Southern Agrarianism and the culture of the Old South

Saving Okra Seeds

Saving seeds is one of the most basic of gardening skills, and saving okra seeds is easy and a great way to get started. The variety that I grow is Clemson Spineless.

Let the okra pod mature and dry on the plant. When you can shake it and hear the seeds rattling, it's time.

I counted the seeds in each pod. They averaged 95 seeds per pod.


  1. Ashayla

    OOPS took mine off the plant do you think they will grow if I just let them dry in the pods although they have been removed from the plant?

  2. Stephen Clay McGehee

    Okra is a pretty tough plant. If the pods are big, but just hadn’t turned brown, they will probably do just fine. Check the size of the seeds after they’re dried out. If they look about the size of the ones in the photo, I’ll bet they sprout. Let me know what happens!

    • Marlene

      Did the okra seeds dried off the the vine work for next season planting?

      • Stephen Clay McGehee

        I wish I had an answer for you, but I don’t. This year, the only okra that I planted was an experimental variety. These were seeds from some okra that a missionary found growing wild along a road in Africa. The thinking was that if it was thriving in the wild like that, then maybe it had developed a resistance to nematodes. I didn’t want to risk cross pollination, so that’s all I planted. Unfortunately, the performance was mediocre, and when I pulled up the plants at the end of the season, they had root knot as bad as any other that I’ve seen. I didn’t save any seed from that batch. Cross that one off the list.

  3. Mississipian

    Anybody ever try coffee made from okra seeds?

    p.s. Very nice site, with lots of useful information. Glad I came across it.

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      Interesting! I hadn’t heard of that before, but just did a quick web search on it. Since I’m not a coffee drinker anyway, I probably won’t try it myself, but I’ll be interested in hearing from anyone who has. Thanks for the comment!

    • GardenSanity

      I have made ‘coffee’ from the seeds. It smells great and has a nice flavor. I use it as a substitute for actual coffee in baking recipes

      • Stephen Clay McGehee

        I’ve heard of folks doing that, but never a first-hand account. Do you use it for drinking as well as for baking? Personally, drinking coffee is not something that I would voluntarily do (I much prefer tea), but many are – my wife included. Thanks for passing that along!

  4. Anthony Braxton

    Stephen Clay McGehee and The Southern Agrarian.
    My name is Anthony Braxton, and I live in Pasco, Washington. I am sorry, I don’t have a reply, but I do have a question.
    I grew Okra for the first last year from store bought bulk seeds. Sorry I didn’t know the variety but I think my harvest was a fairly successful one according to my gardening skills level.
    My question is as follows. Am I supposed to pull the okra stalks at the end of the season and replant, or will they come back again and start blooming at the beginning of the next season? I actually did pull the stalks last year. I’ve started a new bed this year from starts (Cajun Delights) and I did not want pull them again if it going to be a mistake. Please enlighten me Steven Clay McGehee and The Southern Agrarian.
    Thank you very much Stephen Clay McGehee and The Southern Agrarian for all of the helpful information that your site provides.

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      Thanks for stopping by, Anthony. You’re doing it right – you’ll want to do it just like you did last year. I’ve never intentionally left okra in the ground after the end of the season, but those times when I just didn’t get around to pulling them out, the plants just dried up and died so it wouldn’t make any difference anyway. Make sure to save some seeds from your best plants – okra are some of the easiest plants to save seeds from. Okra can form some really thick, woody stalks by the end of the growing season, and you’ll want to pull them out as soon as they stop producing. One reason for that is to remove the food source from any soil-borne pests that may start building up there.

  5. Anthony Braxton

    Thank you very much Mr. McGhee. Your kind answer gives me peace of mind and releases me from the not knowing. Even though I planted from starts this year my okra is growing kind of slowly. I think that it is due to the cold wet weather that we are experiencing. However I have already planned to enrich the soil with compost at the end of the growin season. I am gonna to rototill the compost into the soil and let the soil remain uncovered until planting season next year. I think my okra did better from seeds last year than from starts this year.
    I put down a layer of weed blocker, and then I cut holes where I decide to put the plants. The weed block prevent weed from growing up through, but lets the water penetrate the weed blocker. I am not much on fertilizer but if you have any other helpful hints that you would like to share, I would love to hear them.
    Again Mr. Stephen Clay McGehee,I would like to thank you and The Southern Agrarian for all of your help.

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      It’s all about experimenting, Anthony, and finding out what works best for you in your specific situation. Be sure to let us know how this year’s crop works out.

  6. Priscella Livingston

    Thank you for this great article. I’m originally from the south and okra is my very favorite southern vegetable but I rarely see it in the grocery stores in Nebraska. I finally have a garden of my own and I found some orka seedlings at my local nursery this year so I was excited to give them a try. Not only are they beautiful to watch grow, they were the easiest of my the vegetables in my garden to maintain. Now that you have shown me how to harvest the seeds, I’ll start my own plants next year and plan to plant a lot more than the 2 I have this year. I’ve never even seen orka seeds sold up here in Nebraska. Thank you again.

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