Not only do they make wonderful, aromatic displays, it’s pretty handy being able to nip out from the kitchen for a basil leaf or three mid-bolognaise preparing.
And it really couldn’t be simpler. I just mixed and matched a medley of herbs for a bit of variety and planted them together in large pots. Easy.
Most herbs are well suited and easy to grow in containers on a patio:
- perennials: oregano, lavender, sage, thyme, mint and rosemary
- annuals: basil, fennel, dill, cilantro, marjoram, parsley, chive, coriander, dill
- biennials: caraway, parsley, chervil
- exotic herbs: curry plant, fenugreek, betel leaf plant
Top tip: buy herbs from a garden centre and not from the supermarket as they are more robust and capable of growing outside.
Which herbs grow best together in pots?
Moisture loving herbs are best grouped together:
- Mint loves sun and water but is best grown on its own as it has a tendency to thrive and take over!
- Avoid mixing herbs that like plenty of water, ie. chives, chervil, coriander with those that like a well-drained soil, ie. rosemary, thyme, sage, bay, and oregano.
- Choose similar sized herbs for the same pot
Fun fact: according to folklore, parsley flourishes best either when sown by the wife rather than by her husband or in gardens of homes where she is master. “Where the mistress is the master, the parsley grows the faster.”
Most herbs have at least one thing in common – they love the sun – although partial shade will often do.
They need as much sun as possible to reach their full flavour and fragrance potential.
Top tip: the general rule is for herbs to get a minimum of 4 to 7 hours of direct sun per day
Herbs that prefer full sun include:
Herbs that prefer partial shade include:
- Lemon balm
Pots dry out quickly due to the sun and wind so they need frequent watering – particularly south facing patios.
Choose pots where excess water can drain freely and easily through openings in the base.
Trimming and Cutting
Herbs must be regularly pinched and pruned to speed up the growth of new dense foliage and prevent the establishment of the seed.
Cut the blooms with scissors or a sharp knife to prevent seeds from forming.
Top tip: trim your plants only on sunny days before noon.
Fun facts about herbs:
- Herbs were mixed into love potions
- Lavendar was put under the mattress to ensure marital passion
- Young lovers carried rosemary as a token of their faithfulness
- Lemon balm was credited with being able to cure a broken heart
And, I’ll leave you with this happy thought:
- Parsley should not be transplanted – it means a death in the family :-/