How to Plant an Outdoor Potted Herb Garden

by Ivory Soap on 07/14/2011

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 Committing to plant placement gives me the willies.  Thankfully, my neighbor had the solution.  A potted herb garden!

1.  Gather a selection of interesting pots.

2.  Fill them almost to the top (about 4 inches shy) with potting soil.

3.  Place one perennial herb in each pot:  oregano, thyme, rosemary, chives, french tarragon, and mint are all good choices and work best as transplants.

4.  Fill in with other annual herb transplants.  Basil and parsely are good choices.  I also tossed in a green pepper.  (Remember that dill and cilantro hate the dead of summer and do their best growing in fall and spring.)

5.  Backfill with more potting soil, but don’t water heavily yet as pots will weigh a ton.

6.  Push aside the mulch in your flower bed and arrange pots.

7.  Backfill in and around with mulch.

8.  Water regularly.

9.  If desired, add flowers for color.  Annuals or some of the prettier edibles are great choices:  milkweek, bee balm, cone flower.

10.  Rearrange pots as desired!

Here’s what it looks like when you step back.  (note, gorgeous bee balm in back lost it’s flowers before this picture):



{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Arthur - Funky Garden Furniture July 14, 2011 at 10:53 am

Wish I had just gone with a container garden before I went ahead and committed to in ground placement. Unfortunately, due to strong winds, over half the stuff I planted did not make it longer than a couple months. I know for next time I guess.

Jessie July 14, 2011 at 11:38 am

I love your herb garden, and the arrangements of pots gives such nice visual interest with the varying heights and shapes. Even though I have the space to plant in the ground now, I still insist on having a potted garden as well (I almost wrote pot garden, now that’s something else entirely).

Gingerskeeper July 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm

I love it! Do you think you will take some of the pots inside for the winter? I wish I had done that for my oregano. It spreads so much!

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage July 14, 2011 at 4:48 pm

What a great arrangement! I’m going to have to try your technique with burying the pots in the mulch. Very cool. Thanks for sharing this great idea!!!

Theresa July 15, 2011 at 6:13 am

Now I know why my cilantro is dead now lol. Thanks this is great!

Jen July 22, 2011 at 5:36 am

I went with pots out front this year in the entryway. I love being able to step out the front door and get what I need. Yours look great! My cilantro and dill are dead, dead, dead! LOL! Do you have tips on here for storing and drying? I’ll have to do some searching. 🙂

Julie M. October 11, 2012 at 10:15 am

I tried container gardening this spring with squash. They had a lot of sun but did not do well. I think the pots may have been too small. They were 10″ flower pots. What size pots should you use for what size veggie plants. Are there any rules?

Ivory Soap October 12, 2012 at 6:46 am

Most herbs get really BIG. They get root bound if they’re in a small container. Only cilantro will do well in a ten inch. Rosemary and friends need a five gallon and may need to be repotted to a ten some day.

miemie April 13, 2013 at 9:24 am

Love your idea of potted plants outside. Easier to maintain!

Kate April 11, 2014 at 3:36 am

Not enough information on what herbs are in the photos and if they are sunny or shade. I’m just starting out and need more info. Just a sketchy article.

Daisy April 17, 2014 at 11:25 am

Kate–I always start with my wish list, that is, what I cook with, make medicine with, or just plain like. Then I search out the cultural requirements of each individual herb. Deanna’s patch here is sunny, so all the herbs there have to take the sun. Most herbs are that way. There is a shorter list of those herbs that thrive in or can take some shade. That’s the great thing about growing your own, you don’t have to grow what your neighbor grows, just grow what YOU like and will use.

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