How to Grow Herbs in Container Gardens


Small herb plants are ideal for container gardens when you don't have a lot of space, when your yard is shady or when your soil is contaminated or poor quality. Many container herbs are perennial, which means you can keep them alive year-round. Purchase herb transplants from local garden centers or nurseries in the spring then plant them into containers. Enjoy fresh herbs in marinades, sauces, salads or meat dishes.

Step 1

Arrange your plants into groupings or plan to plant one herb per container. Separate out annual herbs (such as anise or basil) from perennials (such as chamomile or lemon thyme) and plant them separately.

Step 2

Select a suitable container with drainage holes in the bottom, since this guards against root rot. Fill the container two-thirds full with a soilless potting medium. These work well because they are quick draining.

Step 3

Remove your herb plants from their plastic containers and place them in the prepared container. Per Utah State University, each herb plant needs about 1 gallon of soil mix, so a 5-gallon pot could hold 5 plants, although you should not crowd the plants densely.

Step 4

Fill the pots to within 1 inch of the top to plant the herbs.

Step 5

Water the newly planted herbs until liquid flows out the drainage holes at the bottom of the container.

Step 6

Place herb containers where they will receive full sunlight. Leave them outdoors unless temperatures fall below 40 F.

Step 7

Mix a liquid soluble 10-20-10 fertilizer with water following the manufacturer's advice, and then store the rest in a water jug. This will be the base fertilizer you use to water your container herbs.

Step 8

Water the container herbs daily using the prepared fertilizer solution until you see water flow from the drainage holes at the bottom, advises the University of Illinois.

Step 9

Harvest herbs at any time by cutting the stalks with scissors.

Things You'll Need

  • Herb plants Containers Soilless potting mix Water 10-20-10 fertilizer Storage container Scissors


  • University of Illinois Extension: Making Herb and Vegetable Container Gardens
  • Utah State University Extension: Herb Container Gardens

Who Can Help

  • Mississippi State University Extension Service: Herbs in the Garden
Keywords: vegetable garden tips, container gardening, container herb garden

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.