for Okra in the Arid region are January and August to December.

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Getting Started with Okra

If you're ready to embark on the journey of growing okra in Australia, let's get started! In this section, we will cover the essential steps to help you choose the right okra variety, source okra seeds or seedlings, and determine the best time to plant.

Choosing the Right Okra Variety

When it comes to choosing an okra variety for your garden, consider factors such as climate suitability, growth habit, and fruit characteristics. Some popular okra varieties that thrive in Australian conditions include:

Okra Variety

Climate Suitability

Growth Habit

Fruit Characteristics


Warm and tropical

Vigorous and upright

Dark green pods, tender and flavorful

Clemson Spineless

Wide range

Compact and bushy

Spineless pods, excellent for cooking


Wide range

Medium-sized and bushy

Deep burgundy pods, ornamental and edible

These are just a few examples, and there are many other varieties available. Consider your specific climate and preferences when choosing the right okra variety for your garden.

Sourcing Okra Seeds or Seedlings

To start your okra journey, you'll need to source okra seeds or seedlings. You can find these at local nurseries, garden centres, or online seed suppliers. Look for organic and non-GMO options, as these are generally better for the environment and your health.

If you prefer starting from seeds, you can sow them directly into the garden bed or start them indoors in seed trays and transplant them later. Starting from seedlings can save you time and effort, as they are already established and ready to be planted. Whichever option you choose, make sure to follow the instructions provided with the seeds or seedlings for optimal results.

Determining the Best Time to Plant

The best time to plant okra in Australia depends on your location and the specific climate in your region. Generally, okra thrives in warm and frost-free conditions. It is recommended to plant okra after the last frost has passed and the soil has warmed up.

For most regions in Australia, early spring through to summer is an ideal time to plant okra. This allows the plants to establish themselves during the warmer months and produce a bountiful harvest. However, if you live in a colder region, you may need to wait until late spring or early summer to ensure the soil temperature is suitable for okra growth.

By choosing the right okra variety, sourcing high-quality seeds or seedlings, and planting at the appropriate time, you'll be well on your way to growing healthy and productive okra plants. The next section will explore how to prepare the soil for optimal okra growth. But before we move on, if you're interested in learning how to grow other vegetables and herbs in Australia, check out our articles on how to grow silverbeet, rhubarb, and parsley. These guides will provide you with valuable insights and tips for successful gardening.

Preparing the Soil for Okra

To ensure successful growth and optimal yields, it's crucial to properly prepare the soil before planting okra. This involves understanding the soil requirements for okra and amending the soil to create the ideal growing conditions.

Soil Requirements for Okra

Okra thrives in well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Before planting, it's important to assess the soil's texture and composition. Okra prefers loamy soil that is loose and crumbly, allowing for good root development and water penetration.

The pH level of the soil should ideally be between 6.0 and 6.8, which is slightly acidic to neutral. You can test the pH level using a soil testing kit or by sending a sample to a local agricultural extension service. If the pH is too low or too high, appropriate amendments can be made to adjust it within the desired range.

Another important aspect of soil preparation is ensuring sufficient fertility. Okra plants benefit from nutrient-rich soil. Adding compost, well-rotted manure, or organic fertilisers can help improve the nutrient content of the soil. Incorporating these organic amendments before planting will provide essential nutrients to support healthy growth.

Amending the Soil for Optimal Growth

To create the best possible growing environment for okra, it's essential to amend the soil with organic matter and nutrients. Follow these steps to prepare the soil for optimal growth:

  1. Clear the area: Remove any weeds, rocks, or debris from the planting area. This will help prevent competition for nutrients and create a clean space for the okra plants to grow.
  2. Loosen the soil: Use a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of about 8-10 inches (20-25 cm). This will improve aeration, drainage, and root penetration.
  3. Add organic matter: Incorporate well-rotted compost, aged manure, or other organic matter into the soil. Spread a layer of organic matter over the planting area and mix it thoroughly with the existing soil. Aim for a ratio of 1 part organic matter to 3 parts soil.
  4. Apply balanced fertiliser: Prior to planting, apply a balanced organic fertiliser according to the manufacturer's instructions. This will provide essential nutrients that support the healthy growth and development of okra plants.
  5. Water the soil: After amending the soil, water it thoroughly to ensure proper moisture distribution and to help settle the amended soil.

By following these steps and providing the appropriate soil conditions, you'll create a nutrient-rich environment that promotes the growth and productivity of your okra plants. 

Planting and Caring for Okra

Growing okra successfully requires proper planting and care. In this section, I will guide you through the steps of planting okra seeds or seedlings, watering and mulching, and fertilising okra plants to ensure optimal growth.

Planting Okra Seeds/Seedlings

To start growing okra, you have two options: planting seeds directly in the soil or transplanting seedlings. If you choose to sow seeds, wait until the soil temperature reaches around 20°C (68°F), as okra thrives in warm conditions. Plant the seeds 1 inch deep and 12 to 18 inches apart, leaving enough space for the plants to grow. If you prefer seedlings, you can start them indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date and transplant them outdoors once the soil has warmed up.

Pro tip: If you're unsure about the best time to plant okra in your specific region, consult our article on how to grow okra in Australia for region-specific planting guidelines.

Watering and Mulching

Okra plants require consistent moisture for healthy growth. Water the plants deeply once a week, providing about 1 inch of water. However, be cautious not to overwater, as excessively wet conditions can lead to root rot. Mulching around the base of the plants with organic materials, such as straw or shredded leaves, helps retain soil moisture, inhibit weed growth, and maintain a more stable soil temperature.

Fertilising Okra Plants

To provide essential nutrients to your okra plants, it's important to fertilise them appropriately. Before planting, incorporate compost or well-rotted manure into the soil to improve its fertility and structure. Once the plants are established, you can apply a balanced organic fertiliser, such as a 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 formulation, following the manufacturer's instructions. Apply the fertiliser every 4 to 6 weeks throughout the growing season to promote healthy growth and abundant yield.

Fertiliser Application

Amount per plant

Pre-planting (compost or manure)

1-2 cups

During the growing season (organic fertiliser)

Follow package instructions

Remember to water the plants after fertilizing to ensure that the nutrients are properly absorbed by the roots.

By carefully planting and caring for your okra, you can maximise the chances of a successful harvest. Follow these guidelines for planting, watering, mulching, and fertilising to nurture healthy okra plants. In the next section, we will explore common pests and diseases that may affect your okra crop and discuss natural control methods to protect your plants.

Pest and Disease Management

Growing okra in Australia comes with its fair share of challenges, including dealing with pests and diseases. However, with the right knowledge and techniques, you can effectively manage these issues and ensure a healthy okra harvest. In this section, we will discuss common pests that attack okra, natural pest control methods, and how to prevent and treat okra diseases.

Common Pests that Attack Okra

Okra plants can fall victim to various pests that can hinder their growth and productivity. Some of the common pests that you may encounter include:




Small, soft-bodied insects that feed on the sap of okra plants.


Tiny, winged insects that cluster on the undersides of leaves and suck plant juices.


Larvae of butterflies and moths that chew on leaves and can cause extensive damage.

Spider Mites

Tiny pests that feed on plant sap, causing yellowing and browning of leaves.

Fruit Borers

Insects that lay eggs on okra fruits lead to larval infestation and fruit damage.

Natural Pest Control Methods

When it comes to managing pests in your okra garden, using natural methods is often the best approach. These methods are effective in controlling pests while minimising harm to beneficial insects and the environment. Here are some natural pest control methods you can employ:

  1. Handpicking: Regularly inspect your okra plants and manually remove any pests you spot, such as caterpillars or eggs. Dispose of them away from your garden to prevent re-infestation.
  2. Beneficial Insects: Encourage beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, to populate your garden. These insects prey on common pests, helping to naturally control their population.
  3. Companion Planting: Interplanting okra with pest-repellent herbs, like basil or marigold, can help deter pests. Additionally, some plants attract beneficial insects that aid in pest control.
  4. Neem Oil: Neem oil, derived from the neem tree, is an organic insecticide that can be used to control a wide range of pests. Follow the instructions on the packaging for proper application.

Preventing and Treating Okra Diseases

Alongside pests, okra plants can also be susceptible to various diseases. By implementing preventive measures and promptly addressing any signs of disease, you can minimise their impact on your okra crop. Here are some tips for preventing and treating common okra diseases:

  1. Good Sanitation: Keep your garden clean by removing plant debris and fallen leaves, as they can harbour disease-causing pathogens.
  2. Crop Rotation: Avoid planting okra in the same spot every year. Rotate your crops to prevent the buildup of soil-borne diseases.
  3. Proper Watering: Water your okra plants at the base to avoid wetting the leaves excessively. Moist foliage can promote the development of fungal diseases.
  4. Fungal Diseases: If fungal diseases like powdery mildew or leaf spot appear, use organic fungicides or homemade remedies like baking soda solutions or diluted milk sprays.
  5. Viral Diseases: Unfortunately, there is no cure for viral diseases. If your okra plants are infected, it's best to remove and destroy them to prevent the spread of the virus to healthy plants.

By being proactive in pest and disease management, you can protect your okra plants and ensure a successful harvest. Regular monitoring, early intervention, and organic control methods will contribute to the overall health and productivity of your okra garden. For more information on growing other vegetables and herbs in Australia, check out our articles in our A-Z Growing Guides.

Harvesting and Enjoying Okra

After patiently nurturing your okra plants, it's time to reap the rewards of your hard work. Harvesting okra at the right time ensures that you enjoy the best flavour and texture. In this section, I will guide you through identifying when okra is ready to harvest, share some harvesting techniques, and even provide a few delicious okra recipes for you to enjoy.

Identifying When Okra is Ready to Harvest

Okra pods reach their peak when they are young and tender. To determine if your okra is ready to be harvested, gently press your thumb against the pod. If it gives a little and feels tender, it is ready to be picked. On the other hand, if the pod feels hard and tough, it is likely overripe and should be left on the plant for a longer period.

It's important to regularly check your okra plants for mature pods, as they can quickly become tough and fibrous if left on the plant for too long. Aim to harvest okra every 2 to 3 days during peak growing season to ensure you don't miss the ideal window of harvest.

Harvesting Techniques

When harvesting okra, it's best to use a pair of sharp gardening shears or pruners. This helps prevent damage to the plant and allows for a clean cut. Position the shears just above the stem and snip the okra pod off the plant. Avoid tearing or pulling the pods, as this can harm the plant and potentially affect future growth.

Be mindful of the tiny spines that line the okra pods. These can be mildly irritating to the skin, so wearing gloves or using a cloth to handle the pods is recommended. As you harvest the pods, place them gently into a basket or container to avoid bruising.

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