Container Gardening: How to grow your own herb garden
You don’t need much room to grow fresh herbs. In fact, these fragrant fancies are perfect for containers - you can even grow a variety together in one pot. Here's everything you need to know to create your own herb garden.
Can I grow herbs in a pot?
Yes! Absolutely, you can grow them in a pot. You don’t need much room to grow fresh herbs, they're perfect for containers. Just a couple of plants by the back door, filling a window box, or spilling from pots on the patio or balcony can bring a whole lot of joy (and save a few quid on the weekly shop).
We recommend planting up a pot with your favourite herbs to create your very own one-pot herb garden. It will look beautiful, it'll be functional (your cooking will thank you!) and it will need watering slightly less often.
Read on to learn more about different types of herbs and a simple step-by-step guide on how and when to plant them.
Which herbs should I grow?
Aside from their famous culinary and remedial uses, herbs are also beautiful plants to look at and they fill your outdoor space with *all* the dreamy smells.
It’s best to grow the herbs you love the best and want to use the most. Although, when planning your container wonderland, your growing space (and whether your garden gets sun or shade) will also come into play.
Looking for highly scented herbs to tickle your nostrils? Mint, lavender, lemon balm, catmint or pineapple sage might be your perfect match.
Shun those tiny jars of dried, brownish leaves from the supermarket and up your culinary game by growing *real* rosemary, thyme, marjoram, tarragon, oregano, basil and bay.
Got a sun-flooded spot? Pots of rosemary, sage, thyme and oregano could also be the best bet for you here.
Fill a dull corner with herbs that prefer their compost to stay moist. We’re talking tender plants like coriander, parsley, mint, dill, sorrel and chives.
When to plant herbs in containers
If you’re sowing tender herbs from seed, it’s best to start them off indoors or in a greenhouse.
You can sow hardier herbs like thyme and rosemary indoors too. Alternatively, you can wait until May, when all risk of frost has passed, and sow them straight into pots outdoors. Once established, these resilient stalwarts tend to be able to live outside in all weathers.
Ready-grown plants (usually coming in 1L pots) are best planted in late spring, when they’ll be quicker to put down new roots and thrive.
How to plant your own herb garden
You don’t need to grow just one type of herb per pot. Herbs planted together look good and need watering slightly less often.
Here are our tips on planting up the potted herb garden of your dreams.
- Choose your pot. Herbs like to put down long roots, so make sure you pick a generous container to bed your scented stars into. To plant 3 herbs together, we recommend a pot of at least 30cm in diameter. To plant 5 herbs together, we recommend a pot of minimum 40cm in diameter.
- Mix some peat-free potting compost with a few generous handfuls of grit, sand or perlite to ensure it’s free-draining. If you don’t have any grit, you can add some broken pot shards to the bottom of the pot before layering in the compost. When you’re ready, add the compost or compost mix to your pot, until it’s half- to two-thirds full, leaving room for your plants on top.
- Squeeze your herbs out of their nursery pots and pop them into their new home. Backfill the pot with more compost, firming the plants in. The surface should be slightly shy of the rim of the pot, so water can soak in without spilling over the sides.
- Grab a watering can and give your herbs a good soak. If the surface of the compost sinks, add a bit more to the top.
- Move your container garden to the best spot for your plants, whether they prefer full sun or seek the shade.
How to care for potted herbs
Herbs in containers are easy to care for. We have a helpful guide here, but we've summarised are a few ways to keep yours looking fresh and fabulous:
- Water well. When the top couple of centimetres of compost dry out, give your plants a drink. Ideally, the compost should be moist, but not soggy.
- Nutrient-rich nosh. Adding a splash of a balanced plant fertiliser to your watering can every now and then will encourage lovely leafy growth.
- Respect your divas. Some herbs - *cough* (mint) *cough* - just want to be free and aren’t too happy to be contained in a pot. Keep them on your side by replanting them every other year, lifting the roots and plunging them into fresh compost.
- Have a snipping sesh. Trim your plants on an annual basis to keep them small enough for life in a pot and encourage neat, bushy growth rather than letting them become straggly monsters.
After more tips on keeping your herbs alive? Click here to visit our Sproutl Care hub - it's full of fool-proof guides to keep your plants happy.