Abelmoschus manihot (L.) Medik.
Aibika, Sunset Muskmallow, Sunset Hibiscus, Hibiscus Manihot, Sweet Hibiscus
Hibiscus manihot, Abelmoschus manihot var. manihot, Abelmoschus caillei, Abelmoschus platidactylus, Abelmoschus pseudomanihot, Hibiscus japonicus, Hibiscus papyriferus
Color: Primrose yellow
Bloom Time: Summer
Abelmoschus manihot is a quick-growing deciduous perennial subshrub with upright, lightly hairy stems and short side branches holding deeply lobed, palmate, dark green leaves. It grows up to 10 feet (3 m) tall and 4 feet (1.2 m) wide. From early summer through fall, the foliage provides a great foil to the showy and outward-facing, up to 6 inches (15 cm) wide, soft, yellow flowers, each with a distinctive dark red-purple eye that last but one day.
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 comes from tropical Asia south to northern Queensland.
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