How to Grow an Herb Garden in Pots


Herb gardening is a fabulous way in which to grow plants that are easy to maintain, useful in cuisine, and stay green most of the year. Many herbs are categorized as a perennial, that is they return every year, and can easily be grown in pots. An herb pot allows a gardener or a novice green thumb a great opportunity to produce selective seasonings to cut fresh and take straight to the kitchen. Most herbs can take a full day of sunlight and do not require as much water as annuals.

Step 1

Consider the location where the pot will rest, before digging into an herb pot. Most herbs like sunlight and once the pot is filled with soil, it becomes heavy and difficult to move. Accentuate a deck area or use it to complement an entryway.

Step 2

Select the right pots. This may be as important at the herbs grown in them. Although adaptable to shallow pots, herbs like to root deep, so a big pot may be a better choice. Dress up the standard clay pot with spray paints, faux finishes, or decorative designs.

Step 3

Spray the interior of the pot with tar. Because clay pots are porous, they allow moisture from the soil to evaporate through the sides. Home improvement stores carry the product in the garden area as tree pruning seal. Allow to dry thoroughly.

Step 4

Allow for drainage. Herbs roots do not like to be saturated for extended periods. Ensure that there is an opening in the bottom of the pot and place a 2-inch layer of gravel to aid drainage.

Step 5

Blend together soils. Herbs are tolerable to most soil conditions. Blending clays, sand, humus, and peat, produces a mixture that both holds moisture and allows roots to penetrate. Squeeze the soil in one hand. It should have a degree of elasticity to it and still maintain its shape.

Step 6

Choose the herbs. Select herbs to the individual taste and plant in threes. Pots with many herbs are too busy and become a mess. To plant in threes, select one herb that will grow and spill over the side, one that will stay at a medium height and one that will shoot up tall. Plant thyme to spill over an edge, basil in the middle to grow tall, and oregano along the back to create a border. Together, they create a tapestry that both appealing to the eye and fragrant to the senses.

Step 7

Maintain the pot. Herbs surprisingly like cool weather. Mulch the top layer of the pot and fertilize as needed. Over time, herbs may outgrow the pot and splitting apart plants at the root bundle may be required. Give the new bundle to a friend or start another herb pot.

Tips and Warnings

  • Be sure not to overwater. Mints in a pot can be invasive.

Things You'll Need

  • Pots
  • Soils: clay, sand, peat, humus
  • Gravel
  • Tar


  • University of Illinois Extension: Herb Gardening
  • West Virginia University Extension Service: Growing Herbs in the Home Garden
  • Bonnie Plants: Places to see Vegetable and Herb Gardens around the Country

Who Can Help

  • "The Herb and Spice Companion"; Kathryn Hawkins
Keywords: Herb gardening, Herb planting, Pot gardening

About this Author

John Lightle is a freelance writer and photographer based out of Garland/Dallas, Texas. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including “Texoma Living!,” “Southwest Food Service News,” “The Garland Messenger,” and “Just Labs Magazine.” His photography has accompanied his work and appeared on the cover of “IBEW Journal.”