How to Plant Herbs in a Container


Growing herbs in containers allows you to enjoy a supply of fresh flavorful herbs for soups, salads and meals. If your plants produce more than you need, herbs can be picked and then dried or frozen. Container herbs need full sun and plenty of water in order to thrive. If you live in a temperate area, keep container herbs outdoors all year long. In colder climates, place them outside in spring and summer and move them indoors for the winter.

Step 1

Sort your herb plants into two types: annual and perennial. Most herbs are perennial, but Utah State University notes that common annual herbs include basil, chamomile and cilantro. Annuals herbs can be planted together and perennial herbs can grow together, or you can plant one herb per pot.

Step 2

Prepare a soil mix for your container herbs by combining equal parts of sphagnum peat moss, sand and perlite.

Step 3

Fill containers with drainage holes halfway with the soil mix. Using containers with drainage holes ensures your plants won't develop root rot. Utah State University advises each plant receive 1 gallon of soil mix. Since a 12-inch pot can hold 3 1/2 gallons of soil mix, it can support three to four herb plants.

Step 4

Remove the herb plants from their containers. Break apart the root cluster by massaging it with your fingers until all of the roots are loose. Then inspect the roots before planting and trim back any damaged or bruised roots with clippers.

Step 5

Place the herb plants into the prepared containers so they sit with their roots in the soil and at the same depth as they were planted in the container.

Step 6

Add soil mix to fill in the pot. Gently firm the soil mix around the herb plants until the pot is full and the herbs are securely planted.

Step 7

Water the containers so the soil compresses around the plants. Add water until water runs out the drainage holes at the bottom of the container. Then place your potted herbs in a sunny location or south-facing window.

Things You'll Need

  • Sphagnum peat moss
  • Sand
  • Perlite
  • Clippers
  • Water


  • Utah State University: Herb Container Gardens
Keywords: container garden, container herb, 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.