Container herb gardens

What’s not to love about growing your own herbs? They look lovely, they taste terrific, they smell super – and you will save a fortune!

Not everyone has space for a herb garden, or knees young enough to bend down to pick fragrant sprigs, so growing herbs in containers works brilliantly. Herbs are ideal subjects not only for conventional pots, but also containers of all kinds – wall pots, troughs, window boxes and anything you have handy. Containers have advantages of their own: they can be used to confine invasive herbs, such as mint, or filled with ericaceous compost for lime-hating plants.

Window boxes

Let’s start with a window box. This makes an ideal herb garden, accessible at all times and changing with the seasons if a supply of potted plants is kept in reserve. Make sure brackets are strong enough to support the weight of moist soil and use a box about 25-30cm/10-12in deep to allow a good root run for the plants.

Provide ample drainage in the same way for other containers, and then fill with a moist, soil-based potting mixture. Either plant young herbs directly into this or grow them in 10-12cm/4-5in pots, burying them just below surface level in the box and replacing them as they are exhausted.

Small herbs, especially ornamental varieties, are best but space can be made for taller kinds such as bay and rosemary, started as cuttings and grown in the box until they are too large, when you can transfer them to the garden, or to larger pots to stand alone on a balcony or patio.

Here’s my list of herbs for a sunny window box:

  • Calendula
  • Chives
  • Dill
  • Lemon thyme
  • Lemon verbena (summer)
  • Marjoram
  • Nasturtium (summer)
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Scented-leaved geraniums (summer)
  • Tarragon
  • Winter savory

There are so many recipes you can use these herbs in and, being fresh, you’ll notice a huge difference from using dried.


5 replies
  1. Dianne says:

    I love herbs. We only have a small garden but we made room for some herbs. We have a small patch in the garden and some in pots. My favourite is lemon verbena, I just love the lemony smell. Calendula is another favourite for it's bright colour. Love your blog Joanna. Dianne.

  2. Trish Lucey says:

    Hi Joanna,Thanx for the list of herbs i am hoping to add to the chives in my garden but wasn,t sure which ones to go for as i would love to have them all fresh at hand.
    Trish (-;

  3. Jan Millward says:

    Hi Joanne, i couldn't agree more, herbs are wonderful. We have an old wheelbarrow filled with herbs. It is great because we can move it around the garden. In the summer we move it to different area's to complement planting in the garden. As individual herbs become tatty we replace them.


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