I love everything about my Abelmoschus (also called Muskmallow, Aibika, and Ladies Finger, to mention a few of its names) — its pale-yellow crepey petals, deep crimson center, hairy seed pods, and large, deeply-lobed leaves. Even the fact that it’s of the okra family and its leaves, petals, and seeds are edible fascinates me, although I have no plans to make a meal of my favorite flower! I can’t recall ever being so enamored with a plant.
When I purchased my plant at a farmer’s market in May, it was about two feet high with two blossoms. Although Abelmoschus may survive the winter in my area of Florida, I chose to raise it in a container, allowing me to take it indoor when a frost threatens. I love Abel (as I call my plant) too much to let it die in the ground!
A month later, Abel is four feet tall with multiple blooms and seed pods. Typically, the blooms only last a day, but fortunately, the plant is prolific enough that blossoms are nearly always present. Its large but delicate flowers fold inward as night approaches.