If you’re a chef or an aspiring cook, you want access to the best ingredients for seasoning your favorite dishes. But instead of hitting the groceries to add flavor to your recipes, have you ever considered growing herbs in your home?
Imagine this a steady supply of fresh delicious and therapeutic herbs: you no longer have to buy herbs and spices from the supermarket every time you’re cooking. Just pluck your own herbs from your indoor garden or outdoor anytime to start with your recipe!
And even if you’re not much of a cook, a herb garden makes for a lovely decoration that can spruce up any home.
Future herb Gardeners… In this post, you will learn how to get started growing multiple herbs in big pots, small pots, plastic pots, and more outside or indoors. We’ll talk about what containers herbs prefer and look into other tips to ensure that your herbs will grow well enough so you can make your tasty dishes.
How to Grow Herbs in Containers
The key to a successful indoor herb garden is understanding the plant’s requirements and providing them with what they need.
For example, some herbs need a lot more water than others, others some herb plants need direct sunlight or full sun, and some fresh herbs do well growing indoors or in the shade.
For this reason, you can grow herbs in the same pot as long as they share similar growing requirements and nutrients.
When it comes to your container garden, your only limitation is your mind. You should be able to grow your garden in any way you want as long as you provide the herbs with the following:
- Organic Potting mix with good moisture retention herbs need moist soil or aged compost.
- Plastic pots or terra cotta with adequate drainage (well drained soil is important)
- Organic liquid fertilizer/fish emulsion/
- Regular watering
- Last but not least, some love!
How to Start Planting Herbs in Containers
For starters, use good organic potting soil or aged compost and start with a plan for your herb garden space and consider where you’ll be placing the garden.
A bright windowsill or any place in your home with access to sunlight is a great place to grow small culinary herb plants.
If you don’t have access to sunlight, you can install artificial sunlight or grow lights in your home. In most cases, this device gives you full control over how much sunlight your herbs get during the day.
This is important since not all herbs the same amount of time under the sun. While most herb plants need eight hours of direct sunlight, parsley and mint do better under six hours.
Finally, make sure to use containers with a good amount of drainage holes so that excess water can pass through but still retain moisture. If your containers do not have any, you should drill them into the base.
Top 5 Benefits of Growing Herbs in Pots
- Space-saving – Don’t have enough space in your vegetable garden or inside your home? Try growing on a balcony or in window boxes or some eclectic clay pots.
- Flexibility – You can grow herbs suited to your garden soil or hot and dry conditions.
- Protection – Plant maintenance is easier with containers, and it reduces any chance of weeds and other harmful critters infesting crops.
- Decoration – If you’re not much of a cook, a herb garden makes for a lovely decoration that can spruce up any home.
- Wintering- Delicate potted plants can be easily carried indoors in winter and extend the growing season.
There are many reasons why people are growing their herbs in containers. They allow you to grow herbs that are not suited to your garden soil or hot and dry conditions. Plant maintenance is easier with containers and it reduces any chance of weeds and other harmful critters infesting crops.
Delicate potted plants can be easily carried indoors in winter and extend the growing season. And the majority of culinary herbs are robust plants that do not like fussing around.
Don’t have enough space in your vegetable garden for growing any herbs? Try growing on a balcony or in window boxes or some eclectic clay pots. Delicious culinary herbs growing indoors in a kitchen is the dream of all chefs.
16 of The best herbs for container gardening
- Rosemary (drought tolerant)
- Thyme (drought tolerant)
- Lemon Balm
- Sage (drought tolerant)
- Lemon Verbena
Tips for Growing Potted Herbs in Containers
1) Choosing Your Herbs and How many herbs
The best and greenest thumb herb gardeners always start with the highest quality open-sourced heirloom seed packets of their favorite culinary or healing herbs bought easily purchased online. If you are not sure what to look for this guide on buying seeds online may help. Alternatively, you can also plant seedling potted herbs from your local nursery successfully in pots and various containers to quick start your growing season.
Larger pots with a sufficient amount of potting soil are great for growing several different complementary plants together much like you would in a vegetable garden. Try combining annual herbs like sweet basil, dill, and summer savory, around a tall plant like bay or rosemary. Remember that certain herbs don’t coexist harmoniously. For instance, you shouldn’t mix fennel with dill or cilantro. Invasive plants like mint and tarragon fare better in separate pots away from other herbs.
If cared for properly, some herbs grown in large pots can live for a few years. Many herbs such as aloe vera, myrtle, rosemary, eucalyptus, jasmine, dwarf lemon, and bay laurel are suitable for long-term plantings. Keeping an herb alive in a pot for years requires a lot of patience, dedication, and skill. On the other hand, many plantings in containers look good for a single season. They need renewal after some time, such as fast-growing culinary herbs includes dill, basil, parsley, cilantro, calendula, nasturtium, chili peppers, and sweet marjoram or Mediterranean herbs.
2) Types of Containers
There are many options when it comes to containers suitable for growing herb plants. When selecting your herb pots, things you should take into account are the needs of herbs such as drainage holes, the plant’s mature size, durability, weight, resistance to weather damage, and appearance. The basic container can be any kind of plastic pot or in other various materials, including terra cotta, glazed ceramic, plastic, wood, fiberglass, concrete, and metal. Always and I can’t stress enough look for pots with good drainage holes to avoid waterlogging.
You can also use specific, somewhat unusual containers like wooden half-barrels, old basins, disused wheelbarrows, or birdbaths for outdoor planting. These pots will give your herb garden a unique look. Large plants like lavender, rosemary, rue, and sage will need large containers such as stone jars, big pots, or even old buckets. Troughs can be placed along patio screens to provide your plants some shelter, but make sure they also get enough sunlight.
Herbs grow well in hanging pots or baskets and are lovely additions to tiny spaces, balconies, and roof gardens. If you lack the area for many separate containers, you can use a large strawberry pot to plant a different herb at each opening, thus creating an attractive focal point in your garden or terrace. Remember that these containers usually require more frequent watering and should be monitored closely. Despite this great variety, for the plants themselves, the type of container is not as important as the soil and fertilizer you use, the light available, and, of course, watering.
Adequate light is necessary for all plants to grow and thrive. Herbs require the same amount of sun, whether growing in a garden patch or separate pots. You should always consider this when choosing the space for your containers. For instance, herbs that need full sun will not fare well in spots that get several hours of shade every day, such as patios and balconies in buildings.
There are also several limitations for indoor plantings. You should place potted herbs on windowsills to make the most of the light coming in. However, even windows that face south don’t get full sun all year round, which is a significant problem, especially in winter when daylight is weak and brief. A solution would be to supplement the sunlight available to your herbs by using fluorescent lights. As the plants grow, you will need to move the light bulbs to accommodate them, so it is convenient to use adjustable supports or shelves. You could also install an automatic timer to make your work easier.
4) Potting Soil/Garden Soil and Fertilizing
There are two types of potting soil you can use: soil-based mixes, which contain an amount of real earth, and mixes without any real dirt in them. The first type of soil is more inexpensive but also heavier. That will make moving pots around more difficult. Real soil is suitable for long-term plantings because it gives them stability. On the other hand, soilless mixes are popular because they are lighter and make transporting plants much more manageable. The problem is that these soils tend to break down over time, become very compact and lose their nutrient balance.
Plants in containers need to be frequently fertilized since the limited amount of soil available doesn’t provide them with the nutrients required for sustained growth. You should maintain a regular fertilizing schedule, depending on the season and the type of herbs you grow. You can use organic or synthetic fertilizer or a combination of products, depending on your plants’ particular needs.
Watering herbs that grow in pots can be tricky as they usually require more attention than a backyard garden. How much water your plants need depends on several factors, including the herb, the type of soil, sun exposure, average temperature, the time of year, and the size of the plant. In cases of excess water, a more porous soil will allow it to soak down and run out the drainage at the bottom of the container. If you leave water trapped at the bottom of the pot, it will damage the herb’s roots. When in doubt, touch the soil; if it feels dry, you need to water your herbs.
6) Site Selection
Having containers is great because it’s portable! They are placed anywhere so you can find their beauty and their fragrance. Not all pots will get at least five hours of sunshine daily. Please make sure the plant is in the same plant which has the same needs for growth. If there is a large number of pots, try adding a line to your sprinkler. I recommend The Orbit Single dial timer which offers date and time programming for a single zone. It also features an option to wait for rain. As convenience also you can add batteries and timers to these pots.
Temperature is another important factor in successfully growing herbs indoors. The ideal temperature for most herbs is between 65 to 70 degrees, which works very well in most home environments.
Occasionally when you want to slow the growth of your herb plants, the temperature can be reduced further to between 60-65 degrees. Some plants require a dormant period. If you are overwintering plants indoors, you can store them in a cooler location.
The most finicky herb when it comes to temperature is basil. Basil loves the warmth and would prefer to be at a constant 75 degrees if possible. If basil gets too cold on chilly nights , you will know right away, the leaves will start wilt and discolor within 24 hours.
Tips for growing herbs
Once a plant flowers from seed, the seasonal growth cycle for that plant will be complete most herbs will no longer produce new growth. Towards the end of the growing season, bring your herb containers inside. If your windowsill or indoor garden gets lots of indoor sunlight you will want to grow herbs inside as well. Some herb plants are easier than others to keep alive indoors during the winter when growing conditions aren’t optimal, though it’s worth a shot for all your container herbs.
Your outdoor herbs will always have to endure exposure to the elements. You should move your tubs and pots from the exposed parts of the garden or patio to more sheltered areas in autumn. Indoor plants, although protected, are deprived of sufficient light. Containers placed on windowsills need to be regularly turned to allow the same amount of sunlight to reach the whole plant.
Some herbs, like sage, tend to become untidy, so you should pinch the plant’s growing tips every once in a while. Always prune the spent flowers of the herb that are weak, damaged, or crossing. Like most herbs, basil responds well to frequent harvesting and pruning to pinch off any flower buds that appear. Beyond that, you can shape them however it pleases you or leave them to grow out naturally- this is a matter of personal choice. Above all, remember to pick and enjoy your herbs regularly.
All in all, growing herbs in containers isn’t all that difficult but requires forethought, patience, and consistency. You can always start small with just a few pots and go from there. Potted herbs offer you a unique way to express your creativity and develop a personal home style. Just remember to treat your herbs as you treat yourself; create a comfortable environment in which they can grow and thrive.