How Long Does It Take For Okra Seeds To Germinate? How Does Temperature Effect It?

By Paul Smart •  Updated: 05/20/22 •  6 min read

How Long Does It Take For Okra Seeds To Germinate? How Does Temperature Effect It? Okra is a lesser-known summer vegetable that belongs to the cucurbit family. It requires relatively warm conditions to thrive so if you were growing it at home one of the most common questions that is asked is how long does it take for an okra seed to germinate?

Okra seeds are an extremely slow germinator that will take 14 days to appear at a temperature of 77°F (25°C) according to a study published by the University of California. However, if the temperature falls to 59°F (15°C) degrees it will take at least 4 weeks for the seeds to germinate and below that temperature, they will not grow at all. See the table below for details.

Days To GerminateTemperature (°F)Temperature (°C)

For those people living in moderate to cool climates growing okra can be a little bit challenging due to the temperatures required to get the seeds going in the first place. This means that if you live in a region where the growing season is relatively short then okra is difficult to grow unless you start the seeds early.

This means that in most cases you need to start the seeds approximately 4 to 6 weeks prior to the last Frost in a seed tray indoors. However, given okra’s sensitivity to temperature, it is advisable to germinate the seeds in a heated propagation tray rather than just taking a normal tray indoors as the temperatures can fluctuate significantly.

If you are considering purchasing a heated seed tray we would recommend that you purchase one that has a removable seed tray and a humidity dome. The reason for this is that this is the component of the unit that is most likely to deteriorate first, therefore being able to replace it will maximize the life of the unit.

The other important feature is the humidity dome because it enables the conditions around the seedling to be controlled more accurately which will ensure that the seedlings grow faster and more consistently.  To see the latest price on Amazon for a unit like this click on the link below.

Get Off To An Early Start With A Heated Propagation Tray

How To Grow Okra

As mentioned above okra can be a little bit tricky to grow because of its temperature sensitivities. It is therefore important to start the plants off in a seed tray. Start by filling the seed tray with a good quality seed raising mix. 

When filling the seed tray ensure that you firm the seed raising mix down to form solid plugs in each cell of the tray as this will make it easier to transplant the seedlings into the garden later on. Plant 2 to 3 seeds per cell at a depth of approximately half an inch as this will ensure that you get at least one seedling coming up per cell. 

If multiple seedlings come up then simply thin out the weakest seedlings leaving one plant per cell. The amount of time that the seeds will need to spend in the seed tray is typically around 6 weeks. During this period the okra plants will reach a height of around 4 inches provided that they are sufficiently warm.

Once the plants have reached a reasonable size they can then be planted out into the garden if the conditions are suitable. Okra requires temperatures of at least 59 to 68°F (15 to 20°C) to grow successfully. If the weather is still not warm enough the other option is to put up the seedlings into a larger pot and continue to protect them in an area such as a greenhouse until the weather improves.

However, if the weather is a little bit borderline and you do want to plant outside one of the options is to use either a cloche or a row cover. Cloches can be made easily using old milk cartons with the bottom cut out and the top lid removed, however, the limitation of using cloches is that they are relatively small and can only accommodate plants when they are very young.

If you live in a region where the weather is inconsistent then you may want to consider purchasing a row cover that will cover plants until they get a lot more mature. To optimize this it is best to purchase a relatively tall road cover. To see the latest price for an item of this nature click on the link below.

Extend Your Season With Growsun Row Covers

In terms of location, it is important that okra is planted in a relatively warm spot that gets at least 6 to 8 hours of sun per day. Additionally, as okra is a fruiting plant they require lots of nutrients so it is best to plant them in rich moist, and free-draining soil that has plenty of organic matter. If you have doubts about the quality of the soil then it is advisable to add an additional bag of compost.

The plants should be spaced approximately 10 inches apart and then mulched well before being watered in thoroughly.

Harvesting Okra

In the right conditions, okra will typically fruit approximately 60 to 90 days after the seedlings have been transplanted into the ground. It is best to pick the fruit when it is approximately 3 to 4 inches long,  however, when picking it, it is important to wear gloves as many varieties have very small spines which can irritate your skin.

Additionally, it is important to cut the fruit away from the plant rather than snap it off to ensure that you do not damage the plant. Okra plants will typically fruit for 4 to 6 weeks and during this period, it is important that you continually pick the fruit as this will encourage the plant to continue to produce new flowers as long as possible.

I hope you found this article useful and have great success growing okra in your own garden, if you have any additional comments or questions please leave them in the section below.

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Paul Smart