This genus includes species grown for their tropical flowers as well as the vegetable okra. Plants in this genus are annuals and perennials hailing from tropical Asia. Leaves are large, toothed, and lobed; the 5-petaled flowers appear in terminal racemes or singly from the leaf axils. Uses include the mixed border, bedding, and vegetable garden.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsTropical flowers in shades of red and yellow, also known as Hibiscus. Some species are grown as food crops.
CareIn the garden, grow in fertile, well-drained soil and full sun. Indoors, Abelmoschus needs full light and ample water during the growing season. Water less in winter.
PropagationSow seed in late winter or early spring at 50° to 55°F, or sow in situ in spring, after the frost-free date.
ProblemsSlugs, spider mites, and whiteflies are often problems. Bacterial diseases are common, especially in the Southeast. Root rots and powdery mildew can also be troublesome.