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Varieties of Okra: A Comprehensive Guide to Cultivating Diversity and Flavor

From vibrant varieties to cultivating diverse flavors, discover everything you need to know for a good harvest.

Shivam Dwivedi
Varieties of Okra: A Comprehensive Guide to Cultivating Diversity and Flavor
Varieties of Okra: A Comprehensive Guide to Cultivating Diversity and Flavor

Okra, also known as ladyfinger or bhindi, is a nutritious vegetable widely cultivated in the tropics and subtropics. In India, it holds the fifth position among vegetable crops, following closely behind tomatoes. Loved for its tender fruits that enhance the flavor of curries and soups, okra is not only a culinary delight but also a nutritional powerhouse, rich in vitamins A and B, protein, and minerals. Additionally, it is valued for its iodine content, making it beneficial for addressing goitre concerns.

Land Preparation for Okra:

The field should undergo thorough plowing 2-3 times to achieve a fine tilth. Ridges, furrows, or raised beds are then prepared, and seeds are dibbled along the sides of ridges or on raised beds. Soaking seeds for 6-12 hours before sowing can enhance germination, especially during the summer season.


During the summer season, when vegetative growth is relatively limited, seeds are sown at a closer spacing of 45 x 20 cm or even less. The recommended seed rate is 18-20 kg/ha. In the kharif season, the plant exhibits vigorous growth with increased branching, thus seeds are sown at a wider spacing of 60 x 30 cm for branching types and 45 x 30 cm for non-branching types. The recommended seed rate for kharif is 8-10 kg/ha.

Varieties of Okra:

Let's explore some of the noteworthy varieties that grow in Indian agricultural landscapes:

1. Punjab Padmini

Punjab Padmini, a hybrid variety released by PAU, Ludhiana, is the result of meticulous selection from an interspecific cross between A. esculentus and A. manihot ssp manihot. This cultivar exhibits rapid plant growth, reaching heights of 180-200 cm, with evident pigmentation on the stem, shoots, petiole, and basal lower veins of leaves. The fruits, measuring 15-20 cm in length, are dark green and feature 5 ridges. Notably, Punjab Padmini showcases resistance to Yellow Vein Mosaic Virus (YVMV) and tolerance to jassids and cotton bollworm, making it a promising option for okra cultivation with a yield potential of 10-12.5 t/ha of green

2. Prabhani Kranti

A variety resistant to the yellow vein mosaic virus (YVMV), developed at Marathwada Agricultural University in Parbhani, resulted from crossbreeding between A. esculentus cv. Pusa Sawani and A. manihot. These plants usually exhibit a single stem, tall stature, and dark green foliage. The initial fruit typically emerges on the 5th to 6th node. Fruits of this variety are dark green, slender, 5-ridged, with a long beak, yielding an average of 8.5 to 9 tons per hectare.

3. Arka Anamika

This variety is a hybrid selection resulting from crossing A. esculentum and A. tetraphyllus. The plants are tall and upright, with slight pigmentation on the stem and lower leaves. The first harvest usually occurs after 55 days. While it thrives in southern regions, its performance in northern states is relatively lower. Remarkably, it is resistant to Yellow Vein Mosaic Virus (YVMV) and yields approximately 12.5 tons per hectare.

4. Arka Abhay

A hybrid resulting from crossing Abelmoschus esculentus (IIHR 20-31) with A. manihot spp. Tetraphyllus, followed by backcrossing, has been developed. These plants are tall and well-branched, bearing lush green, tender, elongated fruits. Fruit production occurs in two flushes, displaying a purple pigment on both sides of the petal base. The stems are green with a purple hue. The fruits are spine-free, possess a delicate aroma, and exhibit excellent keeping and cooking qualities. Notably, this variety demonstrates resistance to Yellow Vein Mosaic Virus (YVMV) and matures within 120 to 130 days, yielding approximately 18 tons per hectare.

5. Hisar Unnat (HRB-55)

Bred by HAU, Hisar, by crossing Selection 12-2 with Parbhani Kranti, this strain demonstrates resistance to Yellow Vein Mosaic Virus (YVMV). It matures early, usually yielding the first harvest within 46-47 days of planting. With a robust yield potential of 12 to 13 tons per hectare, its fruits achieve full maturity at lengths of 15-16 cm, characterized by five distinct ridges. Remarkably, it thrives in both summer and rainy seasons.

6. Pusa Sawani

Pusa Sawani, released by IARI, is widely recognized as the nation's favorite okra variety. Originating from a cross between IC 1542 and Pusa Makhmali, this hybrid produces sleek, dark green fruits with five ridges, reaching maturity within 45-50 days from sowing. The first fruit typically appears on the 5th to 7th node. Known for its versatility, it thrives in both spring-summer and Kharif seasons, displaying reduced sensitivity to temperature fluctuations. Boasting an impressive yield averaging around 12-12.5 tons per hectare, it remains a top choice among growers nationwide.

Water Management:

Effective water management is crucial for optimizing plant growth, fruit size, and yield, particularly during the critical flowering and fruiting stages. Upon sowing, the field is promptly irrigated, with subsequent irrigation scheduled at regular intervals based on soil texture and prevailing climatic conditions.

Weed Management:

Controlling weed growth until the crop canopy fully develops is essential. This is achieved through frequent hoeing, weeding, and earthing up practices. The use of herbicides such as Lasso (2 kg a.i./ha), fluchloralin (1.5 kg/ha), or Metolachlor (1.0 kg a.i./ha), coupled with one round of hand weeding at 45 days after sowing, has proven to be highly effective and economically feasible, as demonstrated in All India coordinated trials.

The diverse array of okra varieties available in India caters to different agro-climatic conditions and preferences of growers. Whether it's Punjab Padmini's resilience or Pusa Sawani's versatility, each variety brings its unique characteristics to the table, contributing to the vibrancy of India's agricultural landscape.

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