Potted herbs are an easy way to liven up a home-cooked meal without committing to the effort of a full-blown vegetable garden. Besides their culinary qualities, most herbs also lend style to container gardens. Most herbs are so prolific that if they are planted in a sufficient size pot they grow big enough for you to harvest all you need while it continues to look full and lush on a window ledge or balcony.
These are good herbs to grow in containers:
Perennial Herbs (return year after year)
Perennial herbs suited to container culture include rosemary, lavender, sage, thyme, oregano, chives, mint and fennel.
- Thyme and oregano grow as low groundcovers and make great filler around the taller herbs like rosemary, sage and lavender .
- Fennel and chives make a good potted pairing as they both have an upright growth habit and interesting leaves.
- Mint should be left to its own pot. It has aggressive runners (horizontal branches near the base producing new plants) that can take over other plants. There are many types of mint — spearmint, peppermint, apple mint, chocolate mint, pineapple mint, etc. — that can be mixed and matched in single pot, making for a flavorful herbal infusion when harvested together.
Annual Herbs (last for one growing season)
Annual herbs are divided into cool season (cilantro, parsley) and warm weather (basil, dill) plants. They can be mixed in with the perennials as fillers or combined in their own pots.
- Basil comes in many interesting choices, including several with purple-tinged leaves, and makes a good summer filler for herb containers.
- Dill is another warm weather choice, which is valued for its lacy leaves.
- Cilantro and parsley are the two main cool weather herbs in the annual category. Their deep green leaves make them a good accompaniment for edible flowers like pansies, calendula and nasturtium so you can round out the herb garden with a bit of color.
If you’re looking for more small-space gardening ideas, check out Limited Space Gardening for Urban Lifestyles.