You might find it surprising but growing herbs in pots outdoors can be quite easy. In fact, you don’t even have to have a special “potted” herb garden to reap the rewards of having plants all year round. Pots of herbs, also called herb gardens, can be used just like they are for home herb gardening: simply use fresh flowers to add flavor to your meals, and put in some soil, water and fertilizer and let them grow. Of course, some herbs do better than others and some herbs need more than others.
If you’re looking into growing herbs in pots, you probably already know that some require more frequent watering and pruning than do other plants. For example, mint needs to be watered often during the summer, and the leaves should be rained off in the winter. Rosemary and chives will grow very well with periodic water logging, but the mint is very stubborn. Garlic, on the other hand, can be successfully planted in pots during any season, although you should keep an eye on the growing season and make sure you don’t over-water. Herbs are generally not bothered by frost, so long as they get regular watering.
A favorite among herb gardeners is growing herbs in containers. You can buy containers of all shapes, sizes and varieties – even round containers that look like small porcelain vases! You can also buy ready-made pots, but they tend to come with their disadvantages. The problem with container gardening is that the herbs typically grow on the bottom, so if that’s the direction you want to take them, then it means you’ll have to tilt your container garden downward at least a little. The result is that any soil your herbs need to stay moist on the bottom gets wetter, and you end up having to water the plants more often.
Mint, basil and thyme are three of the most popular herbs for window space. All three can be planted right in your kitchen windowsill or on the windowsill roof. If you’re growing herbs that will grow to be tall (or reach the ceiling), then you may want to anchor your herb garden to a sturdy trellis. Just be sure the trellis is securely anchored and made of wood, not plastic, because the last thing you want is your herbs falling off the roof!
Although many people think they can grow herbs from seed, it is actually easier to grow them from cuttings. Cuttings can be purchased at almost any garden center when you’re planning to start growing herbs in pots outdoors. When you purchase dill, mint, or thyme cuttings, you’ll need to plant them in moist soil and pot them in peat or wood chips. Don’t plant your dill, mint or thyme too close together. This is one of the most common mistakes new herb gardeners make!
Basil is another perennial herb that prefers the cooler climate. In fact, it’s the most popular for indoor herb gardens. It does well in most areas of the country; however, if you live in an area with hot summers and harsh winters, basil will not thrive. This herb will also do best in an area that receives a lot of light. It will do best in an area with approximately four hours of morning sunshine each day and about six hours of evening sunshine.
Chives is a very easy herb to grow. It is primarily used as a seasoning for meats, poultry and fish. You can easily purchase live plants at a nursery and have them transplant into containers right away. The chives plant will tolerate minimal moisture, so it’s not necessary to water it excessively when planting it. Keep an eye on the plant as it matures. As it starts to yellow it will soon become a less attractive plant, so keep trimming it as it grows.
To get the most from your herbs try to transplant them as soon as they have finished blooming. After the first year, most herbs will establish a deep root system so you don’t have to worry about transplanting them every year. Most of the herbs that should be planted in a container garden are those that are annuals, however there are some perennials that do well in container gardening as well. There are some herbs that are commonly used as kitchen herbs such as Rosemary, mint and thyme. If you are trying to decide which herbs to use in your home herb garden, take into consideration what season they bloom and their growing conditions before planting.