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How to Grow Herbs in Containers and Pots

Updated on February 6, 2013
Pretty herbs in pots at the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney
Pretty herbs in pots at the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney | Source

Sure it's easy to go out and buy fresh herbs in the grocery store. But fresh herbs are expensive to buy. For the price of one plant, you can buy a couple of packages of different herb seeds and grow all the herbs you want. Store bought herbs may be sprayed with pesticides. If you grow your own, you can be sure your plants are organic and pesticide-free. Home grown and freshly picked herbs are the tastiest and the healthiest for you. If you buy them, you really never know how long they have been on the shelves.

So why not grow your own? It's easy to do. And there are a few benefits to growing herbs in pots instead of in the ground. You can move them around and bring them in for the winter if you want. Or just grow them inside year-round. And if you grow herbs in containers, you do not have to deal with weeding.

There are just a few things to remember when growing herbs in containers:

Make sure you have the right sized container for your plant. If the pot is too small for the plant, the plant will get root bound. The pots I use are 8 inches in diameter and they work well for me. Be sure it has drainage holes on the bottom.

Grow your herbs in fast draining potting soil. One that is equal parts soil, peat moss and vermiculite is a good choice. Regular garden soil is too heavy and it dries out too quickly, plus it may be filled with diseases, pests or weed seeds.

Be sure to water the herb often enough. Soil in containers tend to dry out more quickly, especially in the summer. Check your soil twice a day in the hottest part of summer to keep them from drying out. Keep in mind that different herbs have different water needs. Some, like lavender or rosemary, like it a little drier. Mint lives better in moister soil. Check the seed packet for information.

A variety of herbs in a variety of containers
A variety of herbs in a variety of containers | Source

The easiest herbs for growing in containers:

Basil is an annual that likes to grow in full sun or a sunny windowsill. Plant it in well drained soil and keep it moist. Pick the leaves often, it actually grows faster if you pick. It is best known for its uses in Italian cooking and is an essential ingredient in spaghetti sauce.

Chives like a sunny or partly shady area outdoors. Inside, place your plant near a sunny windowsill. They prefer rich soil, and will tolerate either dry or moist conditions. Chives have a mild oniony flavor and are best known for use with baked potatoes. I like to add it to my homemade soups.

Parsley seeds take a long time to germinate. Soak seeds on warm water for a night to soften them and speed things up. Plants like sun or partial shade and rich, moist soil. To harvest, pick stalks close to the outside of the plant first. Just picking the top leaves will weaken the plant.

Mint is actually best grown in containers, indoors or out. It spreads rapidly and can be invasive. Mint plants like their soil moist and thrive best in partial shade, but it will survive anywhere. Be sure to pick it often so it doesn't get too big for the pot. You will have to dig it up and divide it every year or two. My favorite way to use mint is to pinch a few leaves and add it to boiling water to make mint tea.

How to Grow Herbs in Containers



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    • daisyjae profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for stopping by, Sheri faye!

    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 

      5 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      I love growing and cooking with fresh herbs. And it is so easy. Thanks for this great hub!

    • daisyjae profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Canada

      Yes, they do smell lovely don't they? That's one of the things i like the most about my windowsill garden. Thanks for reading and commenting, moviemaster.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi daisyjae, I am growing some herbs in pots this year, they taste delicous and smell fabulous, thanks for a great hub!

    • daisyjae profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for reading and commenting, jinlei123.

    • daisyjae profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Canada

      I am glad you found my hub useful, alicia.

    • jinlei123 profile image


      7 years ago from I was in China


    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for this information. I love adding herbs to food, for both their taste and their health benefits. I'm going to grow some herbs in containers this summer, so your hub will be very useful.


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