Appalachia Gardening

Pruning Okra


Our Sow True Seed Jing Orange Okra has been producing nonstop for the last few weeks. I’ve pretty much needed to cut it everyday. I can’t imagine how its grown since our latest monsoon of rain has started. It’s the first time we’ve grown the variety, but I can tell you it won’t be the last. It’s very tasty and seems to stay tender even when it’s on the long side.

Pap and Granny taught me to cut the leaf below the pod of okra that I cut off. The pruning encourages new grow higher up on the plant. By the end of summer my okra looks like tall skinny mop-headed sentinels lined up and ready to march forth.


Subscribe for FREE and get a daily dose of Appalachia in your inbox

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Gaye Blaine
    September 17, 2020 at 10:08 am

    Okrie is good cut about 3/8 “ or so. Rolled in corn meal and fried in bacon grease

  • Reply
    Charles Coker
    June 12, 2019 at 8:46 am

    Earth to Tipper Earth to Tipper! Come in Tipper!!
    Have been searching online about pruning okra to increase growth.
    Some say prune off the lower leaves below the pods.
    One YouTube Video from Singapore says at 6 inches prune the growing tip to make the
    Okra branch out. An other video says never prune the growing tip.
    Who is right
    Also. do you plant by the moon signs ,and prune by the moon signs?
    Thank You.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    August 3, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    That pretty Red Okra looks like Red Pepper I use to grow when I had a garden. I’m with Miss Cindy, I think that stuff is supposed to be green. I raised two rows of Okra about 70 feet long, tried to give my neighbors a bunch but they were too lazy to participate so I never fooled with it again.

    I was cravin’ some rolled in meal and flour mixed and went to Ingles the other day. I was surprised to see their Okra. Their Squash was beautiful, but their Okra had black streaks on all the spined sides. It tasted OK tho, once it was hid with the meal solution and mixed with the yellow Squash. I went back about a week later and they had replaced that Okra with some beautiful other kind that didn’t have any black streaks. By then, I got a small Cabbage and fried some Johnsonville Kielbasis with it. That hit the spot! …Ken

  • Reply
    Rick Shepherd
    August 3, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    Tipper, you are making me want to start gardening again after living in crowded big cities for too many long years!…..I may have to start again when we move to the North Georgia Mountains just south of you in 2019!….. Thanks, Rick and Mary Shepherd

  • Reply
    August 3, 2018 at 11:48 am

    Never seen that kind before Tipper. We do love breaded okra. I don’t like picking it.

  • Reply
    August 3, 2018 at 11:07 am

    I started my “Granddaddy’s” okra on June 21st indoors peat pots just to see how it germinated and to protect it from marauding neighborhood dogs. I put 2 seeds per pot and about half of them came up in 7 to ten days. Of course with my luck almost half the pots had two plants and the others had none.
    I got them in the ground on the 4th of July. I had to break up the pots with 2 plants which stunted the growth of both compared to the few that came up single. Some of the plants didn’t survive the breakup. In most of the pots with one plant the other seed germinated after I put them in the ground. More than a month later. I had 4 pots that had nothing in them at planting time so I set them out beside the garden. 3 of those 4 pots had plants in them when I decided to clean up. Right now I have 26 plants growing from 50 seeds I planted. Considering I didn’t have to do any thinning I think that is pretty good. We’ll have to wait to see whether I get any fruit from my labors.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    August 3, 2018 at 10:21 am

    Mama always “whacked” off the long okra branches. Don’t think she had a system–just getting it a little easier to cut off the pods. It never seemed to hurt it and I do the same thing. If yall have never dehydrated okra, try it. I like to have it on hand to put a handful into vegetable soup.

  • Reply
    August 3, 2018 at 9:52 am

    Red Okra I’m not so sure about, but I have LOVED OKRA ever since I was a child. And, I like it anyway you cook it – long pods simmered in water; cut up, tossed in corn meal and fried; or in my Mother’s vegetable soup or in New Orleans Jambalaya. If I am ever sick, I long for my Mother’s vegetable soup loaded with sliced Okra.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    August 3, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Never heard of pruning okra but we didn’t grow it in KY back when, though I think they do now. The deer know about it. They have pruned mine severely.

    Incidentally, it is true that for some species at least stressing the plant results in heavy fruiting. Don’t know though if that has ever been systematically tested with garden plants.

    I think okra has begun to make mr itch to. Had not noticed it in the past. Not sure though because the itching doesn’t start right away, waits until about dark.

  • Reply
    August 3, 2018 at 9:02 am

    I’m so glad you wrote about okra, because my Jing is beginning to produce but I haven’t picked any yet. Those plants are so pretty, though! I’ve taken many photographs and even painted some watercolor portraits!
    I had planted Sow True Seed Bear Creek okra before signing on to the Jing experiment, so now I’ve got two kinds of okra – and lots of it, despite all the losses to bugs. The way it’s going, I may be the 2018 Okra Queen of Massachusetts! (A friend pointed out yesterday that I may be the ONLY person trying to grow okra in MA, but I’m sure there must be a few of us.) Tipper, if you have time, would you please write a little bit about the ways you cook okra? Unless all my plants die tomorrow (last year something got into the garden and every okra plant down to the ground just as they were beginning to flower) I will have way more okra than I need for pickling, which was my original plan. Thanks very much 🙂

  • Reply
    August 3, 2018 at 8:35 am

    The old timers in our area are known to take a hickory stick and whip their okra.
    Whipping is supposed to make it produce pods quicker.

    • Reply
      August 3, 2018 at 8:52 am

      Glenda-wow that is interesting!

  • Reply
    aw griff
    August 3, 2018 at 7:56 am

    Okra itches me bad. When I prune I use pruning shears and wear gloves and a long sleeve shirt.

    I need to try that jing orange.

    • Reply
      August 3, 2018 at 8:52 am

      aw-I’ve noticed my arms are breaking out after cutting the okra this summer. Don’t remember them doing it before but maybe I just never noticed 🙂

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 3, 2018 at 7:30 am

    Tip, I have to say that’s the funniest looking okra I’ve ever seen. My head will not accept the idea of red okra. I see red okra and my head says ‘no, green, okra is green.’

  • Reply
    Marshall Reagan
    August 3, 2018 at 7:27 am

    even when the okra gets bigger , if the tip is flexible it will be tender. if the tip is stiff, getting hard we leave it for seed for next year.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 3, 2018 at 7:12 am

    Tipper–The Jing Orange seed you sent me as part of Sow True Seed’s trials is bearing quite nicely, although it is a decided and somewhat distant second place to a variety I’ve saved seed from for years. A now deceased friend who grew up in Franklin gave it to me and called it Texas Longhorn. It bears prolifically and the pods stay tender, if the weather isn’t too dry, up to six inches or so in length. Best of all, the plants put out side branches so you have three or four “limbs” on a single plant producing okra. I always save seed from those plants with multiple limbs.

    As for pruning, I may have to give that a try. I’ve always just removed lower leaves once they begin to turn yellow (they’ll break away from the main stalk then and don’t have to be cut off). I do the same thing with tomatoes, although that’s more to fight blight than increase productivity. Right now, after a very dry July, it’s so blooming muddy and wet getting in the garden risks sinking in the mud up to a ‘possum’s belly button.

    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    August 3, 2018 at 6:12 am

    That picture reminds me of when I was little our neighbors was going on vacation and they had some beans and Okry as we pronounce it, needed cutn, so Mom sent me to cut it, I messed up, I cut towards the plant and not away from the plant and almost wiped out their Okry crop that year I nicked it enough some started dying, Boy was I in trouble.

  • Leave a Reply