Illness on Okra

Today I saw that one of my little Okras is dying in a peculiar way. A portion of the stem is dying, while above and below the plant does not look great but looks distinctly alive. I am sure that this phenomenon was not visible yesterday because I look at my plants each day. Especially the Okra, because Okra isn’t grown here and I have never grown it either, so I am observing it especially well.
Any ideas what this could be?

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I don’t have an answer, but I’m pretty sure someone else will, because that is a common occurrence for my veg starts before they harden off. I assume it is fungal, but I always have plants to spare so never worry about it.


Thank you. What I find funny is that this plant may look small, but is hardened off. I only have 4 Okras (3 now) because I don’t want to waste precious space on plants of which I don’t know:

  • if they even ripen here
  • how to grow them
  • if I even like them

So this years Okra may be the vanguard to a new crop or a fad I try this year and maybe never again. What I really want to do is take seeds from them if they survive that long and start adapting them to my climate.

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Damp off disease. It is usually fatal but not always. nothing can bd done except stake the plant so it doesn’t break and it might live to produce.


Thank you very much. Too late for staking, I ripped it out. But if any more get it, I’ll try it.

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I agree that this is a damping-off related disorder. The condition is called “wirestem”—and is often what happens when a seedling survives infection by one of the fungi that causes damping off. Plants with wirestem generally never thrive—so it’s just as well that you ripped it out. This frequently happens here with chard/beets and sometimes basil. I also had damping off and wirestem problems with some of my direct-seeded okra one rainy season.


Next time just mound some soil up or transplant them again and bury them above the damage. They have a chance of recovering faster than growing a new plant from seed.


Something I noticed about okra years ago… is it thrives in heat and dryer weather.

If you plant it too early here… it just refuses to grow and may even die…

A week or two of cool wet weather will often take several plants out.

Plant more now… I am planting two more double rows here in the next week or so… possibly tomorrow if I can get to it.

It does great here mid summer thru fall.
It was early November last year when mine quit producing.

Good luck to you.


Thank you @TNHunter, @jeremybyington and @JeremiahT for your explanations and tips. My climate is propably marginal for Okra and we had much rain two weeks ago but the last two weeks have been very hot with 30°C every, day, which Okra should like, so I don’t understand why this happened now and not in the rainy phase, but whatever…
Anyway I will probably not plant more Okra now this year, they will never ripen here. Normally the heat declines sharply at the end of August here. While the days can still be hot, the nights in September and October are often cool and there is often fog in the morning. I think that Okra will slow down production under these conditions, correct?
But thank you all for the tips, and if I get even one plant to flower, l’ll try again next year.


Here… I can start tomatoes usually between April 25 and may 5… and they will take off and do well… I start green beans 1 or 2 weeks after tomatoes… and my first planting of okra 1 or 2 weeks after green beans.

Usually end of May is a pretty good bet on first okra start here.

I did that this year and we had a couple good hot and dry weeks… I had to water them some but they were up in 4 days (I direct sow in the garden). And they got off to a excellent start… then a week or so later we got 3 weeks of rain and cooler weather…

Then the heat came back and has stayed with us.

I lost about 1/4 of my first planting okra plants during that 3 weeks of rain and cooler weather…or just after that.

They just do not get along with even slightly cooler and wet weather.

When I plant my next two double rows (possibly today)… I will plant more seed in the spots in my first planting rows where the others failed.

That is what mine looked like last year.
May be hard to tell but I always make a little raised bed in my garden to plant okra in… just rake the soil up some to form a bed… a little higher than the rest… better drainage… Okra does not like wet feet.

Good luck !


Your okra are beautiful plants! Thank you so much for your recommended planting dates. Your dates for beans line up well with ours. When we plant the beans, we put out the Tomato starts. I have never direct seeded Tomatoes. The tomatoes get the sheltered southfacing spots by the buildings.

I started my Okra inside in the middle of April and put them out (in black pots so they have the warmest soil) by the middle of May. They are slow growing here, possibly because the weather was rainy and cold in the beginning of June.

My Okra has flowered and set pods.

This year I don’t want to eat the pods, this year is only for seed production.


So far I have harvested seed from 4 pods and eaten one pod. Looking forward to next year and trying Okra in the ground.


The original plant photo is also consistent with sunscald. It is usually not a problem on plants in ground, but often occurs with plants that are in black containers. The black plastic absorbs heat making an extra hot zone just above the soil line. In this case, I agree that it is most likely phytothora (damping off).


My Okra efforts are not rewarded in a profitable ratio for me- plants tend to be relatively feeble and crops small for the space they take. I believe they like warm soil and seem to do better if grown in pots that encourage this, but I cannot be bothered growing Okra in pots.

I get a certain amount of shade in the morning and afternoon from nearby forest trees and by being located near the base of a hollow running east-west. I have seen Okra thrive in gardens with more-or-less dawn to dusk sun here in NY and seen it sold at farm markets cheap enough to know the farmer had productive plants. Whether it is the rays of the sun my plants lose to their leaves or to the soil, I can’t know. It could be both but I do suspect it is the temp my soil gets. Now that I’ve written this I’m thinking I should try growing some through black plastic sheeting on the ground.