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How to Plant Herbs in Pots: Which Herbs Go Together | Almanac.com

How to Plant Herbs in Pots: Which Herbs Go Together

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Best herbs for container gardening

Learn how to plant herbs in pots! We’ll tell you which herbs grow well together in the same pot—plus, how to care for your herb container.

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. Just ensure you have drainage holes. Growing them in pots means they’re also easy to move around the garden or place nearer the house.

Grow a single herb or type of herbs in a container, or grow several together in a large planter. When growing herbs together, make sure they are suited to the same growing conditions. 

See the Almanac’s library of growing guides for the herbs below.

Herbs for Sun, Dry Soil

For instance, these drought-tolerant Mediterranean herbs need plenty of sun and fairly dry, well-draining soil so they’ll go well together in the same container.

  • Borage (Borago)
  • Coneflower (Echinacea)
  • French Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)
  • Lavender (Lavandula)
  • Oregano (Origanum)
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus)
  • Sage (Salvia)
  • Savory (Satureja)
  • Thyme (Thymus)

Herbs for Semi-Shade, Moist Soil

Some herbs below are happy in sun but also tolerant of shade. And a few herbs (especially parsley) are happier in a shadier spot. All herbs below enjoy more moisture than the drought-tolerant herbs above. 

  • Angelica (Angelica archangelica)
  • Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)
  • Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
  • Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
  • Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)
  • Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
  • Sorrel (Rumex)

Herbs For Sun, Moist Soil

Most herbs are sun lovers, but some are not native to the dry, rocky Mediterranean region and need moderate moisture.

  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
  • Dill (Anethum graveolens)
  • Mint (Mentha)

A Word About Mint

Mint is especially suited to its own pot because of its vigorous habit and tendency to spread and overwhelm neighboring plants.

This includes any plant in the mint (Mentha) family, including peppermint, spearmint, and even pennyroyal, which is a type of mint. Learn more about growing mint.

How to Plant an Herb Container

All containers need drainage holes to allow excess water to escape, so if your chosen pot or planter doesn’t already have them, you’ll need to drill some into the base.

Start by placing some broken pieces of pot over the drainage holes to prevent the potting soil from washing out. For a free-draining potting soil, mix in a few generous handfuls of grit, adding and mixing together in stages as you fill the container.

Before planting your herbs, arrange them on top of the potting soil to see how they’ll look. Consider each plant’s growing habit. Set creeping or trailing herbs to the front and taller herbs to the back or in the middle, with bushier plants in between. 

Once you’re happy with the arrangement, remove the herbs from their pots and place them back onto the potting soil. Fill in around the rootballs with more potting soil, firming it in as you fill.

Thoroughly water the herbs to settle them into position. The level of the potting soil will sink once you’ve done this, so you may need to add a little more potting soil. Leave the planted tub as it is, or finish the display off with a mulch of gravel, pebbles or shells. To ensure good drainage, raise the container off the ground by placing it onto some large stones, bricks, or purpose-made pot feet.

Caring for Your Potted Herbs

Herbs are pretty low maintenance, but a few simple tips will keep them in the best condition and provide you with plenty of pickings.

First, water according to the needs of each herb – more for fleshy-leaved herbs like parsley and basil, less often for more aromatic herbs with smaller leaves such as rosemary or thyme. During the growing season, water your herbs with an organic liquid fertilizer every few weeks to help them produce plenty of leaves.

If winters are harsh where you live, protect the pots from severe cold by wrapping them in bubblewrap, hessian or burlap, stuffed with scrunched-up newspaper or straw. This will help prevent the roots from freezing solid. You could also move containers under cover, for example into a greenhouse.

Above all remember to pick and enjoy your herbs regularly. Herbs actually benefit from regular picking and will produce lots more shoots in response. It’s a win-win situation!

Having herbs on hand is just brilliant – and they look fantastic too! Please share your tips for growing herbs below. Perhaps you’ve a favorite combination or a particular variety you’d recommend. If so, let us know about it!

Did You Know: Herbs pair well in the vegetable garden, too, especially to help ward off pests. See how to companion plant with herbs.

About The Author

Tim Goodwin

Tim Goodwin, the associate editor for The Old Farmer's Almanac, has been reading North America's oldest continuously published periodical since he was a young child, growing up just a short drive from the OFA office. Read More from Tim Goodwin

2023 Gardening Club

Debbie (not verified)

11 months 3 weeks ago

Not really sure what grit is. Can it be purchased at a garden shop?

Yes, it’s called potting grit or horticultural grit and includes perlite, stones, and vermiculite. These rocks create air pockets along with adding texture to the soil. As a result, the soil stays airy, loose, and well-drained.

Christine (not verified)

3 years 10 months ago

I love these videos. I enjoy growing herbs in containers but I have the worst trouble growing dill. I don't know why.

The Editors

3 years 10 months ago

In reply to by Christine (not verified)

Dill is easy as long as the containers need enough space for the plant’s tall growth and long roots. This is the most common reason for problems.

Choose a deep container to accommodate the tall plant and its long roots. Use normal potting compost and keep the plants well watered.

If the container is inside, place the plants where they will receive at least 5 to 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. You may need to support the plants with a stake. The dill will be ready for harvest within about 8 weeks after the seeds were sown.

William Pulman (not verified)

5 years ago

Excellent video on growing in containers

Marquetia D Conley (not verified)

5 years 12 months ago

Very Nice. I'm loving all the tips.