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Does Okra Need a Trellis? (All You Need to Know)

Many of our valued possessions in our yards or gardens are our plants. Many people across the world have taken gardening as a popular hobby and even more people are growing their interest into gardening recently. 

However, taking care of these plants requires dedication and delicate care as well as an appropriate growing environment. In the abstract below, you will learn information about providing a suitable framework to allow your okra plants to grow.

Does okra need a trellis?

When okra plants mature, they become so big and heavy that they begin to lean over and need support. Since okra pods can grow as tall as seven feet and become heavy – having a trellis to support them can prevent the plant from leaning over and keep the plants tidy and continue growing.

Okra is a seasonal vegetable also known as gumbo or ladies finger and being high in nutritional value and a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals – they are a popular vegetative crop in many gardens. 

However, an okra plant can get very large as they mature and take up a large amount of space so it is essential to keep that in mind when planting them. 

Areas as wide as 2½ to 3 feet should be sufficient for an okra plant but in terms of height, they can grow as tall as 8 feet and may become too heavy for its stem to uphold the weight. 

Besides the weight, the okra plant also becomes vulnerable to wind when they become tall as they might snap from strong winds. Therefore, it becomes increasingly risky to allow an okra plant to mature without having a trellis as a support.

When an okra plant is young, it doesn’t require the support of a trellis because it is not tall enough to bend over under its own weight. 

However, when they mature and grow tall in the summer season, they grow as tall as 8 feet and top-heavy enough for them to lean over due to their own weight and height. 

In that case, it is best to set up a trellis in order to allow them to continue growing as well as keeping your garden tidy.

Is okra a climber?

The okra plant is not a climber however they do grow excessively tall, so much that people might mistake them to be a climbing plant. Climbing plants always require a support to grow and they do not have a strong stem to support the plant. 

Some of the common climbing plants seen in the wild are vines and shrubs and climbing plants found at homes are often bound by trellis and other types of support.

However, even though okra is not a climber – that does not dismiss its necessity of a trellis or a support. An okra plant can grow on its own without any supporting items and can reach great heights as high as 8 feet. 

But after they mature, the weight of these plants become exceedingly high for the stems to handle and thus they require support such as trellis to keep them from bending over.

4 reasons why okra needs trellis

Some okra plants do not need trellis and can grow well without them, but having them be supported on by trellis makes it much easier and better to grow them in your garden. Below described are the reasons why okra plants need trellis:

Might collapse under their own weight:

While the okra plants are young, they do not need trellis or any form of support because they are small and lightweight enough for their stem to support their weight. 

But as they grow larger, their tops get heavy and they might start to wobble under their weight – which poses a risk of them collapsing under their own weight. Having the plant be supported on trellis supports this additional weight and protects them from collapsing.

Might grow too tall for their stem to support:

When the summer season approaches, the okra plants reach maturation and grow to be as high as 8 feet in height. Thus given their large height as well as their heavy weight, it becomes stressful for the okra stem to support the entire plant and ends up leaning over. 

Vulnerable to strong winds:

With the plant being tall, more parts of the plant are exposed to the wind so in case of strong winds, there is a possibility of the plant to snap and break off. 

Even though the stem of the plant is strong enough to withstand most strong winds, continuous exposure to winds can weaken the stem.

Keeps the garden tidy and the plant well supported:

Besides the safety of the plant, letting the okra plant to grow freely could cause the plant to grow all over the place and make your garden look messy. Using a trellis could help keep the okra plant organized and tidy and well supported.

Tips of growing okra on a trellis

Okra is an excessively nutritious vegetable, therefore it is popularly grown by many gardeners. But to make them grow to their fullest extent – delicate care is required and those steps to get a well-grown okra plant has been stated below:

Keep the plant in full exposure of the sun:

Okra plants are summer seasonal vegetables, which means they thrive in warm temperatures. In order to get the best growth out of them, you need to put the okra plant in full exposure to the sun for at least 8 hours per day and keep them in warm areas. 

Although there are some okra that grow best in cooler temperatures, you would prefer to keep the temperature of the area above 75 degrees Fahrenheit to get the optimal growth of the okra plants. 

In case of starting from okra seeds, they need to be sown directly into the garden soil when the temperature of the soil is around 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Provide an ample space around the plants:

Okra plants require a wide space around them to grow properly with a spacing of 18 to 24 inches between each okra plant. This will ensure that the plants are well ventilated and reduces the chance of diseases meanwhile providing them with enough space to grow.

Use sufficient amount of mulch:

Applying sufficient mulch in your vegetable garden around 4 to 6 inches of thick layer around the okra seedlings will ensure better growth. Straw mulch is a good option but you can choose from any type of organic mulch to get the job done as well. 

You can place the mulch in the soil before sowing the seeds or mulch over the area when the seeds have been sown as well.

Use trellis to support mature okra plants:

As the okra plants grow to full maturation, they become both tall and heavy – so much that it becomes difficult for the plant’s stem to hold the plant properly. 

Therefore having a support such as trellis could hold the 6-8 feet tall okra plant in place and provide them with the support against not only their height and weight but also against incoming strong winds. Using trellis can also enhance the looks and tidiness of your garden.

Do okra need cages?

Okra plants can grow without the need of any supporting items because unlike climbing plants, they have a strong and stiff stem which can hold them in place. 

Therefore, they don’t need the cages – but if you can use the cages in order to tie the plants to provide them with support against their weight. This would prevent the plants from leaning over from their own weight and stay in a defined shape. 

Can okra be grown in containers?

Although okra can be grown in containers, some species of okra grow to be too large for any container to hold them, but in case of shorter and younger okra plants – containers can be temporarily used to contain them. 

You would need to get at least a pot of 5 gallon capacity or large in order to grow your okra in a container. 

Otherwise, you need to find a species of okra that grows and matures to be under 5 feet in height. For example, Annie Oakley is a variety that grows to a maximum height of 3 to 4 feet and they can be grown in black containers perfectly fine.

Final Thoughts

When okra plants reach maturity, they become so large and heavy that they bend over and require support. Because okra pods may grow around seven feet tall and heavy, having a trellis to hold them can prevent the plant from bending over and maintain the plants clean while they continue to grow.