Septic System Safe Plants For Your Yard

When you look outside to your yard, what do you see? Often homeowners tell us they see the eye-sore patch of land where their septic system is located. While keeping your leach field clear of plants that can compromise your septic system is essential, you don’t have to have a bland yard. Here are some septic system-safe plants that you can plant in your yard.

Plants That Are Safe For Your Septic System

While having a bare patch of land seems like a good idea for your property, the soil above your septic system may be prone to erosion from excessive water runoff. It may not be able to handle storm runoff during the spring, frozen precipitation or high winds, you should protect your septic tank and septic field from erosion. Grass and plants keep the soil around your septic system in place and prevent soil erosion around your septic tank and leach field.

septic system

The biggest concern with planting anything around your septic system is the presence of roots that can damage your septic system over time. The wastewater that flows into your leach field and the groundwater must flow without obstructions for maintaining the health of ground and environment in and around your septic system. This is beneficial for your septic tank and where the septic tank flows. Since you don’t want too much water on top of your septic tank, drought-tolerant plants are one of the best types of plants. These types of plants need little water and typically don’t damage conventional septic systems. Water-loving plants tend to grow deep roots and suck up moisture in the soil. This causes shifting in the soil around your septic tank and drainage pipes. Healthy septic systems have microorganisms that grow from the organic material allowing the liquid waste water to flow easily and deep roots prevent the flow and health of your septic tank and overall septic system.

Before you plant any plants near your septic tank system, check the pH levels in the soil around your septic drain field and septic tank. Contaminants like cleaning products from bathing, and doing laundry discharge into your septic system and can raise the pH levels which can hinder plants from growing nearby. If you have to, get a septic system evaluation done.

Growing weeds, tall grass, and other shallow-rooted plants above your septic field can be beneficial. These plants are nonwooded plants and they allow moisture around septic systems. According to the right plants are Berbacous Plants:

septic system

Ornamental Grasses:

For Sun (plants marked with an * will tolerate light shade):

  • Andropogon gerardii – Big Bluestem
  •  Andropogon gyrans – Elliot Bluestem
  •  Bouteloua curtipendula – Sideoats Grama
  •  Carex appalachica – Appalachian Sedge
  •  Carex elata – Golden Sedge *
  •  Carex pennsylvanica – Pennsylvania Sedge *
  •  Chasmanthium latifolium – River Oats *
  •  Danthonia spp. – Oatgrass
  •  Eragrostis curvula – Weeping Love Grass
  •  Festuca ovina – Blue Fescue
  •  Melica mutica – Two-flowered Melic Grass
  •  Muhlenbergia capillaries – Pink Muhly Grass
  •  Oplisemenus setarius – Crinkly Leaf *
  •  Panicum virgatum – Switchgrass
  •  Piptochaetium avenaceum – Green Needle Grass
  •  Schizachyrium scoparium – Little Bluestem
  •  Sorghastrum nutans – Indiangrass
  •  Spartina bakerii – Baker’s Cordgrass
  •  Sporobolus heterolepis – Prairie Dropseed *
  •  Stipa gigantean – Giant Needle Grass
  •  Stipa tenuissima – Texas Needle Grass
  •  Tridens flavus – Purpletop *


  • Agapanthus spp. – Lily-of-the-Nile
  •  Allium spp. – Ornamental Onions
  •  Anemone spp. – Anemone/Windflowers
  •  Colchicum spp. – Autumn Crocus
  •  Crocosmia spp. – Montbretia
  •  Crocus spp. – Crocus
  •  Dahlia spp. – Dahlias
  •  Endymion hispanica – Spanish Bluebell
  •  Galtonia candicans – Summer Hyacinths
  •  Gladiolus spp. – Gladioli
  •  Hyacinthus orientalis – Common Hyacinth
  •  Ipheion uniflorum – Star Flower
  •  Iris spp. – Iris
  •  Leucojum aestivum – Summer Snowflake
  •  Lilium spp. – Lilies
  •  Muscari spp. – Grape Hyacinths
  •  Narcissus spp. and hybrids – Daffodils
  •  Tulipa spp. and hybrids – Tulips


For Shade (plants marked with a * will tolerate the most shade):

  • Acanthus mollis – Bear’s Breech
  •  Alchemilla mollis – Lady’s Mantle
  •  Amsonia tabernaemontana – Blue Star
  •  Aquilegia spp. – Columbine
  •  Arum italicum – Painted Arum *
  •  Asarum spp. – Wild Gingers *
  •  Aspidistra elatior – Cast Iron Plant *
  •  Astilbe x arendsii – Astilbe
  •  Begonia grandis – Hardy Begonia
  •  Bergenia cordifolia – Heartleaf Bergenia
  •  Brunnera macrophylla – Siberian Bugloss
  •  Ceratostigma plumbaginoides – Plumbago
  •  Chelone oblique – Turtlehead
  •  Chrysogonum virginianum – Green and Gold
  •  Cimicifuga spp. – Bugbane/Cohosh
  •  Convallaria majalis – Lily-of-the-Valley *
  •  Cyclamen spp. – Hardy Cyclamen
  •  Dicentra spp. – Bleeding Heart
  •  Digitalis spp. – Foxglove
  •  Epimedium spp. – Barrenwort *
  •  Ferns * (most)
  •  Galium odoratum – Sweet Woodruff *
  •  Geranium maculatum – Cranesbill Geranium
  •  Gillenia trifoliate – Bowman’s Root
  •  Helleborus foetidus – Bearfoot Hellebore
  •  Helleborus orientalis – Lenten Rose
  •  Heuchera spp. – Coral Bells
  •  Hosta spp. – Plantain Lily
  •  Lamium maculatum – Spotted Dead Nettle *
  •  Lobelia cardinalis – Cardinal Flower *
  •  Lobelia siphilitica – Great Blue Lobelia *
  •  Mertensia virginica – Virginia Bluebells *
  •  Myosotis sylvatica – Forget-me-not
  •  Phlox divaricata – Wild Sweet William
  •  Phlox stolonifera – Creeping Woodland Phlox
  •  Polygonatum spp. – Solomon’s Seal *
  •  Primula spp. – Primrose
  •  Pulmonaria spp. – Lungwort *
  •  Salvia koyame – Japanese Yellow Sage
  •  Saxifraga stolonifera – Strawberry Begonia
  •  Shortia galacifolia – Oconee Bells *
  •  Smilacina racemosa – False Solomon’s Seal
  •  Spigelia marilandica – Indian Pink
  •  Thalictrum spp. – Meadow Rue
  •  Tiarella spp. – Foam Flower *
  •  Tradescantia virginianae – Spiderwort *
  •  Tricyrtis spp. – Toad Lily *
  •  Trillium spp. – Wake Robin *
  •  Viola spp. – Violet *

For Sunny, Dry Conditions:

  • Achillea spp. – Yarrow
  •  Agave parryi – Hardy Century Plant
  •  Andropogon spp. – Bluestem Grass
  •  Anthemis tinctoria – Golden Marguerite
  •  Artemisia spp. – Wormwood
  •  Asclepias tuberosa – Butterfly Weed
  •  Aster novae-angliae – New England Aster
  •  Baptisia spp. – False Indigo
  •  Belamcanda chinensis – Blackberry Lily
  •  Coreopsis spp. – Coreopsis
  •  Delosperma cooperi – Hardy Ice Plant
  •  Eupatorium purpureum – Joe-Pye Weed
  •  Euphorbia spp. – Spurge
  •  Gaillardia spp. – Blanket Flower
  •  Gaura lindheimeri – Gaura
  •  Helianthus spp. – Perennial Sunflower
  •  Hemerocallis spp. and hybrids – Daylily
  •  Hesperaloe parviflora – False Red Yucca
  •  Kniphofia uvaria – Red Hot Poker
  •  Lantana spp. – Lantana
  •  Lavandula x intermedia – Provence Lavender
  •  Liatris spp. – Gayfeather
  •  Limonium latifolium – Sea Lavender
  •  Nepeta spp. – Catmint
  •  Oenothera spp. – Evening Primrose, Sundrops
  •  Opuntia humifusa – Prickly Pear Cactus
  •  Perovskia atriplicifolia – Russian Sage
  •  Phlomis spp. – Jerusalem Sage
  •  Plumbago auriculata – Plumbago
  •  Rudbeckia spp. – Black-eyed Susan
  •  Ruellia brittoniana – Mexican Petunia
  •  Salvia greggi – Texas Sage
  •  Santolina spp. – Lavender Cotton
  •  Sedum spp. – Stonecrop
  •  Sempervivum tectorum – Hens & Chickens
  •  Setcrasea pallida – Purple Heart
  •  Solidago odora – Sweet Goldenrod
  •  Stachys byzantine – Lamb’s Ear
  •  Verbena spp. – Verbena

Are Shrubs or Trees Safe to Plant Near My Septic System?

While they are a good idea, they are not safe to plant. The simple answer is no! Most trees are considered “woody plants” These types of plants have woody stems and extensive root systems that grow several feet below and out from their core. Some of the larger trees can grow over one hundred feet long underground which will destroy your septic system and making your septic system maintenance even harder. You can expect damage to your septic system if any trees are nearby. If there is samage present in your septic system after an septic evaluation has been done, it may require further treatment and replacement or repair of your conventional septic system.

If you are dead set on having some shrubs near your septic system and your septic tank, here are a few shrubs with less aggressive root systems. Boxwoods, and hollies planted near the drier end of your leach field are less risky. You need to keep them at least twenty feet from your septic tank to prevent roots from getting into the perforated pipes where liquid wastewater runoff, the septic system outlet pipe, and the septic tank.

Tips To Landscaping To Keep Your Septic System Working

  1. Install root barriers. These can be landscape fabric, simple wood planks or other materials. They need to be at least two feet deep and five feet or more from the drain line to your septic system. You want your septic tank work to be excellent when installed. Property owners should work directly with the installer about the septic system work to ensure it is done correctly and to code in your state. Most plumbers or building companies know what a conventional septic system looks like and how it works.
  2.  Don’t grow a garden near your septic tank . There is no way to ensure that all the contaminants and remaining impurities from the septic system is filtered out before they reach the plants in the ground. Planting a vegetable garden could result in contamination that enters your body through the crops. Avoid growing any wild herbs near your septic tank(s) the same reason.
  3.  Use caution when touching plants growing near your septic system. Wear gloves and wash your hands because the native soil could be contaminated if you have a failing system.
  4.  Check the soil conditions by checking the Ph level before you plant flower or shrubs.
  5.  Avoid using pesticides (synthetic materials) or household chemicals near your septic system. This can go against local regulations, get into the septic system, and ruin the healthy aerobic bacteria.

Use a licensed septic professional from like Pumptech, LLC to maintain a healthy septic system with our pumper truck. When you hire a professional septic service company, we evaluate your septic system and determine if the septic system works properly. The sludge and scum in most systems mixed with the water in your tank typically builds healthy bacteria. Suppose you have a healthy plumbing system and are not washing pathogens and other chemicals like antibacterial soaps into your tank that can harm the overall health of your septic system. In that case, periodic maintenance can avoid costly repairs. There are conventional system(s) additives that you can add to your septic tank to help the anaerobic bacteria to flourish.

If you are still trying to determine what your system consists of from the drain field to all of the other parts of a conventional septic system like the tank, corrugated piping, good maintenance schedules done in the past for treatment, where the water table is, bacteria levels, and overall construction of your system, don’t worry we can help. Our team of septic system professionals have years of experience and can perform an evaluation on your septic system.

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