10 Best Companion Plants for Okra

Keep weeds and pests out of your vegetable garden with these top companion plants for okra.

flowering okra plant

Jay Wilde

Roasted, fried, or cooked into a flavorful gumbo, okra is a delicious and versatile vegetable that can be used in countless recipes. Sure, you can purchase okra at the grocery store, but if you want to have the tastiest okra around, you need to grow your own. Okra is a low maintenance plant that beginning gardeners can have success with, but it’s even easier to grow if you keep the right companion plants for okra in your garden too.

Companion planting is becoming increasingly popular today because it offers so many advantages to the home gardener. The right companion plants can keep pests away, boost harvests, and even improve the growth and flavor of your vegetables. But if you’re new to companion planting, the okra companion plants in the list below will help you grow a healthier harvest of okra this season.

01 of 10


'Sweet Thai' basil

Strongly scented herbs are often used in companion planting as their scent can deter pests. Basil, in particular, can keep aphids and mites away from neighboring plants and planting it near okra can shield okra leaves from a lot of insect damage. In turn, basil leaves are less likely to develop sun scorch when grown in the shade of taller okra plants. While Genovese basil is a common basil type to grow, you may want to keep Thai basil (shown here) instead, which is commonly used with okra in an assortment of recipes.

02 of 10

Beans and Peas

shelling bean plant with red blossoms
Carson Downing

Beans and peas can be used in several ways to benefit okra plants. First, peas, beans, and other legumes can add nitrogen into the soil, improving the nutrient content of gardens and supporting the growth of okra plants over time. Vining beans and peas can also use the tall stems of okra as a natural trellis, while bush beans that grow lower to the ground can suppress weeds and shield soil from intense sun.

03 of 10


Close up of pink Cosmos flowers
Jon Jensen

Because okra is a self-pollinating plant, it doesn’t necessarily need insects to produce pods. However, pollinators are always beneficial in gardens and when they visit okra plants, they can increase pollination rates and enhance your okra harvest. Cosmos flowers are top choices among pollinators and growing them in your garden can lure bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects to your okra plants. Some of these insects may also prey on okra pests, which is a win-win for you.

04 of 10


echinacea purpurea coneflower
Bob Stefko

Coneflowers are attractive native plants that grow perennially throughout much of the United States. As a top pollinator plant, coneflowers will attract bees and other beneficial insects to your garden, boosting pollination rates and helping you grow a larger harvest. Plus, coneflowers are extremely low maintenance plants and they are relatively drought tolerant once established, which makes caring for them a breeze.

05 of 10


cucumber hanging from vine
Matthew Benson

Cucumbers and okra are perfect garden companions. These plants have similar care requirements and they both thrive in full sun and moist, rich soil. Vining cucumbers can help shield the soil around okra plants, preventing weeds and reducing soil evaporation rates; however, cucumber vines may need to be pruned or trellised to keep them from overwhelming your okra plants. Alternatively, you can grow bush-type cucumbers instead, which stay much smaller and can be kept in container gardens along with your okra.

06 of 10

Hot Peppers

red serrano chile hot pepper plant growing
Bob Stefko

Cabbage worms can cause a lot of problems in garden beds and they will feed on a
range of vegetables, including okra leaves. But planting hot peppers near your okra can keep cabbage worms away and it may also deter spider mites. If you want to get even more out of your pepper plants, you can make a homemade garden spray with hot peppers and garlic, which will repel a variety of garden pests.

07 of 10


melons growing in garden

Carson Downing

As with cucumbers, melons are good companion plants for okra due to their wide, flat leaves. Melon leaves can act as a living mulch around the base of okra plants, sheltering the soil from too much sun and smothering out troublesome weeds. Melons and okra also have similar growing needs and, since melons grow lower to the ground, they won’t block the light from reaching your okra plants.

08 of 10


detail of oregano plant
Peter Krumhardt

Like basil, oregano’s strong aroma can repel different pests and keep okra plants looking their best. Oregano is also a lower growing plant that can act as a living mulch, keeping weeds from sprouting around the base of okra. Not to mention, oregano is a very hardy plant that grows as a perennial in cool climates and will come back reliably year after year.

09 of 10


close up of a radish

Cameron Sadeghpour

Radishes are some of the fastest-growing vegetables you can grow and, if you plant them around the base of your okra, you can usually get a harvest or two of radishes in before your okra ripens. Plus, radishes can act as a trap crop for flea beetles and their roots break up tough soils, making it easier for okra roots to spread.

10 of 10


Cut and Come Again zinnia
Peter Krumhardt

Zinnias are another plant that pollinators can’t resist. When grown near okra, zinnias will lure in bees and other beneficial insects, which can translate into a larger okra harvest for you. What’s more, the scent of zinnias can lure away whiteflies and keep them from becoming a problem on your okra. And, of course, zinnias are well-known for their gorgeous flowers, which will liven up any garden in pinks, purples, oranges and other cheery colors.

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  1. Antonious GF, Meyer JE, Rogers JA, Hu YH. Growing hot pepper for cabbage looper, Trichopulsia ni (Hübner) and spider mite, Tetranychus urticae (Koch) control. J Environ Sci Health B. 2007 Jun-Jul;42(5):559-67. doi: 10.1080/03601230701389512. PMID: 17562464.

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