The Herbal Gardens

herb-container-garden-front-web.jpgHerbs are one of the most rewarding container crops. Most are also easy to grow. Still, there are a few things to bear in mind if you want to make sure your potted herbs reach their bushy, lush best. I have also found the combinations of planting herbs together are endless. Here are a few that worked for me. I would love to hear what works for you.

A lot of sunlight and relatively dry, lean soil varieties: Rosemary, sage, thyme, marjoram and lavender all fall into this group. Thyme is a tiny, creeping plant that easily can be kept in the bounds of a pot, and it may be paired with a prostrate rosemary and variegated sage, which grows more slowly than all-green sage.

Moisture-Lovers: Basil, cilantro, tarragon and parsley also like full sun, but these species prefer more moisture in their soil than rosemary, oregano, sage, thyme, marjoram and lavender. Parsley is a biennial, living only two years. So if you plan to keep the herb pot going indefinitely, prepare for the parsley to give out early.

Pot #1-cilantro, sage and chives

The sage is a perennial that may get pretty large, chives are perennial and will develop in clumps low to the ground, cilantro is annual and will grow for a quick season, then either be harvested or left to flower and seed (which is coriander for your spice cabinet!). I like the idea of having short term annual plants (like cilantro) growing and filling some of the space while longer term perennials are still putting on their growth. Eventually the perennials will take over the rest of the space.

Pot #2 Thyme, basil, tarragon

Thyme is a low growing perennial that will eventually take up the most space, basil is an annual and will grow for a quick season, tarragon growing and filling some the space while your longer term perennials are still putting on their growth.

Separate Pots

Mint and oregano- these herbs are invasive and do not play well with other plants. They will take as much room as allowed. Dill becomes very tall once it sends up a flower stalk. It will also readily self-sow seeds if you let it. Dill is an annual, so it will be harvested as leaves or seeds and then won’t come back again unless re-sown (or left to self-sow when seeds drop).

You are probably thinking, “Great, I know what to plant; but how do I keep it alive? The answer is twofold- one, read this post; and two, follow these quick steps.

Prep the soil – your potting mix should be loose enough for water to drain and for the plant’s roots to grow and pull nutrients from the soil.

Plant seeds- no deeper than a half an inch. The finer the seed, the shallower they lie in soil. Pack them too deep and the spouts do not have energy to burst through the surface.

Water wisely- Herbs will rot and die in soggy dirt. To check if you’re over watering, grab a tiny chunk of soil. If it starts to crumble, water more often. If it’s mushy you’re over doing it, if the soil forms a nice ball of dirt, you got it just right.

Good resource for growing food in containers :

Fresh Ideas for Growing Vegetables in Containers

Herbs: Beautiful in your garden, tasty and healthy to eat

McGee and Stuckey’s Bountiful Container  by Maggie Stuckey

The Herbal Kitchen by Kami McBride.

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15 Responses to The Herbal Gardens

  1. Great article! I love growing herbs every year. Mostly from seeds, but I have purchased actual plants on several occasions. Mainly rosemary, tarragon and lavender because they are hard to start from seeds.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love fresh herbs and greatly admire those who grow them at home. However, I don’t even think these great tips can save them from my black thumb!


    Liked by 2 people

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  5. In India we believe in herbs as our ancient custom and tradition talk about Ayurveda study of life science and the way to treat it using important Herbs .There were many famous saints who researched Andrea user these Herbs for curing many I feel herbs give you relief In long term and cures the ailment completely.

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  11. great information thank you for sharing~!


  12. msw blog says:

    Reblogged this on Real Life of an MSW and commented:

    Apartment life means balcony growing of peas in pots and bush beans in bushel baskets. Indoor edibles — such as parsley, mint and trendy lemon grass —feed not just the apartment dwellers but their friends as well.

    This group combines gardening with cooking and entertaining. A crop of ripe tomatoes grown on a sunny balcony is an event worth celebrating with a dinner party. Another reason for the interest in herbs and vegetables is the need to experiment with different ethnic and healthy eating recipes – Marianne Binetti


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