How to Grow Herbs in a Planter

6 of 8 in Series: The Essentials of Container Gardening

Herbs are perfect plants for container gardens. The pots contain their growth and make it easy to bring them indoors when nights are cool. Creating a container herb garden is a terrific way to raise edible herbs that you use often in your kitchen.

The most important thing to do for potted herbs is keep them watered; potted plants dry out notoriously fast, and cycles of soaking and drying out aren't good for a plant's health, even a tough little herb plant.

The Mediterranean herbs — such as thyme, rosemary, lavender, sage, and oregano — prefer poor, almost sandy soil; they'll rot if too wet. Use a sand or pebble mulch around them.)

Place potted herbs where you won't forget about them, such as right outside the back door or on the patio in full sight of the kitchen window. A window box is a particularly effective and practical way to grow herbs in a container.

Plant herbs in a window box that gets plenty of sun.
Plant herbs in a window box that gets plenty of sun.

Some herbs, such as mints, lemon balm, and lemon verbena, can become garden thugs. They're very invasive, so containers are perfect for keeping them where you want them and preventing their wandering and taking over. (Check for square stems on plants — these traits can indicate that you're dealing with thugs.)

Mixed displays can look great. Fill larger pots with several different herbs or assemble a gathering of individual pots and array them on a deck or patio. You can even tuck a potted herb into your garden proper as an accent, shifting it around as you see fit. If color or interest seems to be lacking, just choose especially decorative or colorful pots — they make a dramatic difference and add to the fun.

Frequent harvesting from potted herbs has an important benefit, by the way. When you snip off the tips, the remaining plant is inspired to grow more thickly and compactly — which looks better in a pot.

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The Essentials of Container Gardening

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