How to Plant a Small Container Herb Garden for Your Kitchen

The Ultimate Kitchen Herb Garden – Cilantro, Rosemary, Thyme, and Mint

Advantages of a Container Herb Garden

A container herb garden may be your only choice if you haven’t got a garden or if it’s very small. But don’t be disappointed if you can’t create a traditional herb garden. Many herbs flourish really well in containers, and container herb gardens have the advantage that they can be positioned very near your kitchen door. The advantage of this is that when its wet or dark outside you can easily harvest the herbs you need for whatever recipe you may want to follow for your cooking.

In this article I’ll provide some ideas on containers and herbs and also outline some simple instructions for creating your container herb garden.

Marjoram and Basil Herbs

What Herbs to Buy?

You can buy your herbs as young plants or grow them from cuttings or seed.

I recommend creating your container herb garden using selections from the following list of herbs:

Plant these at the center of your container:

Salad burnet, chervil, dill, fennel, lemongrass

Plant these herbs at the edge of your container:

Basil, caraway, chives, marjoram, savory

Plant these herbs between the edge and the center:

Borage, coriander, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme

You’ll be able to buy the majority of these as small herb plants quite easily. If you can’t find a supplier local to you, search for suppliers on the internet.

You’ll notice that I haven’t included mint on my list. This isn’t because it can’t be grown in a container. It can, but because of its vigorous root system it’s best grown in a pot on its own.

Delicious Dill

What Sort of Container?

You’ve got lots of choice when it comes to containers as you’ll quickly find out if you visit your local garden center. Terra-cotta pots are a popular choice but large ones can be rather heavy and difficult to move around. Plastic pots are a good alternative. However, I recommend considering a wooden container (you may be able to make one yourself). Wood is attractive and it won’t freeze or break. The major disadvantage is that a wooden container will deteriorate over time.

What Size of Container?

If you want a good choice of herbs in your kitchen container herb garden choose a container which has a diameter of around 36 inches (or the equivalent in size if you want a square or rectangular one). This size of container will enable you to plant around eight different herbs.

What Container Compost to Use?

Use good quality compost and mix it with perlite in the ratio of 1 part compost to 2 parts perlite. By adding perlite you will help to ensure that your container has good drainage. Choose compost which has added nutrient to get the herbs off to a good start.

Fresh green kitchen herbs with just enough growing room makes for happy plants.

How to Maintain Your Container Herb Garden?

Your container should be kept in a position where it can enjoy a fair amount of sun during the day. Most herbs flourish in the sun.

Keep your container well watered. The top of the compost will dry out very quickly but you can test for moisture levels by inserting your finger into the compost by about an inch. If the compost isn’t fairly moist, water the container.

After about a month you should begin watering your container regularly with a nutrient mix to make up for the nutrients that the container loses through watering.

At the end of the year when some of your herbs start to die back, remove the perennial herbs and put them in their own pots, and protect them as best you can from cold winter weather. These perennial herbs can be used the following year. The annuals will need to be purchased again in the spring.

A Wonderfully Sunny Kitchen Garden

Enjoy Your Herbs

When you start using the herbs from your container herb garden you’ll notice the difference in taste from herbs (even the fresh herbs) you buy in shops and supermarkets. This taste difference and the convenience of having herbs ready to hand whenever you want them will make all the effort of creating your container herb garden well-worthwhile.

Fresh Basil

Get more expert tips on growing herbs in containers or pots and discover how to grow high quality, healthy herbs at home by subscribing to Adam’s FREE Herb Gardening eMail Minicourse at

On Adam’s website you’ll find other articles on Container Herb Gardening and lots of pictures and videos on other herb-growing topics. It’s an ideal internet resource for busy people seeking relevant, concise information on how to make a success of growing herbs at home – in pots or in the garden, indoors or out.

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