Yes, I have ‘traveling’ Container Herb Gardens. At least that is what my friends call them as one day they may find a lovely container herb garden in with the apple trees. On their next visit the same collection of containers may be in front of the barn as eye candy or possibly in the meadow as a focal point.
I love growing herbs in pots or containers and having a container herb garden wherever I choose! Why you ask, for me it is not a matter of necessity but a matter of wanting to have a Container Herb Garden in any location I select because of their fragrance, beauty, convenience, and the bonus of companion plants.
A container herb garden does not have to be stationary unless you want it to be. The whole point of container gardening is that they are versatile, adaptable, and mobile. Being able to move your potted herbs around to create vignettes including indoors is a nice benefit of growing herbs in pots.
Having a container herb garden at your front entry way or leading up to it adds beauty and variation to the landscape and may also improve the value of your property.
Herbs grown in smaller pots or containers can be easily picked up and carried to a new location. The same can be done with large containers; moving them is easy as long as you have a plant dolly, a platform with wheels, under the container. If we are in for a hailstorm or downpour, I can move the plants under the eves or to an area of protection.
These pots can be moved indoors and the herbs grown there. Another nice benefit is as the weather turns cold in the fall, you can bring your potted herbs in and keep them growing over the winter and still enjoy your Container Herb Garden!
I enjoy planting herbs in window boxes and hanging baskets for their beauty, fragrance and as companion plants. I also use them as an aid in insect control.
A container herb garden may be a matter of necessity if you do not have a yard, garden, or the space. It might just be the perfect solution if you live in an apartment and have a balcony or large window for gardening.
Herbs are adaptable and can be grown almost anywhere in any type of pot or container. They can be indoors as well as outdoors. They can be grown vertical as well as traditional horizontal.
Growing herbs in pots can be appealing due to the vast array of containers available. The key is to have a container that provides good drainage. If there are no holes in the bottom and the container is not glass you can drill holes in it using a small drill bit or even a Dremel tool. For containers without holes that cannot be drilled, put a layer of gravel or small rocks in the bottom, this will help with drainage.
Being creative with your choice of containers makes it all the more fun to plant them and create your masterpiece container herb garden. You can use old shoes, boots, pots, dishes, teapots, spittoons, jars, terracotta pots, seashells, baskets, tree stumps, hollowed fallen trees, an old empty hornet’s nest, even an old bird nest, garage cans, waste baskets, buckets, old wheel barrows, old wagons, toys, sinks, toilets, bathtubs, etc.
Hanging baskets can consist of many of the same items including moss-lined baskets and even mesh grocery bags.
Planters can be made out of hypertufa in any shape desired. They are resilient and make a great addition to your container garden.
Tips on Containers:
- The mesh grocery bags only hold up for one season before starting to rip and fall apart.
- All containers require some kind of air space under them if possible.
- Wooden containers should not be placed flat on the surface (ground, deck, table etc), as they will rot. They need air space under them. Place the container on something to keep it off the surface, just an inch above the surface will do.
- Terra cotta pots must be soaked in water for 24 hours prior to using them or they will act as a wick and draw the water out of the soil.
- Always wash the containers prior to using them to prevent the spread of any diseases.
Whether an outdoor or indoor container herb garden, they need the same growing requirements that outdoor garden herbs need. This is very easy to do. Just like all plants herbs must have the 3 main ingredients in order to grow and be healthy: sunlight, water and soil.
Here is the key to using containers:
- Pot must provide good drainage
- Herb must receive light, water, and soil
- Do not over fertilize. They require very little plant food.
- Keep them pruned and remove dead flowers.
- Repot once a year to encourage new growth.
Sunlight or Artificial Light
Most herbs prefer a sunny location such as a southern or west exposure. If growing herbs indoors placing them by windows with southern or west exposures will provide the right amount of sunlight. If you not have windows with these exposures, you can supplement the light with artificial light or grow lamps. All herbs require light however different herbs will have different light requirements.
Sunlight or Shade
Try to group herbs together with the same light requirements. This will make it easy to place them in full sun, filtered sun, or shade.
Herbs prefer a location with good drainage. Make sure your pots or containers have drainage holes or add gravel to them. They do not like a lot of fertilizer or rich soil. If pots are outdoors they’ll need to be watered more often due to evaporation from the wind and heat. A good way to help preserve the moisture in your herb pots or containers is to line them with baby diapers. The padding in the bottom of the baby diapers contains polymers which helps the soil retain the moisture in the containers. If indoors and the air or climate is dry misting will keep the herb plants healthy. Do not over water herbs as it will cause rot and can kill them.
The key to the potting soil or potting medium is aeration. A commercial potting soil or medium will do that as it contains the right balance of ingredients. The potting soil should do the following:
- Provide fast drainage of water through the soil
- Have air in the soil after the water drainage
- Sterilized potting soil will be free of diseases and weeds
There are many different types of potting soils or mediums. Some are sterilized, have fertilizer, and a form of polymers in them. Read the labels, talk with the nursery staff or check with your local county extension office to see what is recommended for your area. The majority of herbs prefer a potting soil with a neutral ph.
For more information please sign up for our free mini-course on growing herbs and check out our recommended reading.
Growing herbs whether indoors or outdoors is rewarding. Have fun with it and be creative!
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