If you’re longing to plant an herb garden, all you need is a little space on your patio, front steps or fire escape to begin. Container gardens are very compatible with herbs, as long as you’re careful about selecting the right ones!
Before considering what exactly you’d like to plant, keep in mind that herbs thrive in sunlight. Pick a location where your plants will receive at least eight hours of direct sun exposure every day. If you must grow your herbs indoors (on a windowsill, for example), pick the sunniest spot possible.
If you normally go heavy on fertilizer, lay off when it comes to your herbs. Fertilizer tends to detract from the fragrance and flavor of herbs, which flourish in lean soil. You’ll also need to do your research on watering. Most herbs favor dry conditions, but some require more moisture. Try using a soil-less potting mix to support drainage and allow room for roots to expand.
Planting perennial herbs? You can keep them in containers year-round, provided the pot is large (holding at least five gallons of soil) and made of the right material. Choose a container made from plastic, which withstands winters better than materials such a ceramic or clay.
Now that you’ve set the stage for a successful container garden, it’s time to select your herbs! Here are some potential candidates:
Mint: Mint can become invasive if it’s not confined to a pot, so a container garden is the ideal home for this herb. Mint plants need full sun or partial shade, and do well in many types of soil. They are perennials.
Rosemary: This Mediterranean shrub thrives where it’s hot & dry, and needs plenty of sunshine. Make sure soil is well-drained. If you live in an area prone to droughts, Rosemary is usually hardy enough to survive them.
Basil: This herb’s an annual, and it does well in fertile, moist soil. If you’re planning on planting a combination of herbs in one large (minimum five-gallon pot), consider mixing basil with parsley or thyme. If your basil will be planted solo in a smaller container, choose a variety such as “Spicy Bush,” which is more compact.
Cilantro/Coriander: Plant this herb in well-drained soil and give it plenty of sunlight. You’ll need a container garden that’s at least 12 inches deep to acccomodate for cilantro’s long taproot.
Chives: Chives should be planted in well-drained potting soil that’s rich with organic matter. They’re hardy enough to sustain all seasons, so you can leave them outside all year.