Abelmoschus manihot (Aibika)

Scientific Name

Abelmoschus manihot (L.) Medik.

Common Names

Aibika, Sunset Muskmallow, Sunset Hibiscus, Hibiscus Manihot, Sweet Hibiscus

Synonyms

Hibiscus manihot (basionym), Abelmoschus manihot var. manihot, Abelmoschus caillei, Abelmoschus platidactylus, Abelmoschus pseudomanihot, Hibiscus japonicus, Hibiscus papyriferus

Scientific Classification

Family: Malvaceae
Tribe: Hibisceae
Genus: Abelmoschus

Flower

Color: Primrose yellow
Bloom Time: Summer

Description

Abelmoschus manihot is a quick growing, deciduous, upright, perennial subshrub up to 10 feet (3 m) tall and up 4 feet (1.2 m) wide with upright, lightly hairy stems and short side branches holding deeply lobed, palmate dark green leaves. 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.

Abelmoschus manihot - Aibika
Photo via wikimedia.org

Hardiness

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 a second crop in June. In short-season areas, start plants indoors 6 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). Use fresh seed, and soak it overnight or nick each seed coat with a file to encourage germination. Sow seed 0.5 inch (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

Origin

It comes from tropical Asia south to northern Queensland.

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