Most plants that we see around us have hardened branches and trunks that allow them to support themselves and stand upright. Certain plants that are fewer in number have softer branches and hence, need support.
The plants which need support to grow are called climbers, so they require trellis or support that they can climb on.
Does an okra plant need a trellis or support?
An okra plant is not a climber and does not need a trellis or support. Okra plants can grow quite tall. When it reaches about 8 feet in height, it requires staking as support. Otherwise, it will start leaning aside. But since it is not a vine, it does not need a trellis for support.
Trellis, also known as treillage, is an architectural structure. It is designed to be an open framework and is usually made of wood, metal, or bamboo.
The purpose of a trellis is to showcase and support climbing plants, especially vines and shrubs, those who cannot support themselves.
Compared to the number of plants that have hardened branches and trunks, few plants have soft delicate branches that need support to grow on. These plants are called climbers or vines and can be spotted growing around large trees in forests and jungles.
In modern homes, climbers and vines are showcased on a trellis.
Okra plants are strong yet delicate. These plants grow tall to be trees and can grow quite large on their own. But as they reach astonishing heights, they begin to bend to a side, and hence, need some form of support or staking to keep them growing straight.
Is okra a climbing plant?
No, okra is not a climbing plant. Climbing plants are plants that require support to grow. Popular examples of climbing plants are vines and shrubs that are seen in the wild and often showcased in trellis or supports in the backyards and gardens of some homes.
Okra plants do not need support to grow as they do not fall in the category of climbers or vines. Therefore, okra plants can grow on their own and can reach amazing heights. They also bear vegetables called okras.
Even though okra plants are not climbers, when they reach about 8 feet in height, they tend to lean due to the weight of their upper body of leaves and vegetables. This requires the use of staking to help okra plants keep growing tall and straight.
Can okra be a trellis?
Yes, okra can be supported using a trellis. Although treillage is mainly used to support and showcase vines and climbers, it can be still be used to support an okra plant. When okra plants reach great heights, they require support to keep straight.
Okra plants are not climbers and do not require support until they reach a specific height so, the use of trellis for okra plants is different than usual. The treillage is kept horizontally over the plant. This setup helps the plant to grow straight and firm.
When the trellis is installed horizontally over an okra plant, it prevents it from leaning. Okra plants lean when they grow tall because of the large leaves that grow on the top of the plants. As a result, when the plant grows very tall, it starts leaning.
Therefore, a trellis that is placed horizontally, will help the okra plant stay upright and straight. Additionally, if the trellis is installed vertically close to the okra plant, that will work too.
How high do okra plants grow?
Okra plants can grow 3 to 9 feet high. These plants grow to be about 1 to 5 feet wide. Usually, okra plants grow to be about 3 to 6 feet tall, and in the right conditions and environment, they can reach 9 feet in height.
Okra plants have soft branches. They have large heavy leaves that grow on top of the plants. Moreover, they have a widespread root system.
As okra plants grow to be quite large and wide, it needs a significant amount of space to develop. Also, proper planning needs to be done because of the root system. In windy areas, the okra plant may sway so the plant can be staked.
How to support okra plants?
Large okra plants can get heavy at the top and need support to stay straight. Follow the steps below to support your okra plants.
Choose a suitable stick or trellis to support the okra plant:
Choosing suitable support is the most important among the other steps. If you want to stake the okra plant, use a strong stick that can support the plant. Otherwise, you can opt for the trellis to give a better look overall.
Try straightening the plant:
For staking the plant, gently lift the top of the plant with the stick to make the tree stand straight. Then, keeping the weight of the top part of the plant on the stick, dig it on the ground. Make sure the okra plant is straight.
In the case of using a trellis, set it up beside or over the plant. Setting it horizontally over the plant will prevent the okra plant from leaning and keep it straight.
If you set up a trellis vertically beside the okra plant, the treillage will support it and prevent it from swaying in the wind.
Make sure the support is strong:
If the support is not firm enough, it will not serve the purpose of supporting the plant. So, make sure that the stick used for staking or the treillage used is strong and planted firmly on the ground.
If the steps have been followed correctly, the plant will have a supportive structure. The plant will no longer lean and will stand vertical to the ground.
How to grow okra?
Growing okra is easy if some steps are followed carefully. The steps to be followed are given below:
Soften the seeds:
Before planting, soak the seeds in water for 12 to 18 hours. Soaking will soften the seed coat of the seeds and make them absorb moisture. It will also help in the germination process.
Plant the okra seeds in spring or early summer as oak trees grow well in warm seasons. Before planting, make sure that the soil temperature is approximately 65°C.
After planting the seeds, sow the seeds one inch deep and ensure that the kernels are at least 3 feet apart.
Water and fertilize the plant:
Okra seeds start germinating in 2-12 days. Even though they are compatible with different soil types, they still require fertilizers and mulch. So, provide these in adequate amounts.
Okra plants grow well in full sun. So, they will require plenty of water so, regularly watering them is a must. Watering the plant is critical while the pods and leaves are developing.
Pest control and safety:
Okra is prone to wilting, root-knot nematode, and Southern stem blight. So, crop rotation and good soil management are of the essence. Also, to keep the plant safe from pests and insects, use pesticides and insecticides following the instructions.
How to make okra plants bushy?
As mentioned earlier, okra plants can grow to be quite large. In small gardens, these plants can shade the whole backyard.
The shading leaves will cut off sunlight reaching smaller plants, for which some gardeners prefer making okra plants bushy to allow sunlight to reach all plants in the backyard.
One way of making okra plants bushy is by pruning. As okra plants are durable and can tolerate a lot of pruning and pinching, pruning the okra plant will help get rid of most of the branches, stems, and leaves.
Therefore, the shaded area under the okra plant will decrease, and more sunlight will reach the shorter plants.
Another way is cutting off the top of the plant. You can cut down 1/3 of the top to promote growth and better production of okra. Cutting will also remove all the big heavy leaves at the top of the plant.
Okra plants do not fall in the category of climbers and, therefore, do not need any trellis or support. They do, however, need staking or aid later on as they reach great heights. As they grow taller, they lean. So, they need assistance to keep them standing perpendicular to the ground.