We investigated the effects of soil temperature and depth to ground water on first-year growth of a facultative floodplain phreatophyte, Glycyrrhiza lepidota, in a 2-×-2 factorial greenhouse experiment. We grew plants in mesocosms subirrigated with water low in dissolved oxygen, mimicking natural systems, and set depth of ground water at 63 or 100 cm and soil temperature at cold (ambient) or warm (≤2.7°C above ambient). We hypothesized the moister (63 cm) and warmer soil would be most favorable and predicted faster growth of shoots and roots and greater nitrogen-fixation (thus, less uptake of mineral nitrogen) under those conditions. Growth in height was significantly faster in the moister treatment but was not affected by soil temperature. Final biomass of shoots and of roots, total biomass of plants, and root:shoot ratio indicated a significant effect only from depth of ground water. Final levels of soil mineral-nitrogen were as predicted, with level of nitrate in the moister treatment more than twice that in the drier treatment. No effect from soil temperature on level of soil-mineral nitrogen was detected. Our results suggest that establishment of G. lepidotarequires strict conditions of soil moisture, which may explain the patchy distribution of the species along southwestern dryland rivers.