5 Tips for Growing Herbs in Containers

5 simple tips for successfully growing herbs in containers. Includes a list of herbs that can be planted together, and ways to use the herbs in your everyday life.

growing herbs in containers on deck

For the past eight years, I have shared my summer herb garden with all of you, here on the blog. Some years have been a bit more elaborate than others, but every herb garden has been planted in containers. At first, the containers were on our deck at the Sutton Place house. After we replaced the deck with a small patio, I continued growing herbs in containers.

This year is different, and we’re in a new home, but I’m still growing herbs out my back door, like I’ve done so many years before.

See all previous herb gardens {HERE.}

growing herbs in containers for beginners

What is the easiest way to grow herbs?

I’ve also got some tips for growing herbs in containers…things I’ve learned over the years that will help make your herb garden a success. 

*Affiliate links included. Click HERE for my disclosure statement.

basil in galvanized container on deck

Tips for Growing Herbs in Containers

# 1: Proper drainage

This tip is number one because it’s the most important thing you must do to successfully grow anything in a container. Some pots come with pre-drilled holes, which is very convenient. If you want to use containers that aren’t meant for plants, simply drill several holes in the bottom of the pot. If your containers are large, it’s helpful to fill the bottom with plastic water bottles or any plastic recyclable container. This will save on potting soil, and the containers won’t be so heavy. 

#2: Good potting soil

With each new season, fill your containers with fresh, fertilized potting soil. It’s important to make sure you don’t purchase garden soil, which is a mistake I made once. My favorite potting soil is Miracle-Gro Potting Mix, but any good quality potting soil will work. 

#3: Ample sun exposure

Some herbs can thrive in partial sun, while others need at least six to eight hours of sun per day. Make sure to place your containers where the plants will receive the proper amount of light. Technically, our deck doesn’t get enough sun to grow tomatoes. That’s why every year, it’s a struggle. I still try though!

mint plants in galvanized container

#4: Plant “like” herbs together 

If you would like a smaller, more compact herb garden, it’s fine to plant different herbs together in the same pot. Consider the watering needs of your herbs, and place herbs with the same requirements together. The only exception to this is mint…it’s best to plant mint in its own container because the root system is very invasive. 

two rosemary plantes in container

#5 Deadhead & Pinch

Pinching back, or cutting back, your herbs will help them fill out and thicken up. I try to cut back my rosemary and mint regularly, so the plants grow out instead of up. The same goes for basil. If buds or blooms begin to appear on your basil, it’s best to pinch them off. If your basil gets away from you, and is full of blooms, just cut them all off and very soon, your plants will be back to normal. Don’t throw those blooms away! They are lovely in a cut flower arrangement, or they can be tossed in a salad, because basil blooms are edible. 

cherry tomato plant in vintage olive bucket

Companion herbs that can be planted together.

Growing herbs in the same pot is easy if you plant like herbs together.

Requires less water and likes drier soil: 

  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender

Requires moist soil, so water regularly:

  • Tarragon
  • Cilantro
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Chives

Very invasive, so plant alone:

  • Mint

Ways to Use Herbs

Growing herbs is one thing…using them is another. Here are some ideas for using fresh herbs in your everyday life.

Growing herbs in containers hardly takes any time at all, and it’s the easiest way to have fresh herbs at your fingertips. I’ll be back later in the summer to show you our new patio, and the herbs all grown up and out. 

garden bundle graphic below post 600