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Abelmoschus esculentus, commonly known as okra, is a flowering plant that is native to Africa. It is a large, fast-growing shrub, growing 5-10 ft tall and producing beautiful white, off-white, and yellow-orange flowers. This plant runs on a shorter lifecycle than most other shrubs, taking only 120-165 days to mature.
Okra does best when grown in warm climates, where it can receive strong direct sunlight, and regular watering. It has adapted over time to thrive in USDA hardiness zones 9-11. As it is a climacteric crop, it benefits greatly from warm, humid days and cool nights.
Regular water needs will depend on the local climate, but okra requires moderate regular watering, even during seasonal to periodical droughts. Soil with a high drainage level and well-aerated conditions will help the plant thrive and reach its full potential.
The plant produces striking large edible seeds within green, finger-like pods. Young, tender okra can be used in stir-fry or soups either blanched or pickled, and raw okra is often used in cold salads. When cooked, it is similar to asparagus. In terms of taste, some describe it to be similar to a combination of mushrooms and eggplant.
Okra is packed with nutrients, including vitamin C, calcium, and potassium. It also contains a healthy amount of dietary fibers, which can help maintain healthy digestion. Health benefits of okra also includes its ability to strengthen the immune system, lower stress, and improve skin and hair health.
In terms of yield, the plant can produce up to few hundred pods per plant, depending on the variety and local climate conditions. Therefore, okra is a great choice whether you are looking to have some fresh fruits in your household.
Valued as an ornamental plant, due to its colorful and attractive flowers. The leaves are alternate, rough, hairy, heart-shaped or 3-5 lobed with serrated margins. Flowers are Hibiscus-like.
Cultivated for aromatic oil from seeds. Young leaves, shoots, and unripe seedpods are cooked as a vegetable.
A.hakeifolia is a medium, much-branched upright shrub reaching about 10Ft in height. The leaves are dark green, glabrous, comprised of very narrow linear segments. The individual lobes make the foliage 'needle-like'. The plant produces an abundance of blooms each season. There are mauve, yellow and pink forms. Like its relative, Hibiscus, the individual flowers last only 1-2 days but new flowers continue to open over a long period, generally from November until March. The blooms are 2" to 6" long, tubular in shape, not opening widely and they usually have a dark red central spot. As A.hakeifolia is a desert plant, it is well suited to a warm, dry climate. It is intolerant of bad drainage but is adaptable and sufficiently hardy in cool moist climates such as south-eastern Australia. It is less hardy than Alyogyne huegelii in climates such as the subtropics with wet summers. A well-drained sunny spot is ideal although plants will grow in semi-shade. Plants perform best when they receive sunlight for most of the day and have some wind protection as large plants are subject to wind damage. The plant may develop into a well-shaped shrub without any need for pruning but it can be pruned to improve the shape if desired. A.hakeifolia tolerates mild frosts but some protection may be required from heavier frosts. Propagation from seed is relatively easy and no special pretreatment is needed. Cuttings also strike readily.
Alyogyne huegelii is in cultivation, primarily in Australia and the SW USA, but also in Europe, where it is grown as a conservatory plant. In the former areas is a hardy and adaptable shrub, which is lime, drought and frost tolerant. It requires a well drained soil, but can be grown in sand, loam or clay soils. It can be grown in full sun, or in partial shade. Protection from strong winds is desirable. It is described as suitable for USDA zones 9 and 10, though in wet areas it may be necessary to grow it in containers, or to graft it onto other species of Hibiscus. Although it has a degree of frost tolerance, and has been reported to tolerate 12C of frost for short periods without permanent damage, it is not be suitable for growing in the ground in temperate climates, either due to longer and deeper periods of frost in continental climates, or to winter wet in maritime climates. In such climates there is the option of growing the plant as a conservatory or patio shrub. In mild areas growth as a wall shrub with a sheltered sunny aspect and a well drained soil it may survive for a few years, but will probably be seen off by the first cold or wet winter. Little watering is required, especially if the plants are well mulched. Once established supplementary watering should be required only during extremely dry condition, but is tolerated provided the plants are in a well-drained position.
This spectacular hibiscus has attractive maple shaped dark red foliage and mauve flowers. Leaves are edible, full of vitamin C, and great for salads. It forms an upright bush, blooms late in the season. Flower is very similar to Hibiscus cannabinus.
Hibiscus arnottianus is a Hawaiian endemic plant with one endangered subspecies. It is native to the moist to wet forests of the mountains of Moloka'i and O'ahu.
The leaves are oval with a smooth upper surface and smooth or slightly toothed edges. The leaves are 4 to 6 inches long and often have red veins and stems. The single white flowers are pinwheel shaped, up to 4 inches across, and borne at the ends of the branches. Hibiscus arnottianus flowers usually have a weak fragrance. But, flowers have the most scent in the early morning when flowers open or in the early evening before they close.
Hibiscus Aurora is widely used as an ornamental in parks and gardens around the world. It is a large shrub that grows 5 to 10 feet tall and can also be grown as a small shrub between 2 to 5 feet tall, depending on the size of the container and the climate where it is grown. It has bright, red, crimson and vinous flowers that bloom throughout the summer.
Hibiscus Aurora prefers to be placed in a sunny location and does best when grown in full sun, but will tolerate semi-shade as long as there is sufficient sunlight for proper flowering. Hibiscus Aurora enjoys regular watering and a moderate amount of fertility. Mulching around the base of the plant is a great way to help keep the soil moist and cool during hot summer days.
When grown in areas with cold winters, Hibiscus Aurora should be planted in a pot and brought indoors to stay warm and dry throughout the cold season. It needs plenty of sunlight and fertilizer to stay healthy during the winter months and will shed leaves when inside. The pot should be placed near a sunny window, watered regularly and kept in a well-drained potting soil.
Hibiscus Aurora is hardy in USDA Zones 9-11 and can be grown in slightly colder climates with proper care. Its bright attractive flowers will be a stunning addition to any landscape or garden, and its vining habit makes an excellent cover for trellises and arbors.
Beautiful double flower cultivar with a dwarf habit. Nice bushy plant, good for potting culture. Blooms year round. Flowers 4" wide.
This large shrub grows 5-10 feet (1.5-3 m) tall and wide. It has large, deeply serrated, palmate leaves and blooms in mid to late summer. The magnificent red, crimson, or vinous flowers have irregularly shaped petals and are very attractive to jellyfish, butterflies and hummingbirds.
Scarlet Hibiscus prefers full sun in warm climates and semi-shade in cooler regions. It is a moderately drought tolerant plant once established, although it does best with regular water. In cold climates it is best grown in a container which can be moved indoors in cold winters. In these areas, the container should be kept well drained, and the soil lightly moistened, ensuring that the pot does not dry out completely.
This shrub is best propagated from cuttings of perennial wood taken in spring or early summer; however, healthy plants can be readily purchased from garden centers. Once established, scarlet hibiscus is a low-maintenance plant that is pest- and disease-free. It is also an excellent choice for naturalizing as it easily self-propagates.