5 TIPS FOR GROWING HERBS IN CONTAINERS
Herbs are great plants to grow in containers, offering several benefits. They tend to thrive when well looked-after, and are ideal for a kitchen, patio or small outdoor garden, and the convenience is unsurpassed. It’s great to be able to pull a few delightfully fragrant leaves off a stem and add them to your pot whilst creating a flavourful dish! They are a great cost saver too, in our ever-tightening economy, and what’s more, a home grown herb not only saves money but saves the world from one more piece of plastic wrapping!
Here we offer some tips on how to best grow herbs in containers.
1. CONTAINER CHOICE
Not all herbs grow equally in size! Some are really large at full growth and so you need to be cautious as to the size of your container. Choose the container according to the maturity size of the herb you are planting. As a general rule, always buy a container larger than the one you think you need!
These days, there are also a wide variety of containers available for you to choose from. Anything from an old paint tin can to a wheelbarrow are used for potting plants in. Pick a container that will blend in well with its environment. If you’re potting for your kitchen, perhaps a minimalist look of a few terracotta post on the windowsill would fit in best. If you’re potting for your patio, perhaps you’d like to use something more interesting like a concrete planter or a large window box where you can plant a variety together.
2. SOIL & DRAINAGE
Whatever container you decide to use, make sure it has good drainage at the bottom. Add layers of gravel or pebbles to the bottom of the container before adding soil to assist with drainage. Choose a good quality potting soil mix. It is always wise to be as extravagant as your budget will allow when buying potting soil. Best is better! We love using Living Earth’s potting soil and they offer a great compost for soil conditioning before mixing into your pots. Allow at least 3 centimeters space from the top of the container for growth and watering.
It’s important to keep your container herb garden watered as plants in containers will dry out a lot quicker. Most herbs like to be kept moist
3. INDOOR WINTER HERBS
If you have a herb garden outside, it’s a great idea to dig these herb plants up and plant them for indoor growth during the colder winter months. You can pop them into a sunny windowsill spot and watch them thrive, keeping you stocked with delicious soup-and-stew ingredients all winter long.
4. PLANT CHOICES
Most herbs grow very easily in any size or type of containers as their root systems are not massive. Some thrive better than others though, our choice of the best herbs for Container Gardening are: Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme, Parsley, Chives, mint and lemon grass.
If you are planting a variety of herbs into the same container, be sure to first check their watering, soil and sunshine requirements as these may differ.
Most herbs for cooking are perennials and if protected well in winter will keep going for many years.
5. HARVESTING YOUR HERBS
A question we get asked over and over is how often to harvest herbs - it seems there is a fear they will not grow back once picked!
The opposite is true. Herbs should be harvested frequently to produce more foliage – don’t be afraid to pick and use your herbs as regularly as they will allow. You will be rewarded with a better harvest for longer.
If you don’t wish to use them straight away, then you can always freeze them. Believe it or not, herbs freeze quite well in an airtight container.
Our advice is to pick them regularly and USE them regularly, enjoying the flavours and the fragrances as often as you can!
We’re always on the lookout for great ideas when it comes to container planting. Feel free to share your novel herb container planters with us on any of our social media platforms or email them to us for sharing! Or, contact us for any help you might need.
Listen to our recent interviews with Dave from Radio Life and Style as we chat about small gardens.