How to grow herbs in containers

Bring on the Herbs

The current state of my herb garden is sad.

A collection of pots in which I have overgrown, root-bound sage, oregano, nodding onion, anise, mint, rosemary, and wild arugula.  I usually tuck in some green onions, parsley, lettuces, and basil or cilantro (although the latter two don’t really tolerate the limited sun).

This year I plan to dig up the whole thing, give it some yummy compost and start some new seeds.  My thoughts are to plant the usual suspects:

  • sage
  • nodding onion
  • hot n’ spicy oregano
  • anise
  • mojito mint
  • wild arugula
  • rosemary

and a few new ones:

  • tarragon
  • clary sage
  • …?

So what do YOU think…are there any more herbs that I should be growing?  Herbs that do well in containers and part sun are best and I’d love anything that inspires new recipes.  Feedback from those amazing minds out there will only serve to make this years herb garden more luscious than last year.

About the Author : Stephanie RoseAn artistic gardener aiming to feed the body & soul through an urban potager garden & a community veggie plot in Vancouver.View all posts by Stephanie Rose

  1. Jennifer Hammer commented on your post
    Jennifer Hammer commented on your postMarch 28,11

    Jennifer wrote: “I am loving a new herb called Amsterdam celery, its just the leafy part! So good!”

  2. Aimee
    AimeeMarch 28,11

    Wow – your herb garden looked fantastic last year! I think your herb list sounds lovely.

    I’ve never had much luck growing cilantro either, although I’m going to give it another shot this year.

    Last year I had success growing lemon verbena – and could never resist rubbing a leaf between my fingers every time I went past…SO delicious! Plus it makes a wonderful tea and a fabulous sorbet!

    I don’t see thyme on your list…did I miss it? It’s a pretty basic one, but so easy to grow and lots of uses for it in cooking…chervil and marjarom are two others that would work well with thyme and with the anise and with tarragon, if you grow it.

    My friend grows bay leaves – a small tree that produces a bounty of the leaves…I always find her dried bay leaves to be so much better than any I’ve ever bought in a store. Not sure how big of a container a small bay would need, though. They’re also lovely to look at, and they come back each year – at least in northern Pennsylvania they do.

    I’m in New York, and last November I transplanted 2 different kind of sage, 2 oreganos, 1 thyme, and 1 rosemary directly into the ground to see if they would overwinter and make it…all but the rosemary survived – thrived, miraculously. I pruned the old growth off a few weeks ago when I saw new growth coming in, and yesterday I put them back into pots on the patio. (they’d get stepped on if they stayed in the ground). They are doing great, and I’ve saved a few bucks by not having to buy sage, thyme, or oregano this year. It’s the first time I’ve tried this.

    I plan to eventually put them into a half-wine barrel along with some other herbs so we can have an herb-snipping garden right outside the door.

    Good luck with your herbs! I can’t wait to see how they do! Especially the tarragon, which I’ve never grown…keep us posted!

  3. Fi
    FiMarch 28,11

    In summer I like to grow (and I only grow in pots):
    oregano, basil, chives, garlic chives (use as a veg in asian cooking), lettuce, mizuna (a peppery Japanese lettuce), spring onion, tarragon, parsley (likes part sun), calendula & nasturtium (for the edible flowers), sage, rosemary, thyme, lovage, purslane (an ancient greek veg now only really eaten in asia. Great in stirfries, find as a weed & transplant!), vietnamese mint (loves water, use as coriander/cilantro), and I try lemongrass. I also have a bay tree in a pot & regular mint under shadecloth. Hope this helps with your ideas.

  4. kitsapFG
    kitsapFGMarch 28,11

    Most all of my herbs are grown in pots as I am too jealous of my regular garden bed space to give it up to herbs. I need to refresh the soil in my pots this year and do some judicious dividing and replacing of certain items.

  5. Patricia
    PatriciaMarch 28,11

    Parsley, sage, rosemary and…..thyme!

  6. Bindu
    BinduMarch 29,11

    You could try Lemon Balm. I found it in a nursery, here,in Dubai. I don’t get much sun on my balcony but it’s doing really well in spite of that. Not sure if it can take the heat when summer comes along.:)

  7. Kat
    KatMarch 29,11

    You’ve already got my favorite, arugula, on the list. I would go with Cilantro. One of my favorite ways to use it is cilantro lime butter. Here’s a recipe

  8. Daphne Gould
    Daphne GouldMarch 29,11

    I wouldn’t have an herb garden without chives and thyme. And at least two types of each. I had lemon balm at my last garden. I ought to have it again. But it is easy to grow from seed. Maybe I’ll start some next year. Maybe.

  9. Lelo
    LeloMarch 29,11

    Chocolate mint and lemon verbena. Always, always lemon verbena!

  10. KatieLovesDogs
    KatieLovesDogsMarch 29,11

    I love Thai basil. It’s so pretty that you can plant it in your flower beds.

  11. Trashmaster46
    Trashmaster46March 29,11

    Our list of herbs typically includes rosemary, thyme, purple sage, maraschino sage, cilantro, dill (pretty much just for pickling), curry plant, vietnamese coriander, and this year, three garbage cans with a horseradish root in each. There’s always garlic, shallot, scallion, and onion in the ground, and last year started some egyptian walking onions for the first time. We’ll see how that goes!

  12. Grace
    GraceApril 3,11

    I think you’ve made some very delicious suggestions. The clary might need a larger pot though. Love last year’s photo with all those varying shades of green.

  13. Misting
    MistingApril 6,11

    Was those pic’s a before and after, cuz if they were I would love to have your green thumb! Great informational blog… I look forward to more!

  14. Amy
    AmyApril 22,11

    Those are great pics. I can’t wait for my herbs to start growing so I don’t have to rely on the poor quality I get from the grocery store.

  15. Melanie
    MelanieApril 23,11

    Plant lemon balm, although it’s a very hardy perennial and grows huge, you might want to find space in your regular garden. I love the luscious growth in the second picture. I’m so looking forward to getting outside and planting. It’s still winter up here.

  16. Tamara
    TamaraApril 30,11

    I’d love to plant an herb garden but every year, by the time the spring rush is over in the greenhouse, there are no herbs left for me to plant :(

  17. Stacy
    StacyMay 6,11

    Chives! I just tried making some chive olive oil and it’s really tasty and easy. I did a post on it if you want to check it out! I’m in Seattle, so I can feel your pain on the weather. I’m excited to have found your blog!

  18. Michelle's Green Thumb
    Michelle's Green ThumbMay 23,11

    I love herbs too!! Finding perennial plants is great – I tend to transplant them every other year to keep them healthy.

    Parsley will come back for quite a few years if you don’t let it go to seed. I harvest heavily & grow both the curly & flat leaf varieties. Basil – lots, chervil, marjoram (tastes better than oregano but is an annual), summer & winter savory (by far one of the best herbs), tarragon (makes a great olive oil blend), oregano, lovage, chives, lavender, chocolate mint, pineapple mint, sage, thyme, rosemary (recommend keeping it in a pot & moving it inside the greenhouse for the winters), french sorrel (more of a salad green, but treated as an herb due to flavour), borage, sweet cicely, bronze fennel (this is something you’d want to put in the ground because of it’s huge tap root)…. oh there are so many more!!

    Did I mention I love herbs? ;)

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