Herbs in containers for beginners
Herbs can successfully be grown in containers and window boxes.
The top five selling herbs at most garden centres are lavender, thyme, rosemary, sage and mint. All of these are hardy and very easy to grow.
If you are a relative beginner when it comes to growing herbs, pick plants which are easy to grown. Thymes, Chives, Dill and Salad Burnet are some of the easiest.
Don’t be scared to have a go at growing your own. It is a great feeling when you pick and eat something you have grown yourself.
However, to make sure you and they have a head start, select plants with good fibrous root formation. Look at the underside of the pot to see if any roots are protruding. Pick small stocky plants as these are much more likely to survive transplanting.
It is often difficult to know what to buy. Do not over estimate on the number of herbs you require. Make a list of herbs you think would be suitable for a trough, bed or basket.
Make sure you pick plants which like the same soil and conditions if you are planting up a tub.
When growing herbs in containers use a soil-based compost as this retains moisture, which is a must to stop containers drying out.
It is also important to feed container plants weekly from April until September. This keeps the plants healthy and helps them produce more leaves.
Read labels carefully and invest in a good herb book or ask us for expert advice.
Pick plants which will trail if you are planning a basket and check the potential height of upright plants.
One thing to remember is that not all herbs like full sun.
When planning your garden, you should divide your plants into two sections, those like thyme, sage, rosemary and oregano that like full sun and those that like partial shade, such as rocket, mustard and parsley.
The best tip for looking after them is not to over water. Herbs prefer to be on the dry side. A good compost mixture is essential for success with a bit of sand added for drainage.
Herbs have multiple uses – basil makes a wonderful dressing for pasta and is also very useful at keeping flying insects away from you while having your meal.
Many common herbs can be used to help treat minor ailments. Please remember to consult a doctor and a herb expert before trying any of the following common herbs medicinally.
Bay - Laurus nobilis - used to stimulate the digestion.
Chamomile Roman - Chamaemelum nobile - used to treat Insomnia, anxiety, and nervous digestive problems.
Coriander - Coriandrum sativum - used in the treatment of digestive upsets and urinary tract infections.
Fennel - Foeniculum vulgare - used in the treatment of indigestion, heartburn and colic in babies.
Lavender - Lavandula - used in treatment of headaches, burns, stings, colds and insomnia.
Mints - Mentha - used in the treatment of indegestion, flatulence and colic.
Parsley - Petroselinum crispum - used in the treatment of urinary infections.
Rosemary - Rosmarinus - used in the treatment of poor circulation.
Sage - Salvia - used to stave off sore throats, hot flushes and old age!
Thyme - Thymus - used to treat coughs and rheumatic pains. Its major components are thymol and carvacol oil which act as antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal.