How to Grow Herbs at Home


Herbs add flavor and depth to many dishes. Cuisines worldwide depend on certain herbs to give the cooking their distinct flavor. Where would Mexican cooking be without cilantro? What would Italians do without basil? And the French certainly wouldn't think of cooking without tarragon. Herbs can easily be grown at home, even if you don't have a garden. Grow them in containers on your patio, deck or front porch.

Step 1

Select a location for the herbs that gets enough sunlight. Most herbs need at least four hours of sunlight daily. If you set your herb in a window whose glass is especially thick, make sure it gets a little more than four hours of light, since the thickness of the window can cut down on the strength of the sunlight.

Step 2

Be adventurous and try herbs you don't normally use. Combining different herbs in one pot to represent a cuisine is fun. A Mexican pot could have cilantro, oregano, basil and lemon verbena. An Italian pot could have basil, oregano, marjoram, garlic, parsley, rosemary, thyme and sage. A French pot could have tarragon, chervil and lavender.

Step 3

Cover the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot or container with coffee filters to keep the soil in the pot but allow the water to drain out. Fill the pot to within 4 inches of the top with potting soil and fertilizer per package directions. Mix the fertilizer into the soil. Water to get rid of air bubbles in the soil and settle it.

Step 4

Place the tallest herb in the center of the pot. Plant the other herbs about an inch away from the rim of the pot surrounding the tall herb. This is much closer than you would plant in a garden, but it allows you to plant more of a variety of herbs in one pot. Additional watering and feeding will be necessary to keep the plants growing and healthy. Fill in around the plants with additional soil and water again.

Step 5

Snip off herbs as they grow to use in your cooking. As you snip, you'll be encouraging the herbs to become bushier, resulting in more herbs.

Tips and Warnings

  • Some plants can overwhelm the others. If that happens, give the invasive plant a good pruning.

Things You'll Need

  • 18-inch pots or other containers
  • Coffee filters
  • Potting soil
  • Fertilizer
  • Herb plants in 4-inch pots


  • Italian Herbs
  • Mexican Herbs
  • "The Country Garden"; Charlie Ryrie; 2003

Who Can Help

  • Growing Herbs in Containers
Keywords: herbs in containers, potting herbs, growing herbs in pots

About this Author

Dee Power holds an MBA. She is the co-author of "Attracting Capital from Angels," "Inside Secrets to Venture Capital," "The Making of a Bestseller," the novel "Over Time," and several screenplays. She contributes to several Web sites and is a regular columnist for