Common name: Red Okra
Scientific name: Abelmoschus esculentus var. rubra
Plant history & use:
Red okra is a variant of the green okra with the same scientific name. Like the green variety, the fruits of red okra are a well-used ingredient in cooking thanks to their crunchy texture and binding properties. The fruits can be used in the same way as the greens, both in stews and soups, but also raw as a snack. The leaves of red okra can also be used raw in salads or stir-fries.
The big difference between red and green okra is of course the red color - which makes the variety a popular ornamental plant.
Like green okra, red okra is drought tolerant and grows best in well-drained, loamy soil. It thrives best in heat and is sensitive to frost, so cultivation in Sweden is mainly recommended in greenhouses or covered growing beds during the spring.
Red okra is self-pollinating, so a single plant is sufficient to bear fruit. For best results, give the plant continuous irrigation and nutrient supply.
The fruits of red okra should be picked at an early, unripe stage while they are still red and soft. If the fruits become too ripe, they can develop a woody taste.
Soak the seeds in water 24 hours before sowing. Put the seeds in moist soil and cover with 1-2 cm of soil. Keep the seed moist and place in a location with direct sunlight. The seeds germinate faster at temperatures above 25 ºC.
Plant position: Sun
Height: 1-2 m
Germination time: 1-8 weeks
Growing zone: Hardy down to 10 ºC