How to Grow Herbs in West Texas


It can be quite a challenge to grow herbs in West Texas. That's because herbs prefer well-drained soil, while the characteristic soil of West Texas is clay-like in structure. Clay soil holds water and does not drain well. In order to grow herbs in this type of soil, you will need to either grow herbs in containers or amend the soil to change its structure.

Container Gardening

Step 1

Select containers of varying sizes for your container herb garden. Large containers can hold single plants, such as a large rosemary or lavender, or can hold groupings of herbs. Smaller containers can hold smaller-sized herbs such as basil.

Step 2

Cover the drain hole of each container with a shard of pottery to prevent dirt from washing through the drain hole.

Step 3

Fill containers with a potting soil that is formulated for container gardens. This type of potting soil is well-drained and filled with fertilizer for maximum yield.

Step 4

Create a pocket in the center of your soil for planting herbs. Place the root ball of the herb in the pocket and cover with dirt. Water well.

Step 5

Group containers together to make watering easier and to help hold moisture into the pots.

Step 6

Place a drip irrigation hose over the containers so that the water will drip into each container. Attach the end of the hose to an irrigation timer. Attach the other end of the timer to the faucet.

Step 7

Set the timer on the faucet and turn it on. The faucet and drip irrigation system will automatically water the herbs.

Improving Soil

Step 1

Take a soil sample by scooping a teaspoon of dirt from the surface of your potential garden. Dig down three inches and take another sample. Repeat this process three to six more times throughout your garden site.

Step 2

Mix the soil together and place it in a plastic container. Label the container with the location of your sample and take it to your local county extension service for the nearest land-grant college for a soil analysis. The soil analysis will tell you the chemical and physical composition of your soil. It will also make suggestions as to the type and quantity of amendments that you should work into your soil.

Step 3

Break up heavy clay soil with a rototiller to a depth of eight to 12 inches. Spread amendments over soil to a depth of three inches. Then turn the amendments into the soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never try to change soil dramatically in one treatment by adding more soil amendments than are called for. The structure of soil must be changed gradually to maintain the delicate ecosystem of the soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Potting soil
  • Containers
  • Pottery shards
  • Drip irrigation
  • Drip irrigation timer
  • Container herbs
  • Garden trowel
  • Plastic food storage container
  • Marker
  • Soil amendments
  • Rototiller
  • Shovel


  • Gardening Launch Pad
  • Texas A&M Cooperative Extension: Fall EK Practices
  • University of Minnesota: Herbs

Who Can Help

  • The Herb Gardener
Keywords: growing plants in West Texas, container gardening, growing herbs in clay soil

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."