Container gardening is one of the easiest and most effective ways to have a garden, no matter how little space you have. And while most container gardening is reserved for shrubs and flowering plants, you can quite easily reserve a space for your favourite herbs.
Growing your own fresh herbs is a wonderful experience for both culinary wizzes and those who simply want to have access to herbs for medicinal or other reasons. Fresh herb plants are also rather good at keeping away insects and other pests and they can fill your home with a relaxing fragrance, should you place your herbs indoors or close to entrances.
Most herbs are quite easy to grow and will continue to provide you fresh leaves and flowers for years to come. Unlike many vegetable plants, the lifespan of a herb plant is often a lot longer.
When it comes to taking care of various herb plants, while the maintenance is going to be minimal, there are still quite a few things that you will need to keep in mind.
When container gardening, you will need to take the soil type and the moisture levels of the soil into consideration. Controlling moisture can be a little more difficult when you are container gardening as the soil tends to retain moisture for a lot longer than if the plant had been placed out in a garden bed. Luckily, when using a pot, you do have a bit more control over the moisture levels, depending on the number of drainage holes you have in bottom of the pot.
Planning a Herb Pot Plant Garden
As with any type of gardening, to make sure that yours is a success, you need to start the process by planning your garden. You need to consider what types of pots you’d like to use and you also have to select the right pot sizes for the space you are filling with herb plants.
When planning, you will also have to consider the sunlight, water and soil preferences of each herb you are planting. This is really not as complicated as it sounds, mostly because most herbs will grow quite happily in the same kind of conditions and if there is a problem and the herb plant doesn’t thrive, because it is growing in a pot, it can just be moved, the soil can be enhanced, and the moisture levels can be changed, all according to the plant.
Herbs are not just grown with a purpose, or specific use, in mind. Sometimes herbs are just beautiful to look at, considering that many grow some truly lovely flowers while others have interesting looking leaves.
If you are pairing the herbs with other decorative plants, then make sure that the plants you are growing your herbs alongside, are compatible with the herb. Growing incompatible plants together can result in the plant not growing to its full potential.
Caring for your Herb Plants
To help your herb plants really thrive, you need to keep a few things in mind. The majority of herbs need around 8 hours of sunlight each day, so if you are growing your potted herbs indoors, you should make sure that they will get enough sun. If you live in a really hot climate, then you can get away with limiting the daily amount of sunlight.
To give your herbs the best start, you should choose the right potting mix. The potting mix will not only give your herb plants the right nutrients to give them what they need to grow to their full potential, but the mix you choose will also aid drainage.
Herb plants really don’t need much fertilizer. In fact, some herbs might even die if they are given too much fertilizer. And then there are herbs, like thyme and oregano, which actually do much better when they are under nourished. But while the herbs don’t necessarily need fertilizer, they do need a consistent amount of water.
Finally, you need to make sure that the plant is regularly harvested, even if it is a decorative plant. Harvesting will encourage fresh growth, which will help the plant to become bushier.
Herbs to Grow in a Pot
Seeing that you are growing your herbs in pots, you already know that you have a limited amount of space. If you are growing herbs to use, then don’t get too extravagant with your selection, only grow the herbs that you will actually use. You can ignore this tip if you instead want to grow herbs as decorative plants.
Mint is a really versatile plant and once it starts growing, it is almost unstoppable. Growing your mint in a pot will minimise the risk of it spreading all over the place. Mint has many uses and it comes in many varieties, so depending on what you’d like to use the mint for, make sure that you choose the right one. Popular types of mint plants include peppermint, chocolate mint, strawberry mint, and spearmint, and if you have a big enough pot, you can grow them all in one space.
Parsley is a wonderfully versatile plant and it is one of the most used herbs in the culinary world. The two popular types are the flat-leaved and the curly-leaved parsley, and while both need regular care, they grow extremely well in a pot. To give your parsley a boost, you should use a slow releasing fertilizer.
Having a rosemary bush nearby not only provides you with access to fresh stalks and leaves whenever you need it, but it can also fill your home with an earthy aroma. Rosemary works well in a variety of dishes, and when grown in a large enough pot, it can become bushy. When growing rosemary, make sure that you don’t give it too much water. The herb needs moisture but not full saturation.
If you’d like to make your own pesto, having a basil plant is a must. Basil loves the sun and will not wilt easily so long as you plant it in soil that can easily drain. To make sure that the plant keeps its flavour, you will want to take off any flower buds as they form. Although basil produces rather pretty flowers, the moment it does, the leaves start to lose flavour.
When it is grown out of a pot, oregano can go quite wild and become a ground covering of sorts. But when grown in a pot, it will be contained and will grow nice and bushy. The leaves can be used for all sorts of dishes, the most popular use being pizza toppings. Oregano has a really rich flavour and can also be used to make marinades.