Growing okra plant in your backyard is both enjoyable and rewardable.
But soon it can be worrying when you must deal with gardening issues like discolored foliage, falling of leaves and yellow spots.
Each growing stage of okra has their own fair share of challenges, but okra leaves turning yellow seems to be the most difficult of them.
Choosing okra to grow in your house is apt because it is easy to grow. However, certain problems repeatedly often overrule this assumption.
In Short: Overwatering, underwatering, inadequate sunlight, poor quality of soil, low levels of nutrients or pests can cause okra plant leaves to turn yellow.
We feel bad to be the bearers of this unwelcome news, but if you notice okra plant with discolored leaves, it can indicate a more severe problem than you are expecting.
This is due to the causes and reasons that underlie them to turn yellow.
There is not one, but many of them. Understanding the causes that lie behind the yellowing of your okra leaves is important because it turns out to be the first step towards creating a successful prevention and treatment plan.
In the following article, we will tell you why are your okra plant leaves turning yellow, how to stop the yellowing of okra plants, and how to take care of your okra plants in the right way, and much more.
Why Are My Okra Plant Leaves Turning Yellow: Causes & Tips
Before we proceed to knowing the causes that contribute to yellowing of Okra plant leaves, let us first revisit the reasons as to why this condition is considered dangerous.
Yellowed leaves of okra plants indicate the fact that the leaves do not have enough chlorophyll to sustain their lives.
Going back to the basics of class 6th, you will know that chlorophyll is a catalyst that takes the incoming sunlight and converts it into an edible form for the plants.
What would happen if you were not given food for a long time?
The ability to stand strong against diseases and other bacteria gradually reduces to a point where you are no longer capable of surviving. Something similar happens to Okra plants.
The leaves become susceptible to pests and diseases, thus declining its natural resistance or immunity to fight, consequently leading to its death.
While some causes of yellowing okra leaves can be quickly remedied, thus saving them before dawn, other causes require a professional or long-term intervention that can be a hassle for gardeners.
Here are some of the most frequent causes for your okra plant leaves turning yellow.
Identify the most suitable of them according to the condition of your plants and choose an appropriate treatment plant eventually.
Also Read: How Much Water Does Radish Need?
Poor Quality of Soil
Soil or a potting mixture forms the bed of a plant. They stay there for their entire life.
It is especially important to treat your plant right, and the first step to do so is to provide a proper and high quality soil for your okra plant that is nutrient-dense.
The soil in which your plant stays directly affects the roots of your plant, causing immediate root issues. Enriching your plant with a superior quality soil involves setting the right temperature, containing enough nutrients, having an excellent drainage property, and not being too arid or soggy.
Okra plants cannot tolerate being planted in soils with a temperature that is colder than 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you are having troubles in arranging the temperature of your soil, try waiting for a week after the last frost.
A period of 7-10 days (about 1 and a half weeks) would give enough time to your potting mixture or soil to return to its normal temperature and stay warm.
Not every plant would like to sit in water. Excess watering is common among new gardeners.
Overwatering can be due to excess or repeated watering or because of choosing wrong potting soil. Soil that fails to drain excess water often results in this issue.
Soil that does not allow for enough water to drain out causes root rot, which in turn makes the leaves yellow.
Add perlite or peat moss to your potting mixture to enhance its drainage properties.
If you cannot arrange the materials, try creating small holes in your plant container to facilitate drainage.
Based on climatic conditions in your region, you must regulate watering frequency.
More water, adequate sunlight and good amount of fertilizers will reward you with quality yield.
But, when on leaving for vacation or if your growing medium fail to retain moisture, then your okra plant may dry.
Drooping and yellow leaves are common signs of underwatering.
To revive, you must water generously and ensure that the soil stays moist all the time.
Mulching is one of the best ways to lock the moisture for longer period.
Must Read: Why Bitter Gourd Leaves Turning Yellow?
Lack of Sunlight
As a gardener you must be aware of the importance of sunlight for growing vegetable plants.
When your okra plant doesn’t get enough sunlight for extended period of time, then eventually leaves will lose their color and turn pale green to yellow and white. (1)
Okra plant need 5-6 hours of direct sunlight.
In case if you’re growing okra in a container, shift the location to expose okra plant to sunlight.
Also Read: How Long Does it Take for Okra to Grow?
Check for soil for not having enough nutrient content. While the number of micronutrients can vary from one number to another, this should not happen with a major macronutrient, that is, nitrogen.
If your okra plant leaves have started to turn yellow suddenly, try adding substitutes of nitrogen in your soil. You can also spray a nitrogen rich fertilizer on your okra plant to remove the deficiency.
Problems surrounding the yellowing of okra plant leaves can also be treated if the soil is lacking organic material.
A potting mixture that does not have room for sufficient organic material tends to create growth problems for the okra plant, thus contributing to yellow leaves.
To get the best returns from the soil that you are using and to prevent yellowing of your okra plant leaves, it is especially important to cultivate the ground as deeply as you can.
It is suggested to turn over the top most 7 to 11 inches of the soil properly, before you plant your okras in the soil. This ensures maximum growth and a smooth flow of nutrients from the soil to the leaves.
Check this Article: List Vegetables that Can be Grown All Year Round
Fungal diseases, commonly known as fungal infection or fungus, is one of the most obvious reasons for your okra plant leaves turning yellow.
The okra plant, with or without enough food, shows absolutely zero resistance to fungal infections caused by verticillium wilt. Thus, it can be safely concluded that okra plants are 100% vulnerable to fall in the trap of fungal infections.
Two symptoms inform us that the plant has been attacked by a fungus. One, the roots start to become excessively weak. Second, the plant that stands above the ground, including stems and leaves, turns yellow.
Also Read: How to Save Tulsi Plant from Dying?
Fungus gets attracted by soil that has poor drainage quality, or soil that is soggy, or the presence of root rots. While one needs to be especially careful during the monsoon season, the care of plants should not be underestimated at other parts of the year.
If you suspect your plant of being a victim of fungus, you can prevent the yellowing of leaves and further damage to the roots by constantly checking the lower side of the leaves to show symptoms.
If not taken care of, yellowing of leaves due to fungal infection will soon turn into the death of these leaves. So, how to treat the infection?
The sad news is that there have been no traces of a chemical treatment that can treat the fungal infection caused on your okra plant by a verticillium wilt. You cannot use any insecticides, pesticides, or spot treatment options on the leaves of your plant and expect it to show results, because it will not.
If you want to reduce the intensity of how badly a verticillium wilt affects your plant, you can start by solarizing the top side of your okra plant leaves.
Note that you should completely cover the top layer of your leaves by a plastic sheet before heating it.
A consistent approach should reduce the negative impact of the fungal infection on your plant to a larger extent.
Also Read: White Spots on Spinach Leaves
Nematodes can be understood as a type of roundworms that bore deep into the roots of the plant and damage it from the inside.
A major challenge that these roundworms produce is that they are significantly small and can be difficult to spot.
As the wounds of the plant begin to heal, the plant starts forming unusual conditions like galls or root-knots. These conditions invite the presence and unfortunate breeding of nematodes.
As the plant root becomes affected by nematodes, they significantly lose the power to extract water and other nutrients from the soil.
Their inability to fetch sufficient water renders the plant a yellow color, indicating that there is no food left.
If not observed in its earliest stage, okra plants can die after excessive yellowing. Researchers have been trying to formulate a chemical treatment that is proven effective against the breeding of roundworms like nematodes.
No treatment plan has yet been approved by professionals to treat nematodes on your okra plants. However, what you can do is try and control the spread of nematodes from one okra plant to another.
One way to practice the prevention and reduction of the effects of nematodes on your okra plants is through crop rotation. Planting your newly bought okra plants after the yield of other plants including, but not limited to, corn, brassicas, or onions, is an effective way to keep nematodes away from your plants.
Another way is to turn the plants under the cover cropping of marigolds. It keeps all types of roundworms away until the marigolds are frequently replaced with new ones.
Lastly, if you feel that the planting conditions of your okra plant are far away from inviting nematodes, you can plan and keep your plants healthier to reduce the possibilities of a nematode attack completely. One way is to add humus to the potting mixture.
Tilling the ground frequently with the right equipment and modern-day technology is a widely recognized way of maintaining good plant health and keeping worms at bay.
Perpetuating insects cause insect problems in the okra plant, thus avoiding them of the much-needed nutrition and water requirements.
In the case of okra plants, sucking insects are the ones that attack them. These insects are the key reasons why the plant has a deficiency of vigor. If not paid enough attention to, they die immediately.
Sucking insects differ in the kind they look and attack. Red spider mites are the most common insects found on okra plants. They suck on the plant’s sap, causing a yellow or whitish uneven pattern on the leaves.
If the attack of insects is intense and the plant cannot bear it, it causes the shriveling and browning of leaves at the edges, causing its death.
Aphids are another type of insects that focus on extracting the nourishment and hydrating properties of the plant by sucking from leaves as well as stems. The lack of water causes the yellowing of okra plant leaves.
If you suspect your okra plant of any underlying insect problem, it is advised to carefully inspect the bottom side of the leaves and look for a usual pattern on the same. Any abnormalities reveal that you should start seeking treatment plans immediately.
There are of course not just 4 reasons for your yellowed okra plant leaves, but they definitely constitute about 80 percent of those reasons.
Addressing the causes leads us to develop a comprehensive approach towards taking proper care of your okra plants. If followed seriously, they can also cure other perpetuating problems that come around every now and then.
Other causes for the okra plant leaves turning yellow include too much or too little sunlight, overwatering, underwatering, and not following a good fertilizer.
Okra plants come in the category of those forgiving houseplants that revive their growth if given ample amount of care at the right time.