How To Plant Up An Herb Container

How To Plant Up An Herb Container

Herbs are tasty, healthy, easy and cheap to grow and need little space

Fresh herbs picked then used immediately have so much more flavour than dried herbs or even fresh herbs bought from the supermarket, which will have been picked days before you buy them. An herb container placed in a sunny spot just within reach of the kitchen door is so easy to create and maintain, even if you don’t have much space you can plant up a trough for the windowsill. Buy the plants from a garden centre, don’t use the potted herbs from supermarkets as they are not hardened off and will more than likely turn their toes up and die as soon as they get cold.

Herbs for Asian cookery:

Holy basil, Thai basil, lemon basil, garlic chives, coriander, Vietnamese coriander, lemongrass,  mint, Vietnamese mint (recommend you grow the mint in a separate pot as it is a bit of a thug and will swamp the other plants)

Herbs for Mediterranean cookery:

Basil, bay leaves, chervil, chives, coriander, fennel, marjoram, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme

Herb rosemary

Herbs for Middle Eastern cookery:

Caraway, fennel, hyssop, mint, oregano, savory, thyme

Herbs for Mexican cookery:

Coriander, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, thyme

We have chosen to plant a Mediterranean themed pot so are using: lavender, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme.

You will need:

  • plants
  • compost
  • container
  • crocks (pieces of broken pot) or gravel

Make sure the pot has drainage holes in the bottom, cover with a layer of crocks or gravel.

Fill the pot with a low nutrient, well-draining compost such as John Innes Seed compost; if you use a high nutrient compost the herbs will put on a lot of sappy growth and this dilutes the taste, they need to be hard grown to produce the most intense flavour. Leave a gap of about 10cm (4”) at the top of the pot.

Arrange the plants in the pot, put the tallest in the centre or at the back if the container is going against the wall.

Purple sage

Plant the herbs so the top of the soil in the pot is about 2.5cm (1”) below the pot rim; this is to allow for watering, so the water drains through the compost and doesn’t run off the top.

Fill in any gaps with compost.

Water and place in a sunny spot. Raise the container off the ground using pot feet or stones; this ensures that the water drains clear away from the pot and doesn’t clog the drainage hole with silt.

Keep the compost just damp.

Angela Slater

Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas.