Growing herbs in pots is a great option for many home gardeners. Not everyone has the yard space for a garden, and herbs thrive in containers. Containers make it easy to grow herbs in the city, on a small deck, or on a section of a patio. It is also easy to move containers around as needed. Containers are relatively low maintenance; they get fewer pests and will rarely grow weeds. These simple tips will help ensure that potted herbs continue to grow and thrive all season long.
Select the Right Size Pots
Herbs may seem small, but they have large root systems that require plenty of space. This is particularly true if you will be planting multiple herbs in each pot. Select herbs that seem too big at first, at least twelve inches in diameter, the herbs will grow and their roots will need the extra room in order to thrive.
Don’t Over Water Herbs
Many novice gardeners make the mistake of over watering their herbs. More water is not always better for the plant. In fact, most herbs prefer to dry out between watering. For this reason, heavier, less frequent watering is best. Most herbs do best in containers that allow for good soil drainage. This means selecting a potting soil that does not retain too much moisture and a pot with holes in the bottom to allow the soil to drain out any excess water. Clay pots are a good choice as they also help soil to dry out faster.
Give Spreading Herbs Their Own Pots
Some herbs like lemon balm and most mints will spread out to fill any container. This means that they will take over a pot if they are planted in the same container as another herb. To ensure the survival of both herbs, be sure to plant spreading herbs in pots that they can fill.
Know the Sun
Plant herbs with similar sun requirements together and place them according to their needs. Many herbs, including basil, thyme, and rosemary, thrive in full sun. This means they need at least six hours of sun each day in order to be healthy and happy. A south-facing location is often best for full-sun herbs. You will want a location that gets a lot of sun in the morning. Other herbs, such as most types of mint, require part-sun location and will not thrive in full-sun. Aim for a location that gets sunny for a short period of time in the afternoon. Keep the tags that come in the herbs or the outside of the seed packets, you may want to refer to the care instructions later on
Use What You Grow
It’s tempting to let herbs grow larger without taking clippings. Snipping herbs won’t hurt their growth, many herbs actually benefit from regular clipping. Basil, for example, will flower if allowed to grow without being clipped back. When basil flowers, it’s taste is permanently altered making it much less appealing in the kitchen. Herbs will quickly grow back from being cut and often grow even larger and healthier than before.