Okra plants are known as ladies’ fingers and they will grow in just a fertile loam and ordinary garden soil but you do need to grow them with the best companion plants. While this plant is very easy to grow, companion planting it with plants of similar nutrient requirements can help it thrive.
Another thing you should know about the okra plant is that it is huge and need some spacing. It can however offer some protection to delicate flowering plants.
Although there is no scientific analysis to back up the benefits of companion planting, the results of this have been seen by farmers and gardeners for centuries. There is not much data on companion planting but you can be sure it works.
Some of the best companion plants to grow with okra are peppers, cucumbers, basil, melons, radish, zinnias, sunflower, peas, and lettuce. Okra is a warm-season vegetable that will do well with other vegetables and flowers. It is not a good idea to plant okra with sweet potato and squash.
Planting okra with the right plants can help deter some pests and also prevent the dangers of blights. Okra is an easy vegetable plant to grow and you can either hate it or like it. Check out the list of companion plants listed in this article and what not to grow with it as well.
Why Companion Planting?
Companion planting is gardening that has been around for centuries, it is meant to prevent and protect your plants from pests, blight, and some other plant problems.
Companion planting involves growing crops that can be of mutual benefit to each other together. This can help boost their growth, repel pests and improve the flavor of the crops as well.
Companion planting allows your crops to work together and boost production and soil nutrients. However, if your plants are not compatible, it can stunt their growth or interfere with their health.
10 Okra Companion Plants
You have to put the needs of your okra plant and the other plant you have selected into consideration below growing them together. It can however be quite stressful trying to figure out what plant will help okra thrive and grow well too. There are lots of plants out there and below are the best ones to grow with okra.
Basil and okra can naturally support each other which makes them great companions. Basil has a strong fragrance that can help deter some of the pests that are attracted to okra while okra in turn can grow taller and provide shade to basil especially when the weather is hot. Basil can help repel pests such as stinkbugs, aphids, whiteflies, and flea beetles.
Flowering plants are good for okra and sunflower specifically makes a great companion plant. Sunflowers can increase pollination in the area, they can attract pollinators that can visit your okra and encourage healthy growth. It can also reduce the chance of diseases and damage to your okra while okra in turn is a windbreaker for delicate flowers.
Lettuce is a great companion plant for many crops. Okra is also a good companion plant for okra since its root is shallow hence it won’t compete with your lettuce for nutrients. Okra can also grow as tall as 6 feet which will offer your lettuce shade during the hotter and cooler weather. Lettuce is a great vegetable to have in your garden too.
Radish is a spring crop that will love being planted near okra. You can plant okra and radish 3 to 4 inches together in a row. these two pair nicely together and you can have another of their companion planted close as well. Radish seedling will loosen the soil as the root grows which in turn lets the root of okra grow strong and deep.
Time to have some cucumbers grown in your vegetable garden. Cucumber is a great companion to many vegetables and it will marry well with okra. Cucumber is a cool-weather crop that loves lots of water and okra has the same requirement so they should do well together. However, don’t plant them too close, cucumbers need full sun and okra might prevent that.
Just like cucumbers, melons need lots of water and sun so planting them with okra should be a problem provided there is enough spacing. You can plant melons on the east side of the okra for the morning sun or on the west for the afternoon. Just leave enough room for the vine to run and get sun as well.
Zinnias are really attractive flowering plants and they are excellent companions for okra. Zinnias are late summer bloomers but they can attract pollinators to your garden that will visit the okra flowers and in turn results in a large plump pod.
Pepper is not an easy plant to pair but it is great for okra. Cabbage worms like feeding on young okra foliage but planting pepper with it can help draw those pests away. Pepper plants can help repel cabbage worms and other annoying bugs that can be destructive to your okra.
Just like peppers, eggplants are nightshade vegetables that will be of mutual benefit to okra. Eggplant and okra can derive nutrients from each other, they both release nutrients into the soil which help them grow stronger and healthier. Both are thirsty crops too.
Peas naturally add nitrogen to the soil which can be great for your okra and overall soil health.
Okra plants and peas are excellent companions, the okra seedlings won’t crowd the peas if planted after the completion of the okra season and it allows you to harvest the peas while the okra is still growing.
What Not to Grow Near Okra
Okra might be an easy plant to care for but it is also susceptible to pests and diseases if left uncared for. Okra will not tolerate drought conditions and well-drained soil is important for it, hence why you have to choose companion plants with similar requirements.
Okra makes a good companion with quite a lot of plants but below are 2 that are not to grow near okra.
While squash is a great plant to have in your garden, do not plant it in proximity to okra. Squash can increase nematodes in the soil which can help it grow but it won’t do any good for okra, rather it will feed on it.
2. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are very similar to okra, they can increase the number of nematodes in the garden as well and are best planted with crops that can repel these pests. While nematodes can be beneficial to some garden crops, they will feed on okra instead so best to keep it far away.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does okra grow back every year?
Okra plant can be grown as an annual plant in some regions but it is also a perennial in dry tropical regions. It becomes annual in more temperate regions and will have to be replanted every year, it does love summer heat and is often grown as perennial if there is no frost to worry about.
Does okra need full sun?
Yes, okra needs full sun and it thrives best in the full hot sun. Regular watering is also needed for okra during flowering and pod development, it does well in moist soil that is rich in organic matter.
Can okra be planted close together?
If the purpose of growing okra is to harvest the pod, you will have to plant it further apart but if it is for growing sprouts, you can plant it close together.
Can okra grow in pots?
Yes, okra can grow in pots. To grow okra in pots, start with a large pot at least 10 to 12 inches in diameter. Ensure the pot has a good drainage hole and is best to go with wide bottom pots as it can become heavy when okra starts growing.
Okra makes a good companion plant and when choosing a plant to grow alongside it, choose early cool weather crops.
The okra plant has sturdy stems that allow it to offer protection to some delicate plants, which is why it is also a great companion for flowers. Vegetables and herbs do well with okra too.