I enjoy snipping herbs to add to food, brew in relaxing teas, and toss into salads, so I want my sun-loving culinary beauties close at hand. Containers are an easy way to make this happen. On summer mornings, I walk right outside my kitchen door to a sunny patio full of pots, gather a few sprigs of fresh parsley, and return to the kitchen to flavor some scrambled eggs
Aside from the food factor, I grow herbs in containers because it’s easier to adjust the soil to suit each plant and it’s convenient for maintenance and watering. Plus, several of my favorite herbs are frost tender and, when grown in containers, can easily be moved indoors during fall.
By planting herbs of one type in a single container, I have the fun of arranging—and rearranging—them to create a pleasing garden scene. If I don’t like the effect, there’s no need to rip out plants–I just move the containers around. And when plants like nasturtiums finish blooming, they can be moved to the back of the “garden” and others brought forward.
The plant size for herbs will be smaller in a container than it would be in the ground, which is why containers are perfect for aggressive spreaders. The heights given here are full-size heights; expect them to be several inches smaller, depending on the container size. Fertilize plants (except where noted) about every two weeks to maintain leaf production; this will yield the perfect amount of lush leaves to keep you satisfied throughout the season.
No room for an in-ground herb garden? Nasturtium, parsley, and basil do grow very nicely in pots.
Photo/Illustration: Steven Cominsky