Abelmoschus ficulneus (L.) Wight & Arn.
White Wild Musk Mallow, Native Rosella
Hibiscus ficulneus, Abelmoschus alborubens, Abelmoschus alboruber, Abelmoschus strictus, Hibiscus sinuatus, Laguna aculeata
Bloom Time: Summer
Abelmoschus ficulneus is a small erect shrub that grows up to 5 feet (1.5 m) tall with a spread of 6 feet (1.8 m). Leaves are circular, heart-shaped at the base, toothed, rough on both sides, 3 to 5 lobed, up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) long, and up to 2.8 inches (7 cm) wide. The flower stalks are covered with velvety hairs and occur at the end of branches or in the leaf axils. Flowers are up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter. They are white, turning pink, with a dark purple spot in the center. The stamen tube is about 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long. Flowers last a couple of days. The seed capsules are 5-angled.
USDA hardiness zone 8b to 11b: from 15 °F (−9.4 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Okra needs full sun. It will grow in ordinary garden soil but does best in fertile loam, particularly where a nitrogen-fixing crop, such as early peas, grew previously.
In the South, plant the first crop in the early spring and the second crop in June. In short-season areas, start plants indoors six weeks before setting them out (3 to 4 weeks after the last frost date). Sow two seeds per peat pot and clip off the weaker seedling.
When seeding Okra directly in the ground, wait until after the soil has warmed and the air temperature is at least 60°F (16°C). Then, use fresh seed, and soak it overnight or nick each seed coat with a file to encourage germination. Sow the seeds 0.5 inches (1.2 cm) deep in light soil and 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep in heavy soil; spacing is 3 inches (7.5 cm) apart in rows 3 feet (90 cm) apart. Thin seedlings to 18 to 24 inches (45 to 60 cm) apart, always leaving the strongest of the young plants.
See more at Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Okra Plants.
This species is native to north and east Africa, Madagascar, Indomalaya, and Northern Australia.
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