Growing herbs in containers is incredibly simple and cost-effective.
- Choose the right container with adequate drainage holes to prevent waterlogged soil.
- Pick a quality potting mix that retains moisture but allows excess water to drain.
- Opt for herbs that suit your climate and indoor conditions, like oregano, chives, or lemon balm.
- Ensure your herbs get enough sunlight, ideally six hours a day or more for vigorous growth.
- Water the plants regularly, keeping the soil moist but not soaked to foster healthy roots.
To start with, I select a container that has good drainage to keep my herbs’ roots from sitting in water. I prefer terra cotta pots, which I find quite affordable and effective for maintaining the health of my herbs. They let the roots breathe, reducing the risk of root rot. I always make a point to use a high-quality potting mix, which is crucial for the success of my indoor garden. It’s a minor investment that pays off with healthier plants.
I choose herbs that are known to thrive indoors, like oregano and chives. Lemon balm is also a great choice, not just for its delightful scent but also for its insect-repelling properties. I place my pots on a sunny windowsill where they can soak up at least six hours of sunlight every day. This way, they receive ample light without me having to spend extra on grow lights.
Regular watering keeps my herbs in peak condition, but I pay careful attention not to overwater. I check the soil moisture with my finger; when the top feels dry, it’s time for a drink. This method is quick and ensures I am not giving them more water than they need. With these steps, I enjoy a steady supply of fresh herbs right at my fingertips, and it’s all incredibly easy and low-cost.
Whether you’re hoping to add mint to your tea or sprinkle oregano onto your pizza, growing your own supply of herbs is simple and rewarding. “I always recommend container gardening for herbs like mint, which can take over an outdoor space if not contained,” suggests Julia Hodges, a seasoned practitioner in the field of plants, gardening, and growing food. The popularity of herbs is growing among commercial growers because herbs make a great addition to any home garden. If you’re running low on space outdoors, continue reading to find essential herbs to grow in containers.
Herbs add color and flavor to your dishes and greenery to your home garden or window sills. In addition, adding herbs around your home or setting up containers near your outdoor garden provides the aromatic benefits of repelling insects.
Trays, tubs, and pots are alternatives for growing herbs that offer versatility for moving your herbs into sunny spaces and partial shade when temperatures get too high.
Herbs I Grow in Containers
Herbs grown in containers are more accessible to use and harvest as needed, especially in colder months. Some herbs benefit you more when planted in containers as their growth habits in pots won’t spread through your garden bed.
You don’t need to worry about your herbs surviving harsh winters outside with overwintering them indoors where you retain control over temperature. Continue reading about which fresh herbs to grow right outside your kitchen door.
Herbs are among the most simple plants to grow, especially in pots. Thanks to their size and low maintenance requirements, it is simple to know how to grow herbs in containers.
Their ease of growing also makes them excellent additions to your houseplant collection. Growing different herbs in pots has virtually no downside, and with our list of suggested herbs, your indoor herb garden is just around the corner.
What herbs grow well indoors? Read on to find out and pick several to enjoy throughout the year.
Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
The best time to plant oregano in pots varies based on your weather. In a cooler climate, plant oregano beginning in early spring up until the end of the season in summer.
In a warmer climate, without fear of frost, one of the fall herbs to grow is oregano. Plant oregano in fall or winter when the average temperature is 60-75°F.
There are different varieties of oregano, and which one you grow influences the size of the pot.
Regular oregano rarely grows taller than 18 inches, but smaller varieties like creeping or golden oregano are grown in wide, six to eight-inch deep pots. Tall types like Lebanese or Mexican oregano require a pot at least 12 inches deep.
Sow your seeds in a pot filled with regular potting soil. Water moderately the first time, and after that, only water when the soil’s surface feels dry to avoid overwatering.
When growing oregano indoors, you may have to deal with common garden pests like mites or aphids. Pick off tiny pests with your fingers or mist with a water bottle, but be careful not to make your leaves overly damp in the process.
Marjoram (Origanum majorana)
Marjoram is a perennial herb from the mint family and is often confused with oregano, but it is a different herb with sweet pine and citrus flavors.
To grow marjoram as a container herb from seeds, sprinkle five to ten fine seeds in a potting mix and cover with a light layer of compost.
Cover ⅔ of the pot with cling film before placing the pot in a sunny spot that receives a breeze. The temperature in the area should be around 70-77°F to allow the seeds to germinate after a week.
As part of the grass family of plants, lemongrass is commonly used for medicinal purposes. Other plants in this family are used as culinary herbs for their lemony scent.
To add lemongrass to your container garden, start with a seed tray filled with a mixture of organic compost. With these herbs to plant in winter, sow your seeds one inch apart and ¼ inches deep and cover with the potting soil in the tray.
Mist your seeds with water, stretch plastic wrap across the tray, sealing the edges. Place the tray where it will receive good light.
Remove the plastic wrap once a week to water the seeds. You should see signs of germination in 30 days at most or in as little as ten days. Remove the plastic wrap once your seedlings grow up to one inch in height.
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
Like onions and growing garlic in pots, chives are among home gardeners’ favorite herbs for container gardening due to their versatility and ability to go with any dish as a garnish.
Chives are great to grow indoors, and as long as they receive sunlight for at least six hours, you can snip parts for your dinner in a few weeks.
Sow seeds ¼ inch deep in seed mix and keep the pot in a warm location with indirect sunlight. Chive seeds germinate best in temperatures between 60-70°F, but seeds do grow in a temperature range of 50-85°F.
You should see growth in one to two weeks, and your chives are ready to transplant in four weeks once they are two to three inches tall.
Coriander and Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)
You may think coriander and cilantro are different herbs, as they are not often used interchangeably in recipes or when discussing cuisine.
Coriander is an annual plant in the same family as carrots and celery. The leaves of this plant are commonly called cilantro, the Spanish word for coriander.
To help with germination when planting coriander seeds, remove the husk. Because coriander has a long taproot, we recommend sowing seeds into the final pot where you want your plant to grow.
Sow seeds ¼ inch deep and place its pot in a sunny location. Water your plant to keep the soil evenly moist, and as your herb grows, avoid watering the plant itself, focusing on the soil.
Attention to where you’re watering helps avoid powdery mildew. Feed your plant bimonthly with nitrogen-rich organic fertilizer.
When using cilantro for a recipe, note that you can substitute dry herbs for fresh but the measurement is different. Check to be sure so you don’t over or under-season your food.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Although technically a member of the mint family, lemon balm is unique for its lemony taste, making it a favorite for use in tea. Growing it in a pot on the deck or patio is also the way to repel flies and mosquitoes naturally, as they dislike the scent.
You won’t find lemon balm in grocery stores, so growing your supply is the only way to have this herb fresh and at the ready.
Starting from seed is an option, but lemon balm is a slow grower when starting from seed. Buy a plant from a nursery and use its cuttings to expand your container garden quickly.
Using a sharp blade, cut your lemon balm plant at an angle below a node that is ideally one-third of the way down from the top of its branch. Remove leaves from the bottom nodes of your cutting.
Fill a jar with water so that only the leafless portion of the cutting is submerged. Roots will grow in about a week and be long enough for planting, though you may want to wait for the roots to reach at least one inch.
Fill your container with well-draining potting soil and carve out a hole in the middle for your cutting. Fill in the soil around your plant and water well to help with growth.
Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)
Tarragon is a herbaceous perennial belonging to the same family as sunflowers and is grown for its leaves that are popular in culinary dishes.
Moderate sunlight and high-quality soil that holds moisture well are preferred, but tarragon does not enjoy wet conditions and is a herb that is tolerant to drought.
Due to its temperamental nature, tarragon is among the best herbs to grow in containers according to commercial growers.
Tarragon requires fast-draining soil to avoid rotting, so it is essential to plant it in a location where you can control the soil and drainage. Being able to move your tarragon pot is necessary for temperature control.
Before planting, germinate your tarragon seeds by placing them on a damp paper towel in the sun. Allow up to two weeks for your seeds to germinate, but completing this task outside the pot saves you time not tending to a pot that may never sprout.
To grow in a container, lay gravel on the bottom of your pot and fill it with well-draining potting soil mixed with garden soil.
Lemon Thyme (Thymus citriodorus)
Lemon thyme, or citrus thyme, is a perennial plant in the mint family with a distinctive lemon scent. Lemon thyme is typically cultivated for culinary use or as ornamental or medicinal plants.
Grow lemon thyme in a 12-inch container with similar depth that has drainage holes and fill it with potting soil made for houseplants.
Lemon thyme requires a lot of sunlight when growing indoors, so leave it on a windowsill to receive full sun. Lemon thyme is drought-tolerant but does require watering when the top layer of its soil feels dry.
During its summer growing season, water with an all-purpose fertilizer by diluting ¼ fertilizer in the water. Fertilizer replenishes the soil with the necessary nutrients your growing plant has absorbed.
Herbs I Can Grow in Containers with Other Herbs
Multiple herbs may grow well together in a single container, but some perennial herbs thrive when taken indoors to grow during the winter. Keep this in mind when looking at what herbs grow well together in containers.
Many culinary herbs come from the Mediterranean and enjoy full sun and arid soil. Some Mediterranean herbs that grow well together include thyme, rosemary, marjoram, oregano, and lavender.
Lemon thyme and lemon verbena are the best herbs to grow together for aromatic benefits. The roots of your lemon thyme grow around the roots of your verbena plant to help retain moisture.
Herb height and maintenance requirements are also important factors when pairing herbs. A tall herb like fennel may not be visually appealing in a pot with a smaller herb and may become top-heavy, tipping your pot over as it grows.
Depending on your watering habits, you may want to select drought-tolerant herbs to grow together if you accidentally skip watering. Herbs like basil and parsley enjoy moist soil, but rosemary, thyme, and sage enjoy drier soil conditions.
You can grow these herbs outside, too, but rodents sometimes like them as much as we do. To keep squirrels away from pots and containers you put outdoors, sprinkle some cayenne pepper over the soil to discourage them.
My Best Options for Growing Herbs in Containers
Plastic bins or tubs work well for planting herbs in containers, but there are more effective options for growing herbs in containers.
Terra cotta and clay pots are some of the best containers for growing herbs in pots, allowing air to come through the root zone.
Plastic pots are ideal for growing herbs and are typically lighter and easier to move when relocating your herbs.
Small pots that hang from the ceiling are practical options for growing herbs in containers if you run out of room for your indoor herb garden.
When selecting a pot, pick one with good drainage holes to avoid your herbs becoming waterlogged after watering. When watering, place trays under your pots to prevent water staining after your soil drains.
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