7 Tips for Growing the Best Herbs Ever in Containers

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The beautiful thing about growing herbs in containers is that there is no green thumb required. In fact, growing herbs in containers is an amazing confidence booster for anyone. Whether you have a few containers on your balcony or in a sunny inside window, herbs will reward you with their lush growth and aromatic pleasures.

Here are a few other things I have learned growing herbs over the years that will help your herb growing experience be fun and rewarding.

Be picky

Pick herbs often during the growing season. Although you may be tempted to let herbs get big and tall, picking them will result in a fuller and healthier plant. Don’ pick stems from the base of the plant, this will cause the plant to grow tall and lanky. To pick herbs correctly, pick off the tips of each stem one or two inches above a pair of leaves. This will promote new shoots from each stem and a healthy and bushy plant. 

Feed well

The second rule to successful herb container gardening is to feed herbs using a half-strength liquid seaweed or worm tea every three weeks during their growing season. Liquid seaweed is loaded with minerals and trace elements that boost healthy herb growth and promote great flavor.

Choose well

Plant selection matters. Picking the healthiest herbs from the start will help ensure that your adult plant is also healthy and productive. Purchase your herbs from a reputable grower or grow yours from high-quality seeds.

Possible pots

While herbs will grow in just about a container, assuming that it has adequate drainage, some herbs do better in certain types of pots than others. If you wish to plant perennial herbs outside in a permanent display, don’t choose plastic, it will deteriorate over time. If you plant moisture-loving herbs, avoid clay pots that tend to draw moisture and dry herbs out quickly. Clay pots will also break during a hard frost.

You can grow a single herb in a pot as small as 10 inches in diameter, and for bigger herbs or multiple plants, use a pot at least 18 inches in diameter. Keep in mind that providing a bigger container for your herb will result in a bigger plant.

The best planting medium

Regular garden soil is too heavy for container herbs. Instead, choose a lightweight potting medium that will retain moisture and drain well. Here is my favorite mixture that I use for my herbs:

  • One part commercial potting mix
  • One part aged manure
  • One part coarse sand

This mixture is light, nutrient-rich, and drains great!

Perfect pairing

Growing multiple herbs in the same pot can make a really attractive display. Be sure to pair herbs that have similar light and water requirements together. Also, pair plants based on their mature size and be sure to give them plenty of room for expansion.

Creative container placement

I love to get creative with my herb container placement. A container or two at the front door welcomes guests with a burst of aromatic pleasure. I also like to group containers of various sizes together for a focal point on my deck or place containers in gaps in my gardens or along paths in my landscape. Besides growing containers in your kitchen window, think outside the box and use herbs to bring beauty to other bright areas in your home.

-Susan Patterson

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