Learn how to grow herbs in containers—and which herbs grow best in pots. Grow several different types together and you’ll enjoy fresh pickings time and again. A herb planter looks gorgeous and makes a unique, personal gift for your gardening or cooking-obsessed loved ones.
How to Grow Delicious Herbs in Containers
Many herbs are are low maintenance plants that will grow well in containers. They can really transform your cooking, so they’re well worth growing. Herbs will look fantastic growing in any style of container, from terracotta pots and urns to galvanized tubs and wicker-framed planters.
Grow a single herb or type of herbs in a container, or grow several together in a large planter. Mint is ideally suited to being grown on its own in a pot because it is very vigorous and tends to spread and overwhelm other plants.
When growing herbs together, make sure they are suited to the same growing conditions. For instance, drought-tolerant Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary, lavender and thyme need plenty of sun and very well-drained potting soil, while chives and parsley will be happy together in a shadier spot.
Plant Up a Herb Container
Make sure your container has drainage holes in the base. If not, you’ll need to drill some. Position two or three broken pieces of pot over the drainage holes to stop the potting soil from washing out, then add your potting soil. As you fill, you can mix in a few generous handfuls of grit or fine gravel to aid drainage.
With your herbs still in their pots, take time arrange them on top of the potting soil. For the best effect place creeping or trailing herbs to the front and taller herbs to the back or middle of the container, with bushier plants in between. Once you’ve decided where you will position your herbs, remove the plants from their pots and place them back onto the potting soil. Add more potting soil around the rootballs of the herbs, firming it in as you fill, then water the pot to help settle them into position. The level of the potting soil will sink once you’ve done this, so you may need to top up with a little more potting soil.
You can leave the planted container as it is, or you could finish the display off with a moisture-retaining mulch of gravel, pebbles or shells. Raise the container off the ground to ensure good drainage, for instance by placing it onto large pebbles, bricks, or purpose-made pot feet.
Looking After Your Potted Herbs
Different herbs have different watering needs. Fleshy-leaved herbs like parsley and basil need regular watering, while drought-tolerant aromatic herbs with smaller leaves such as rosemary or thyme need little water once established. Water your herbs with an organic liquid fertilizer every few weeks during the growing season to encourage them keep producing plenty of leaves for you to pick.
If winters are harsh where you live, wrap pots in bubble wrap or burlap stuffed with scrunched-up newspaper or straw to help prevent the roots from freezing solid. You could also move containers under cover, for example into a greenhouse.
Remember to pick your herbs regularly. Regular picking will stimulate the plants to produce lots more shoots, keep in you in a steady supply of delicious fresh herbs!
Enjoy this? If you wish to garden this year, check out our easy and fun Almanac Garden Planner!