13 Best Herbs to Grow in Pots [& Which Should Be Grown Alone!]

best herbs to grow in pots

Growing fresh herbs can be a great way to add flavor to food, and they can also be used for medicinal purposes. Most herbs can be grown in pots, containers, garden beds, or even window boxes – making them a convenient choice for gardeners who have limited space.

13 Best Herbs to Grow in Pots

There are a lot of options, but some of the best herbs to grow in pots are basil, chives, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, and thyme. Most herbs thrive in 6-8+ of direct sunlight per day, so keep that in mind when choosing your location for your potted herbs.

There are certain herbs that grow well together, but some should be grown in their own container – I’m looking at you, mint!

1. Basil

dwarf greek basil

Sun Requirements: Full sun
Soil Preference: Moist, well draining soil
Watering Requirements: 2-3 times per week
Pot Depth: 6-12 inches depending on the variety
Days to Harvest: 28-35 days

Basil is an excellent Italian perennial herb that prefers full sun and fertile, moist soil. It withstands brief droughts once the root system has developed, which takes around six weeks after sowing.

Depending on the type of basil you’re planting, it can grow to be 2 feet tall. When cultivated in a container with at least 5 gallons of soil, basil complements parsley, thyme, and other herbs well. Choose a compact variety like ‘Spicy Bush’ for small pots.

Pruning basil properly is important when growing it in a pot since the roots will have limited space.

2. Chives

  • Sun Requirements: Full sun, partial shade
  • Soil Preference: Well draining
  • Watering Requirements:
  • Pot Depth: 6-12 inches
  • Days to Harvest: 50-60 days

Chives are one of the easiest herbs to grow, which is why they’re often one of the first herbs that new gardeners try their hand at.

But just because chives are easy to grow doesn’t mean that they don’t have some quirks. But they do take up a small amount of space since they grow vertically, making them ideal for growing in pots.

Chives are similar to onions, but are produced for their leaves rather than their bulbs. Their fragrant pink-purple spring blooms are also edible.

Plant them in a well-drained potting soil containing plenty of organic matter. They can tolerate some shade but perform best in full sun conditions. Chives may grow up to 21 inches tall in container gardens. Because they’re able to survive cold weather, you may keep them outside all year round – mine overwintered perfectly this past year!

3. Cilantro

watering cilantro

Cilantro, also called coriander, has tangy leaves and produces dry, round seeds if you let the plant go to seed or bolt.

Sun Requirements: Full sun or partial shade
Soil Preference: Regularly watered, but well draining soil
Watering Requirements: 2-3 times per week
Pot Depth: 12+ inches
Days to Harvest: 45-70 days

This annual plant should be grown in well-drained soil. Cilantro thrives in direct sunlight but will endure some shade. Because its taproot is long, it needs to be planted in a container garden that is at least 12 inches deep. Some types may reach a height of 2 feet when fully grown.

4. Tarragon

Sun Requirements: Full sun
Soil Preference: Well draining soil
Watering Requirements: 2-3x per week
Pot Depth: 10-12 inches
Days to Harvest: 80-90 days

Tarragon is a well-known French herb that may be used to season fish and many other dishes. The name comes from the French term for the little dragon, which refers to the herb’s strong flavor.

It can grow as tall as 3 feet tall in full sun and in a well-drained container. It tolerates drought as well as overwatering. Tarragon thrives best in full light and may also be grown as a perennial in Zones 5 through 9.

5. Lavender

how often to water lavender

Sun Requirements: 6-8 hours
Soil Preference: Well drained soil
Watering Requirements: 1-2x per week
Pot Depth: 6-10 inches
Days to Harvest: 85-95 days

Are you even growing herbs if you’re not growing lavender? 😉

Lavender needs full sunshine and a well-drained potting mix. Some types can reach up to 2 feet tall when kept on the dry side and avoided using fertilizer.

The variety determines whether lavender is hardy; the most robust are winter-hardy in Zones 5-10.

6. Lemon Balm

Sun Requirements: Full sun
Soil Preference: Moist, but well draining
Watering Requirements: 2-4x per week
Pot Depth: 8-12 inches
Days to Harvest: 70 days

Lemon balm, a time-honored perennial favorite that spreads freely and seeds on its own, is ideal for container gardens since it doesn’t occupy the whole yard. In a moist, rich, well-drained container mix planted in partial shade or full sun. It’s winter hardy to zones 3 through 10 as a perennial and can reach up to 2 feet tall when cultivated in soil.

7. Lemon Verbena

Sun Requirements: Full sun
Soil Preference: Moist, well draining
Watering Requirements: 2-3x per week
Pot Depth: 12-18 inches

Lemon verbena is a hardy tropical shrub that may be grown as an annual in container gardens. Lemon verbena plants cultivated in the nursery should be planted in pots filled with a well-drained potting mix. Fertilize lemon verbena only when necessary, since it thrives on few nutrients. It likes bright light and can reach up to 3 feet tall when grown outdoors.

8. Marjoram

Sun Requirements: Full sun
Soil Preference: Moist soil
Watering Requirements: 2-3x per week
Pot Depth: 12-18 inches
Days to Harvest: 60-75 days

Marjoram is a relative of oregano that has a sweeter, milder flavor and smell. It may reach up to 2 feet tall in the right conditions if cultivated in full sun and well-drained potting mix. Because it’s perennial in Zones 8-10, gardeners anywhere can grow it in container gardens indoors over winter.

9. Mint

Sun Requirements: Full sun
Soil Preference: Moist, but well draining soil
Watering Requirements: 1-2 times per week
Pot Depth: 12-18 inches
Days to Harvest: 60 days

Unless confined in a pot, Mint will become invasive. This is the one herb on this list you want to plant by itself, unless you’re a pro at growing herbs and know how to prune it properly, grow your mint in a pot by itself. Otherwise, it’s sure to overtake other plants and crowd them out.

It prefers full or partial sunlight and may be grown in either. Mint thrives in rich soil but produces the best leaves when grown in full sun – and it’s a great addition to mojitos. While I don’t drink them, my wife does, and she says my mint makes a mean mojito, so I’ll take the compliment!

Mint is a perennial plant (mine overwintered without me trying) that can grow to 2 feet tall depending on the type and the container its in.

10. Oregano

Sun Requirements: Loves full sun
Soil Preference: Well draining potting soil
Watering Requirements: 1-2 times per week
Pot Depth: 8-12 inches
Days to Harvest: 45-55 days

Mediterraneans use fresh oregano in abundance, and it’s an important component of Greek and Italian cooking. The plant is a shrubby perennial (able to survive cold weather) that grows best in full sun and has a well-drained potting mix. The greater amount of sunshine oregano receives, the more robust the leaves’ flavor becomes. It won’t tolerate wet soil, so it can grow up to 2 feet tall.

11. Rosemary

herbs in pots

Sun Requirements: Full sun
Soil Preference: Well draining soil
Watering Requirements: 1-2x per week, don’t overwater
Pot Depth: 8-12 inches
Days to Harvest: 80-100 days

Rosemary is a Mediterranean evergreen shrub (able to survive cold weather.) that grows up to 3 feet tall and thrives in hot, dry, sunny areas. Rosemary has woody stems and is a favorite for my herb garden.

The key to good development is fast-draining soil, but it’s also drought-resistant. When cultivated indoors, keep the soil wet but not soggy.

12. Sage

Sun Requirements: Full sun
Soil Preference: Moist, but well draining
Watering Requirements:
Pot Depth: 12-18 inches
Days to Harvest: 75-80 days

Sage is a common flavor enhancer for chicken. Sage, which is lovely in container gardens, needs full sun and a moist, well-drained potting mix to grow successfully. Most kinds are hardy in Zones 4 through 10 and can grow up to 2 feet tall.

13. Thyme

Lemon thyme growing in pots

Sun Requirements: Full sun
Soil Preference: Well drained soil
Watering Requirements: 1x per week
Pot Depth: 6-8 inches
Days to Harvest: 75-80 days

Thyme is a perennial plant that grows in many shapes and sizes. It thrives in full sun and well-drained soil, although it will grow in partial shade if the temperature is consistently above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Check the soil before watering; wait until it’s dry to the touch before giving it a drink. Because it only reaches 10 inches tall in Zones 4-10, thyme is ideal for tiny-space pots. But the plant does love to spread out, so it will fill up any container its given like a goldfish would.

herbs that grow well together

The Best Herbs for Container Gardening

Once you’ve decided on the plants you’d want to keep on hand, just make sure they’re in an area that receives at least eight hours of direct sunshine each day and waters them when necessary. It’s also preferable not to use any fertilizer; most herbs have the best fragrance and taste when cultivated in poor soil.

If you grow herbs in pots outside all year, many will be able to endure the elements. Perennial plants can live in pots outdoors all year if the containers are big enough (holding at least 5 gallons of soil), have adequate drainage, and are hardy for your zone.

If you want to keep your perennials outside all year, use plastic pots, containers or trays; ceramic or clay containers may crack due to freezes and thaws. best herbs

Alternatively, remove them from their containers and transplant them into the garden in late summer, giving them time to establish a new root system so they may survive winter. Container-grown perennial herbs may also be treated as annuals and discarded at the end of the season, or you can bring them inside and keep them dormant in the winter.

What herbs would you like to cultivate in containers this year? Leave a remark below with your suggestions.

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