So many people are only familiar with Okra simply because of its use in cooking, like African dishes or other kitchen uses, but beyond that, there is a lot to know about Okra.
It is an annual flowering plant that produces edible fruits and thrives in USDA hardiness zones. It is a perfect plant for both indoor and outdoor gardening.
However, certain plants resembles Okra to the extent that you need a second look before seeing through their deceptions not to be okra plants, especially given that there are several okra varieties to consider.
In this article, we will be looking at some of the beautiful plants that look like okra. Some of the most significant features differentiating Okra from these plants are trademark taste, flavors, and size. Other than these features, they all resemble Okra.
Let’s get started!
What Is Okra?
Botanically called Abelmoschus esculentus, Okra is an annual blooming plant that produces fruits. Invariably, it is the seed pod of the okra plant (Abelmoschus esculentus), containing little white seeds. It is also called Lady’s Fingers because of its long, thin, tubelike shape.
Originating from Ethiopia, Okra was introduced to North America by slaves and immigrants on their arrival hundreds of years ago.
Years later, it has become popular and grown by some, including leading growers like India, Sudan, Pakistan, Benin, Mexico, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Ghana, etc. Meanwhile, this plant thrives in hot and humid conditions.
Okra plant can also grow in Florida and other southeastern states, but it is more significant in Southern, Caribbean, and Indian cuisines in making gumbo and stews. It is among those foods that you can either love or hate. Haters blame it for being too slimy and silky when cooked, which is why lovers enjoy it. Okra has several uses, but enough said!
Most Common Plants That Look Like Okra
1. Baby Bubba
Baby Bubba is one of the okra varieties that resemble the main okra plant and are widely available in garden centers. This plant stands out because of its size and suitability for growing in containers and small garden areas.
Baby Bubba is a giant plant that can grow as tall as 3 to 4 feet and 24 inches wide. It produces dark green berries about 3 inches long and can take 53 days to mature fully; hence, it makes an excellent option for colder regions with shorter growing seasons.
2. Confederate Rose (Mallow spp.)
What’s all this fuss of tropical hibiscus when you find many more straightforward and almost edible plants for your gardens? One of these plants is called Confederate Rose, an okra-like bushy perennial that is the size of a fig tree.
It is a beautiful perennial that displays large double pink pompoms. The confederate rose is also called cotton leaf mallow and is very easy to root with the correct procedures.
Dip one-foot-long, finger-diameter cuttings into a bottle containing three or four inches of water and grow it during the spring. Please give them an excellent care routine, and you are good to go.
3. Texas Star Hibiscus
Texas Star Hibiscus is another variety that looks like Okra. It is a popular Swamp Hibiscus plant since you’ll often find it around roadside ditches.
This plant might not be popular amongst indoor planters, but you can deny that it is eye-catching with its giant flowers, which come in white or pink color. The beautiful colors are why it is also called Scarlet Rose Mallows.
4. Rose Of Sharon (Althaea spp.)
You must have heard of Rose of Sharon, one of the most popularly grown garden hibiscuses. It is a hardy shrub that produces summer flowers with beautiful colors ranging from pink, white, and lavender to blue.
This old garden antique can survive severe drought, heat, and cold and is envisaged to replace crape myrtles.
5. French Hollyhock
French Hollyhock is one of the most popular okra look-alikes and varieties featuring tiny purple-striped lavender flowers. This species is hardy to winter seasons. In other words, as long as over-wintering is concerned, the French Hollyhock can survive it.
It has varieties like the regular giant hollyhocks, which dislike summers; hence, it will be perfect as late summer or fall annual plants.
If you are looking for the most identical okra look-alike, you have found it in Cocklebur. Without a closer look, you will think it is an okra, but it is not.
Cocklebur is a garden weed that grows into shape, producing leaves that look like those of okra plants, and also produces seed; no wonder it is a perfect companion plant for Okra or even sweet potato plants.
Blondy is another variety that produces seeds in several garden centers at affordable prices, with most of the seeds usually open-pollinated.
Its dwarf varieties can grow to about 4 feet and produce 3 inches of pale green, spineless pods in about 50 days. It is perfect for colder regions with short growing seasons, patio containers, and tight spaces.
8. Heirloom Burgundy
Burgundy specie comes in several varieties, including Heirloom species. It could grow up to 5 feet tall and almost 48 inches wide.
Heirloom burgundy features gorgeous green leaves that contrast with burgundy stalks and 6 to 8 inches fruit, which makes it a lovely decorative plant. This plant tends to become established in 49 to 60 days.
9. Cajun Delight
Cajun Delight is a hybrid okra look-alike variety perfect for a short growing season in colder regions. It takes the plant up to 50 to 55 days to fully mature, and it can grow to a maximum height of 4 feet. It produces dark green pods 3 to 5 inches long and partially curved.
10. Silver Queen
If you are looking for a perfect houseplant that will add an outdoor vibe to your indoor collections, Silver Queen is an excellent option. It is an okra variety that produces very light green pods almost resembling precious silver, hence the name.
11. Clemson Spineless
Clemson Spineless is famous for being an industry standard and the most common variety. In 1939, it won an All-America Selections award and has remained a favorite. This plant can grow up to 4 feet tall and spread about 48 inches wide.
It doesn’t take time to mature and will be ready for harvest in 55 to 60 days. Clemson spineless is almost spineless, partially curved dark green pods, which can reach up to 9 inches tall. It requires adequate care and maintenance to stay healthy and produce lovely berries.
12. Cow Horn
Are you a gardener or plant enthusiast living in the South, a place with a growing season? Or are you looking for a decorative conversation beginner? You can consider Cow Horn a perfect choice to offer you much more.
Cow horn is a giant heirloom variety that matures in 90 days, can reach up to 14 feet, and bears big, curved pods up to 14 inches tall.
13. Emerald Heirloom
Emerald Heirloom is a classic variety that looks like an okra plant. Campbell’s Soup Company introduced it during the 1950s, and it can reach about 8 feet tall.
It produces edible, dark green, incredibly straight fruits reaching 7 inches tall. You can expect the Emerald to mature in up to 60 days.
14. Go Big
Are you planning to grow a plant with lots of edible fruits? You can trust Go Big variety to provide you with an abundance of fruits and stunning decorative specimens.
It is a giant plant reaching about 7 feet and 5 feet wide. It also produces dark green pods that are 7 inches long and will be ready for harvest in 60 to 65 days.
15. Louisiana Green Velvet
Louisiana Green Velvet is an heirloom species that can grow up to 8 feet tall and produce about 8 inches of dark green, spineless pods. It is an incredibly huge plant that produces many berries and looks perfect in the landscape. It will take about 65 days to mature fully.
The plants mentioned above are okra varieties and look-alikes that you can choose to add to your indoor collections.
Even though they are identical in appearance, you can find significant differences between these plants and okra plants. For instance, they can be distinguished by their tastes, flavors, and sizes.