Okra seedlings keep dying

trh701(z4sd)April 16, 2008

This is the second year I have had okra seedlings germinate, grow to 2-3 inches tall and look beautiful and then just die. I grow all kinds of other veggies and flowers from seed with no problems. Any secrets about growing okra from seed? They are not dampening off, too wet or too dry. The bottom leaves start to shrivel (I checked for bugs) and then it contiues upward until the whole plant is dead.

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Where are you growing your seeds at? Does this happen to other seedlings, or just your okra? Are your seeds in a house near other house plants?

Years ago I had (unbeknownst to me) a coffee plant that had been given to me. It had gotten these black spots on the leaves. It took awhile but it infected all my other plants. I had some seedlings growing one year in the house, and they all would just die. It was because of the plant virus that was infecting my house plants. Had to destroy all my plants (sad, sad day). Found it was a virus, sent some seedlings to the ag dept for analysis. :(

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 1:50PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Okra is a hot weather vegge so may be difficult to grow so far north (just a guess). It needs much warmer soil temps to thrive then most other veggies so even the soil temp of the seedlings will need to be warmer. It thrives in the high heat of summer, prefers drier soil, and is a big feeder.

If you can't direct seed it (the preferred method) because of a short growing season, then wait to start your seedlings until just 2-3 weeks before you can set them out into the garden and the garden soil temp must be at least 75 when transplanted.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 2:08PM
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naturemitch(3/4 WI)

Hi trh,

Have grown okra a couple of times and only problem was once in hardening them off on the front porch...got a little too cool for them.

Guess my question is where are you growing them up at? I have an upstairs room that stays about 68-70, and the basement at about 60. I would not even consider sending those heat loving okra plants downstairs.

Last year our okra was wonderful...just started them about a couple of weeks before they went out. They kept producing all summer...we did them in containers(black), and they did soooo much better than the garden plot grown ones.

good luck

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 11:27PM
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A little clarification - the okra seedlings are on the same set of shelves as the tomatoes, peppers, flowers, etc. They are in a 70 degree bedroom and are under grow lights. I won't be able to put them outdoors until the end of May or first part of June. No problems with any of the other veggie seedlings - only the okra.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 11:24AM
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naturemitch(3/4 WI)

hi again,

hmm, interesting. so temp. doesn't seem to be the issue, and i can't say my seedlings were fussy with the watering regime. Are you using the same seed pack from last season? If so, try another pack. Are you adding any fertilizer...maybe they are reacting to that? Or finally, what kind of soil are you using? soilless? maybe change that out if it isn't a soilless mix.

just some second thoughts here

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 9:42PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Air temp isn't the issue - with okra it is soil temp that counts. And air temp doesn't equate with soil temp so even if the room temp is 70 degrees the soil temp is not - it's likely more like 50-55.

Tomatoes and peppers will tolerate soil temps of 50 degrees, okra will not. It need 75 degrees minimum and 80 is better. The only way you can get soil up to that temp is by providing direct heat to the soil with a heat mat or soil heating cable.

Down here okra doesn't get planted till late June so in SD why start it so soon? If you want to search "growing okra" you'll find many discussions about it - some current ones running over on the Vegetable forum with the same problems you are having - northern gardeners seedlings and transplants in too cold soil.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 11:37PM
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naturemitch(3/4 WI)

hello once again,

Well, I'm not sure if I can buy into the air temp and soil temp. being that different in degrees....outside yes, but not so sure about indoors, with plants being in small cell packs or small pots. But, I am going to go home tonite and check it out...I've got plenty of thermometers for just that experiment:)

Also, Dave, if us northerners would start our okra in late June...we would probably not get much okra, if any. By the start of Sept. here our nites are already getting cool, and our past years okra is certainly starting to phase out...leaving a start date of late June not advisable.

As I said before...have grown it, have been sucessful with it....and my Louisiana partner says she never knew us northerners could pull it off!:)

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 9:58PM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

Ours don't really shoot up until the we are into the depths of the summer. For the most part they crawl along until mid to late June. They do need that hot hot environment to really prosper.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 2:27AM
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