Okra makes an outstanding herbaceous canopy layer that provides light shade for interplanted annuals like lettuce and sweet potato, wind protection for peppers, and is certain to attract pollinators.

Common Name: Okra, ladies’ fingers, bhindi, bamia, ochro or gumbo
Scientific Name: Abelmoschus esculentus and Hibiscus esculentus
Family: Malvaceae (mallow)

Little House on Pine okra plant.

A bouquet of okra flowers soon yields a basketful of edible pods.


  • Medicinal
  • Nectary
  • Light shade for other annuals

Medicinal Properties

  • Antidiabetic properties
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant

Forest Garden Designing

  • Plant Type: Annual
  • Plant Leaf Type: Deciduous
  • Layer Use: Herbaceous
  • Pollination: Self-pollinating
  • Flowering: Late summer through early fall
  • Leaf Shape: Lobed
  • Height: 3-6′
  • Width: 12-18″

Planting Considerations

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-11
  • Light: Full sun
  • Shade: Does not tolerate
  • Moisture: Regular light watering, about an inch per week
  • pH: most species prefer fairly neutral to alkaline soil (6.5 – 7.0)


  • Direct seed


Harvest pods when 2-3″ long, about every other day.

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