Herbs in Containers

You can grow one herb in each container for a simple design.

You can also plant multiple types of herbs in one pot. Chives, mint, basil, rosemary, cilantro, and a jalapeƱo pepper share a home in this long container on a deck near the kitchen door.

Don’t have much space? Many herbs grow beautifully in containers. Here’s everything you need to know.

Put containers anywhere there is a source of water and plenty of sunshine.

You can grow one herb in each container for a simple design

In this lovely collection of containers, each pot is growing one type of herb, including rosemary, thyme, cilantro, and chives. This is a simple and classic design technique.

For anyone in wheelchair or who has trouble bending over, a large pot is the next best thing to a raised bed.

Your container needs six hours of sun each day.

Use a premium-quality potting mix. DON’T use garden soil; it can be too dense and infested with disease or nematodes. After a year, empty the old soil, which loses its original texture, into a compost pile and replace with new. In cool climates where decomposition is slower, a 2-year rotation is usually okay.

Before planting, mix timed-release fertilizer into the soil at the rate recommended on the label. Or, fertilize with Bonnie Herb and Vegetable Plant Food according to label directions.

The Container

Containers must have drainage holes and be large enough to accommodate the roots as they grow.

Put heavy pots on casters to make it easier to move them around.

Consider a spaghetti tube drip irrigation system if you have many pots clustered in a single place that is easy to run water to. It will make watering a breeze.

Suggested Herbs

Many herbs require drier soil and lower humidity. Pebble mulch helps accomplish these conditions.

Mulching herbs with white pebbles helps keep the foliage healthy in humid climates. The pebbles, which dry out fast, reflect light and keep the damp soil from creating even more humidity for the plants.

All herbs will grow in containers.

Combine herbs according to their shape so there is room for more than one in a pot. For example, pair upright rosemary with creeping thyme. If the pot is large enough, you can add sage or chives, too.

A large strawberry jar is a perfect vessel for compact herbs that you only use a pinch at a time. These include mint, oregano, thyme, sage, and rosemary (in the top of the jar). See our article, Herbs Well Suited to A Strawberry Jar, in the container gardening section of the Gardening Library.

In humid climates, use pea gravel mulch in the pot to help keep leaves from rotting.

12 Comments

Vikki

Hi – I would like to grow Garlic!
The garlic that can be purchased in my area (Windsor) is HORRIBLE!!!!
One entire bulb does not even give the flavour of one clove of good garlic. What we have available to us here is imported from China……Ugh,
Can I grow garlic and can it be grown in a container???
And to push a little further, can it be grown inside on a window sill in the winter months???
Help, need a good garlic….
Thanks,
Vikki

Danielle Carroll

Hello Vikki,
It may be a little tricky growing garlic indoors – it has such a long, cool growing season. I see there is a Windsor in California so I am including the growing guide from the extension syste. If you are located somewhere else, let me know, and I will find the growing guide for that area. – danielle, Bonnie Plants

Sy Kaczmarek

Will thyme winter over in a poit in Wisconsin out side

Danielle Carroll

Hello Sy,
Yes, it will if it is winter protected properly. You can also bring it in during the cold months. Here are the specifics on growing thyme in Wisconsin. If you grow lemon thyme, try these Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies! – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

jessica hickman

i would like some ideas on companoin planting of herbs as they all don’t have the same needs ie water ,sun,fertilizer thank you

Danielle Carroll

Jessica,
Most herbs flourish in full sun. Basil, thyme, oregano, sage, oregano all grow well in the warmer parts of the year. Some herbs that enjoy the cooler weather are dill, cilantro, and parsley. Herbs also do well when planted in a strawberry jar together. All the herbs are listed here with there growing habits.

Andy

Hi,

I am trying to plant culinary herbs together in a container that is about 18 inches in diameter and about 10 inches deep. I would like to plant sweet basil and two other herbs/vegetables in this container. What are my best options as far as choosing best complimentary culinary herbs or vegetables to go with basil? I already have lavender and rosemary in my garden so I would like to get something else. Is the pot size sufficient for your recommendation or should I go larger?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Andy,

The smaller herbs can be grown successfully in a 10 inch diameter pot. So you may be able to grow 2 in the container you are considering. Try thyme paired with basil. The basil is tall, bushy, and upright. The thyme may creep over the edge. Mint grows well in containers too, but has a habit of taking over. Here, you will find commonly grown herbs and vegetables and suggested container sizes.

Happy Gardening,
Danielle

Callee

Hello!
I see that you have various herbs planted with a jalapeno plant. Could I plant oregano, thyme or parsley with a jalapeno plant?
Thank You,
Callee

Kelly Smith

Hi Callee,

Yes, these herbs will grow well with a pepper plant in a container. Be sure to allow enough room for all the plants you choose. For a pepper and a couple of herbs, an 18 to 20-inch container should work. Good luck!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

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