Top Five Best Tips About Growing Herbs in Pots

Updated on April 4, 2016

Growing Herbs in Pots is one of the most enjoyable and easiest technique to grow an herb garden that even a novice gardener can do. In this hub, I've listed some of the Top Five Best Tips I've learned about herb container gardening. These information have become useful to me as I grew one potted herbs after another.

Top 5 Benefits of Growing Herbs in Pots

Space saving. Herb container gardening allows you to enjoy herbs even when you don't have enough soil in your backyard. It's also great for urban dwellings such as apartments, dormitories and condominiums where the luxury of space is not often provided.

Flexibility. You can have a flexible garden where you can easily move potted herbs around. Move them to a more shady area when it gets too hot or move them when you feel like re-designing your garden.

Protection. Pots or containers act like barriers that can protect your herbs from weeds, pests and diseases. It's also a good way to keep invasive herbs in control.

Decorative. If you're planting ornamental herbs, what better way to make them more beautiful than to plant them in beautiful, ornamental pots. They come in many shapes, sizes and designs. The choices are endless and as they say, you're only limited by your imagination.

Wintering. You can easily bring your potted herbs indoors to protect them from the frost.

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Top 5 Herbs to Grow in Pots

Basil. It enjoys full sun but not too much direct sunlight. Put it in a partly shaded area during the peak of summer. Being under the sun often, it dries out fast so regular watering may be needed. But it can tolerate infrequent watering as long as it hasn't wilted yet.

Mint. It likes slightly moist soil and partial shade. Mint is a very invasive herb so do not plant together with other herbs in a single container. Don't keep it close with other potted plants either as it propagates easily and often, uncontrollably.

Parsley. Parsley is not very choosy and it thrives in normal growing conditions:partial to full sun and slighty moist to moist soil. Just ensure proper soil drainage as it doesn't like to sit in extremely wet soil.

Rosemary. It grows best in slightly moist and well-drained soil, and under partial to full sun. Like basil, it likes to dry out a little before it needs to be watered. Don't mist and water by soaking to prevent fungal diseases.

Thyme. Thyme can grow in less fertile, but well-drained soil as long as it's expose to full sun and average water. This herb can handle a little neglect as it grows well in hot and dry conditions.

Top 5 Things to Consider When Growing Herbs in Pots

Herb. Although most herb plants are suitable for container, some are easier to grow in pots than the others. Check the growing requirement of the herb you've chosen to plant and make sure that you can meet the conditions they need to grow and thrive.

Container. Choose containers based on the herbs that you want to grow. How many herbs are you going to plant in a container? How tall are your herbs? How long are their roots? Also, deciding where to put your potted herbs can help you pick suitable containers. Having an outdoor container garden means you need sturdier and more durable pots that can withstand the elements and last a long time. For indoor container gardening , you may want to choose ornamental pots that can double as decorations in your home. After you've considered all these factors, make sure that your containers have enough drainage holes. Drainage holes must be small enough to keep the soil in the pot, but large enough to drain water from the soil.

Location. When you pick a location for your potted herbs, whether its indoor or outdoor, make sure that it's favorable for your herbs. Some herbs may require more sun than the others. Some are more susceptible to cold winds and there are other that prefer shady areas.

Potting Soil. One of the biggest mistakes that you can make when growing herbs in pots is using an ordinary garden soil. Garden soil, even if it's rich with nutrients, is just too heavy for your potted herbs. Use two parts of good, sterile potting soil, one part perlite to make the soil 'lighter' and one part compost to give your herbs the nutrient boost they need to grow. Perlite and compost are good potting soil amendments because they help to retain water and make the soil less compact allowing air to pass through.

Fertilizer. Potted plants require more fertilizer because they deplete nutrients quicker than those grown in the ground. Mix in compost with the potting soil and use slow-released organic fertilizers to give a more steady supply of nutrients.

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Terra Cotta PotsPlastic PotsWooden BoxGlazed Clay PotMetal Container
Terra Cotta Pots
Terra Cotta Pots
Plastic Pots
Plastic Pots
Wooden Box
Wooden Box
Glazed Clay Pot
Glazed Clay Pot
Metal Container
Metal Container

Top 5 Containers

Terra cotta. Terra cotta pot is a popular choice for herb container gardening. Its porous, which allows the soil to breathe, and it holds warmth. But it is prone to breakage and dries out quickly.

Plastic. Plastic container is another popular choice because it's lightweight, doesn't break and because it's not porous, can retain moisture better. It usually comes in the shape and color of terra cotta pots, although other designs are also available. But plastic container do not allow air through and when exposed to the elements for a long time, tend to become brittle.

Wood. Wood is good when you want to exude a natural vibe in your garden. You can use wooden barrel, wicker baskets, wooden boxes or troughs.They provide good insulation during the cold season and are durable, especially if they are of good-quality wood. Wood is also considered semi-porous and needs to be lined with plastic sheets to prevent deterioration.

Glazed pot. Glazed pot is prominent in Japanese and indoor gardens because of its aesthetic appeal. It comes in different shapes and colors. It is perfect for windowsill herb gardens. But it is not porous as terra cotta pots and must be fitted with holes to ensure proper drainage.

Metal. Metal container usually come in the form of old tin cans, water cans and even metal bathtubs. Another non-porous material, but they do not break and last a long time. You can even use decorative vintage tin cans for indoor container gardening.

Top 5 Ways to Care for Potted Herbs

Exposing to the sun. Generally, most herbs are sun-lovers, thus, exposing them under the sun is an essential. While others can tolerate minimal exposure, there are herbs that thrive better in full sun. Know the sun requirement of your herbs and adjust accordingly. Outdoors, place your potted herbs in a location where they can get the amount of sunlight they require. Indoors, put them near windows, doors or any openings that receive the most sunlight. But be careful not to place them under direct sunlight for too long because they tend to wilt.

Watering. Herbs in pots must be watered more often because they don't have enough soil to hold water. Although, some herbs prefer to slightly dry out between waterings.

Fertilizing. Fertilize your herbs periodically, or when they look pale and unhealthy. Never use chemical-based fertilizers because it can affect the taste of your herbs. Likewise, these type of fertilizers promote quick rather than slow and healthy growth. Herbs that are grown too fast too soon often have less oils and flavors than those that grew slower and bushier. So go easy when applying fertilizers. If you planted with a good, nutrient-filled potting mix, chances are you won't need to feed your herbs often.

Pruning. Pruning encourages bushy growth, which is how you would like your herbs to be. This is especially true for culinary herbs, the more you use them, the more they will grow. During harvest, make sure to harvest no more than 2/3 of your herbs to allow the leaves to grow back.

Deadheading. Deadheading is the process of removing spent flowers to prevent your herbs from seeding. Once they've seeded, they'll think that their work is done and will stop growing. Sniping off spent flowers will trick them to grow more leaves.

Top 5 Tips About Watering Potted Herbs

  1. Allow potted herbs to moderately dry out, but not wilt, between watering. A good indication that you need to water your potted herbs is if 3 to 4 inches of the soil already feels dry to the touch.
  2. Don't water from above but wet the soil instead. Excess water in the leaves can cause fungal infection and other diseases. You can soak potted herbs in water. Lining the base of your pots with gravel, stones or grit will ensure that water will drain out from the soil. This will also prevent the soil from re-absorbing water if it's sitting on a saucer.
  3. The smaller the pot, the faster it dries out. So water herbs in small pots more frequently.
  4. Terra cotta and unglazed clay pots allow moisture in the soil to evaporate more quickly so the herbs in these types of containers need to be watered more often than those in plastic, metal and glazed pots.
  5. It's best to water during morning before your potted herbs are exposed to the heat of the sun.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers


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      • Patsybell profile image

        Patsy Bell Hobson 

        4 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

        Herb gardeners love to read and share with others. Lots of good information here. Voted up U, I, tweet, Pin.

      • profile image

        H Fleming 

        4 years ago

        I have your top 5 herbs to grow in pots. I love just being able to pop out the back door to get some parsley or basil to add to a dish.

      • profile image


        4 years ago

        In my friend's web blogs they already have provided me on the website rolls, but mine usually is located at the bottom on the listing and does not selection when I place as it does for some individuals. Is this a placing that I have to difference or is this a choice they may have considered? . kgafkafdefke

      • profile image

        L. Dickerman 

        5 years ago

        If basil plant in a clay container 's leaves are drooping, is this because of overwatering or not enough water. It is outside in the sun. Kindly respond asap. Thank you.

      • Gail Meyers profile image

        Gail Meyers 

        6 years ago from Kansas City - United States

        I enjoyed your hub. I love gardening, including growing herbs. Voted up, useful and linked.

      • profile image

        Patio Furniture Bistro 

        8 years ago

        growing herbs in pots is a wonderful way of adding to the elegance and ambience of your patio or deck. The fabulous sents emenating form a few crushed leaves make a great appertiser on balmy summer evening and being able to simple reach over an pick fresh hrebs when you are entertaing or cooking a family barbq is just wonderful. Water retaining soil additives can help prevent the soil drying out that often occurs in exposed patio areas.


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