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Herbs/other edible plants for a yard that Floods

Hey Everyone,

I started my first attempts at a Herb garden last year using pots. I was hesitant to plant anything in the ground because the yard tends to flood so badly. Right now, I have tried to select plants that prefer full sunlight and can withstand heat and drought well (I live in Houston, Tx). While it may not happen very often, if it does rain hard, I believe planting any of the plants I already have in the ground could kill them because the soil doesn't drain well after the back yard floods. The grass itself has that problem and is now being taken over by an invasive grass that thrives when it floods. This grass took root primarily due to flooding at the side of the yard caused by our neighbors sprinkler system - possibly his pool.

Does anyone have any suggestions for plants that can take the flooding and the heat?

I currently have Rosemary, Lavender, Sage (which isn't doing too well- some kind of bugs are eating at it now), and oregano.


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Super Green Thumb
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Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Herbs/other edible plants for a yard that Floods

Ideally of course, the problem causing the flooding should be fixed.

Next best is what you have been doing, gardening in containers or raised beds. You might need a pretty deep raised bed to keep it from being too soggy.

For plants that would work with hot and dry, but also periods of flooding, do some searches on plants for rain gardens. Rain gardens are gardens that people plant around down spouts to use the water instead of putting it all in the storm drain system. So they need to be able to withstand drying when it doesn't rain, but also some periods of standing water.

Some suggestions include daylilies, bee balm, milkweed/ butterfly weed, asters, sneeze weed, marsh marigold, goldenrod, coneflower, some ornamental grasses, yarrow, coreopsis, helianthus, heliopsis, liatris, cardinal flower, various mints, lemon balm (which is also in the mint family), oregano and thyme may work for you as well.

I would try a number of things and see which ones do best, it's hard to know ahead of time which things will thrive in your combination of sun, soil, water, etc.

Susan W
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Re: Herbs/other edible plants for a yard that Floods

Containers work! I have 150+ and sell fresh cut herbs at the farmers market.
The larger the container the better. 12" on up. I have a few 10" mainly for things I may bring in during winter. A 16" has room to combine a couple of herbs as a mini-garden. Drainage is essential, so no saucers, and have pots up on something. I use pallets for some. Some on the back drive, and some in scrappy parts of back yard. The pallets allow for good drainage, easy to shift pots around, and can be replaced when rotty or messed up. Psst - it's easier to maintain and harvest when plants up on something and in containers!

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Re: Herbs/other edible plants for a yard that Floods

Consider a rain garden. or install french drains for a long term solution.

I have a similar problem in my herb garden. It does not rain often, but it is located in a naturally low area so when it does, it can flood for up to a couple of weeks. I have raised the beds but I still have problems keeping some things alive unless I have them in pots. Lavender, oregano, marjoram, Mexican oregano and rosemary are kept in pots. Most plants with deep roots more than 10 inches will be killed by phythopthora.

Chili peppers are short lived about three years in the driest parts of the garden. Lemon grass in the driest parts of the garden.

Daylilies, horseradish, gynuura, fennel, culantro, piper lalot, taro, comfrey, and gotu cola have been the survivors. Parsley, perilla, basil, dill, cilantro, marigolds, cutting celery, onions, leeks, and other annuals and shallow rooted herbs will grow unless it rains for a week.

Most of the plants you are growing rosemary, sage, lavender, and oregano are great for hot areas but none of them like too much water so they are better planted in pots or in high ground like a mound or raised bed.

Some plants that will tolerate soggy soils and short term flooding are culantro, marsh mallow, mints (should be kept in pots anyway. Mints are invasive), taro (can be grown dryland but actually prefer water. horseradish, and rice. You can plant any of the annual herbs in the ground in the right season.

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