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Sunflower Plants

Q.Sunflowers Killing My Okra

Zone 94606 | Lil1210 added on June 29, 2020 | Answered

I followed the advice on your guide to companion planting with okra and planted them with my sunflowers. My healthy seedlings grew more and more stunted. That’s when I dis some research and discovered that sunflowers release chemicals that can kill neighboring plants. Please correct this in your guide, so that others don’t have the same problem I did. If I just cut down the sunflowers, will it solve the problem? Or will the chemicals remain in the soil? This article says not to till the plant into the soil but not what happens if you remove the plant completely: https://homeguides.sfgate.com/sunflowers-harm-garden-61282.html Thanks.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on July 1, 2020

Okra is immune to any of sunflowers' toxic oils. This is what makes them great companions, and one of the few that do well next to sunflowers.

Unfortunately, something else has killed your okra. Generally, being a very drought tolerant plant, overwatering will be the culprit. They prefer dry soils, where the sunflower can tolerate quite a bit more water than okra.

Your photo did not come through, so I cannot assess the damage. I would suggest a fungicide for the area, and putting more emphasis on the care of the okra, rather than sunflowers in this case. The sunflower will tolerate the conditions necessary to grow okra, but optimal conditions for sunflowers may be just a bit too wet for okra.

Here are a couple of articles that will help:



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