We begin, with two simple questions. The first, what do you want to get from your herbs? When you think of herb container gardening, the first thing that comes to mind is edible herbs. While they are mostly grown to be eaten, herbs can also be grown for their delicate scents or their lush and soft architecture. If the former, think of herbs you already use in your daily cooking, and if the latter what scents do you love or which herbs are your favourite to look at? Once you’ve determined that, the second question is what do you want to grow? As always, it’s recommended to begin with the mentality that less is more and slowly work your way to an extensive herb collection.
Companion Planting & Container Selection
Success in herbs is as simple as pairing like-with-like. It may seem like a good idea to use a large container to grow all your herbs together in one place, either for ease of harvest or visual aesthetics. But unfortunately, many herbs are night and day when it comes to the care requirements, specifically in two areas: sunlight and water requirements. Separate your list into categories based on their requirements and have a well-draining container for each group. Generally, categories will include: heat & sun lovers (see Herbes de Provence below), full sun, moisture-enthusiasts (basil, parsely, tarragon, chives and cilantro) and mints (being invasive, planting any mint with other herbs will likely result in a mint takeover). For all other herbs, spend some time researching how compatible they are with one another before planting together.
Harvesting your Herbs
Herbs love to be used and harvested. Majority thrive in conditions where they are constantly being picked. Which feels like an oxymoron, but it isn’t. Keep in mind that for the leaves of your herbs to taste good (ex., basil and oregano) the plant can’t flower, or else they devote their energy to floral production and leaves become bitter. Also, if you let any of your plants seed, their growth cycle becomes complete and they will not produce anymore leaves. If you’re finding that you have more herbs than you can use, consider giving them away as “herb-bundles” or drying them for use over the winter.
Emerson Wild’s Herb Container Garden Pick: Herbes De Provence
Provence is the south-eastern region of France bordering Italy and the Mediterranean Sea. It is famous for its diverse landscapes, delectable cuisines slow-living lifestyles and of course, lavender fields. This idyllic place is the inspiration behind one of our favourite herb container garden combinations. The Herbes de Provence features a selection of regional favourites and to create your very own you’ll need:
- Lavender (1 plant)
- Thyme (2 plants)
- Sage (1 plant)
- Marjoram (1 plant)
As mentioned above, these plants adore sunlight, being endemic to the Mediterranean region, they also do not need to be watered often. Wait until the soil has dried out before providing a good soak. Plus, be sure to use well-draining soil and that your container provides sufficient drainage for beautiful plants all season long.
May your gardens be full of live and vigour and may the fruits of your labour be delicious. If you’re hoping to grow vegetables this year along with your herbs, read our post on How to Plan a Vegetable Garden. And, if you haven’t already, be sure to sign up to receive our 2023 Trend Report which includes our predictions for all things home, garden and lifestyle in 2023. Plus, if you’re looking for more inspiration, check out The Wild Blog, for more garden and design inspiration. Lastly, we’d love to connect, be sure to follow us on Instagram and Pinterest!