With summertime highs averaging in the 90 degree F. (32 C.) range, growing herbs in Texas can be challenging. At these temperatures, plant growth slows down, leaves wilt, and pores close to prevent evaporation. Add the humidity in the eastern part of the state to the arid conditions in the west and it becomes apparent.
Finding heat-tolerant herbs that will grow in Texas climates is the key to success. So let’s take a look at some herbs for Texas gardens which will survive this brutal summer weather.
Texas Summer Herbs
- Basil – This family of heat-tolerant herbs includes varieties such as the common sweet basil as well as Genovese, purple, Thai, African blue, and ruffles. One of the best Texas summer herbs, varieties of basil offer a potpourri of flavors, textures, and leaf shapes.
- Texas Tarragon – More commonly known as Mexican mint marigold, this anise-flavored perennial is often used as a culinary substitute for French tarragon. Grown for its yellow bee-loving flowers and durable nature, Mexican mint marigold is a pleasing addition when growing herbs in Texas.
- Oregano – This culinary favorite is both heat loving and drought tolerant as well as delicious. One of the best perennial herbs for Texas gardens, the many varieties of oregano offer different scents, flavors, and textures. Choose one with variegated leaf pattern to add visual interest.
- Mexican Oregano – Known by several names, Mexican oregano is another of the heat-tolerant herbs which survives Texas summers. This Southwestern U.S. native plant is often used in Mexican dishes where its strong aroma adds bountiful flavor.
- Rosemary – Nothing beats the heat like a cool, refreshing glass of lemonade spiced with rosemary leaves. This hardy perennial may need shelter from the frigid winds of winter but will perform well when growing herbs in Texas summers.
- Lemon Balm – For the best flavor, plant this Eurasian native in partial shade and harvest often. Use the citrus-flavored leaves of lemon balm in tea, or to add a zest to salads and fish.
Tips for Growing Herbs in Texas
Cultivation practices can make or break the success rate for growing Texas summer herbs. Try these tips to help your herb garden flourish in hot weather:
- Afternoon shade – most sun-loving herbs require a minimum of six hours of sunlight. Plant herbs where morning or late-day sun meet this requirement.
- Mulch – This protective layer does more than discourage weeds. A thick layer of mulch regulates ground temperatures and conserves moisture, which ups the plant’s ability to tolerate heat.
- Water – Regular hydration keeps plants from wilting and prevents heat stress. Water in the morning or late evening for best results.
Finally, resist the urge to plant Texas summer herbs in containers. Pots and planters dry out too quickly in 90 degree F. (32 C.) heat. Instead, plant outside herbs for Texas gardens directly in the ground. If you must container garden, keep the herbs inside the air-conditioned house where they can enjoy the sun from a bright window.