Uniformly-sized seeds of Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench were divided into two batches. One batch was imbibed for 24 h, followed immediately by air-drying to 50% of its moisture content ('Hardened'). The other batch was imbibed for the same duration without subsequent air-drying ('Non-hardened'). Half the uniformly-sized seedlings of each batch was grown under daily watering conditions (non-stress), and the other half was grown under intermittent watering conditions (stress). The germination rate was higher in the 'hardened' seeds than in the 'non-hardened' seeds. The relative water content (RWC) of the leaves of the 'hardened' plants was significantly greater than that of the 'non-hardened' plants under the stress and non-stress soil moisture conditions. The pre-sowing 'hydration-dehydration' of seeds significantly enhanced the overall vegetative growth and fruit yield, especially under normal watering.