These Companion Plants Will Help Your Okra Thrive

From radishes to sunflowers, these companion plants will help your okra crop reach its full potential.

Photo: Getty Images

Whether you are whipping up a batch of classic New Orleans-style gumbo, want to pop some okra in your air fryer, add it to a tuna roll (trust us on this), or add it to your shrimp po'boy, it's easy to use okra in the kitchen.

Okra is also a breeze to grow in Southern gardens. The plant is native to Africa, so the South's summers and dry weather are no problem. Throw some of these beauties in your garden and wait for them to erupt in flowers that will soon transform into those edible seedpods that make the perfect addition to Southern tables throughout summer and fall.

To make sure your okra thrives, put it in the garden alongside plants that will repel bugs, help prevent disease, and help the okra reach its full potential. If your okra crop is exceptionally successful and you find that you have more than you can eat, don't forget it's easy to pickle or freeze any extra to keep all-year round.

The good news is that okra grows well next to most things. That said, there are some plants that it does better next to more so than others.


Radish seedlings work well near okra because the roots loosen up the soil as they grow, making it easier in turn for okra to grow and thrive.


As long as cucumbers have enough space to spread out in the sun, they make excellent companions for okra because they both love a lot of water and rich soil.


Cabbage worms hate pepper plants, which is good news for okra. Those worms may be named for cabbage, but they love okra, too, and will destroy a crop. Put a few pepper plants nearby and those pesky worms will stay away.


You should place pea sprouts between okra seedlings because they produce vegetables at different times so they don't compete for space or resources. That means by the time the okra is spreading and sprouting, the peas will have already produced their crops.


This fruit loves sun and water, making it an excellent option to plant alongside okra. Plus the height difference means okra can shade the vines from the full sun.


Okra is a great next door neighbor for lettuce or any tender-leaved plant because it grows tall enough that it can provide shade from the summer heat.


This herb's strong smell can repel some of the pests that like to turn okra into a buffet. Specifically, stink bugs, aphids, and spider mites aren't big fans of basil's aroma.


Pretty blooms make great companions for okra. Not only do they look gorgeous, but brightly-colored flowers like sunflowers, zinnias, and cosmos can attract pollinators, which will visit the okra blooms, too. That's good news for okra lovers, because it usually results in large, plump pods, which means more okra to go around.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles