6 Beautiful Herbs For Gardens and Containers

Fresh aromatic culinary herbs in white pots on windowsill. Lettuce, leaf celery and small leaved basil. Kitchen garden of herbs.
Geshas / Getty Images

There are many herbs that are as beautiful as they are tasty, which makes them perfect for growing either in the garden or in containers. Herbs are generally easy to grow, and many are drought resistant and thrive on neglect— especially good characteristics for container plants. You can use herbs in hanging baskets as well as traditional containers and don't hesitate to experiment growing them with other plants.

Another great thing about herbs is that generally, the more you pick, the fuller and better the plant will look. That said, you want to be careful not to pick so much that you leave a giant hole in your arrangement. Many herbs also have beautiful flowers and some are edible and delicious. However, some herbs, like basil, become bitter once they flower.

Here are six especially attractive herbs to grow. 

  • 01 of 06

    Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

    Oregano plant
    nimon_t / Getty Images

    Oregano is a favorite perennial herb for containers. It is incredibly forgiving, scoffs at drought, and likes poor soil, so it doesn't need much fertilizer. It is a low-growing plant with small leaves and will drape over the sides of containers, so it can be used as a "spiller" in mixed containers.  Of all the oregano varieties, golden oregano (Origanum vulgare 'Aureum’) is a favorite because it can add a bright spot to any container.

    To keep plant thriving, don't overwater and keep pruning back. Oregano needs good drainage. If the plant starts getting leggy, cut back and wait a few weeks for recovery. You can propagate oregano by rooting it in water.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 8 
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Any well-drained soil
  • 02 of 06

    Mint (Mentha spp.)

    Fresh Mint Plant Potted
    TorriPhoto / Getty Images

    There are a staggering number of beautiful mints to choose from and most are tasty and beautiful. Mint is a bit of a bully—spreading and trying to push out other plants. You must be careful about what plants you combine it with, or be prepared to prune it regularly. To solve this problem, you can confine all your mint plants to one container. Do not over-fertilize mint and make sure it has good drainage. To keep plants bushy, prune often.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 11, depending on species
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Moist well-drained soil
  • 03 of 06


    Fresh sage
    Bill Oxford / Getty Images

    Golden, tricolor and purple sages are as beautiful as they are fragrant and easy to grow. They need very well-drained soil and don't like being too wet, so let the soil dry out a bit between waterings. Like most herbs, sage doesn't need heavy feeding and too much fertilizer will dull the taste. 

    Sages can look great on their own, or mixed with each other or any number of full-sun plants that don't like too much water.​

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9 (grown as an annual elsewhere)
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun (enjoys some shade in very warm climates)
    • Soil Needs: Dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil
  • 04 of 06

    Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

    Thyme plant on a white pot
    Karl Tapales / Getty Images

    Thyme is a woody perennial, a hard-to-kill plant that needs very little care. It is drought-tolerant, fragrant, and great for cooking. This is a low growing plant that doesn't spread quickly, so it plays well with other plants.

    If your thyme plant gets too leggy, prune it back. Thyme is great for hanging baskets and as a filler or spiller plant. In zones outside its hardiness range, thyme can be planted as an annual. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Dry, well-drained soil; prefers a slightly alkaline soil
    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis, Salvia rosmarinus)

    Pots with rosemary on table
    belchonock / Getty Images

    There are two main types of rosemary: upright and prostrate. The upright will behave like a shrub, and in warmer climates some varieties can get huge. Prostrate varieties creep along the ground, and there are also some that can also get quite large and drape over the sides of pots. All rosemary varieties can be used in cooking, but the uprights are thought to have a slight edge in flavor.

    Rosemary likes full sun, good drainage and to dry out between waterings. Don't over-fertilize. Since deer, rabbits, and insects don't like the taste, rosemary is great for areas where these pests are a problem.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11 (grown as annual elsewhere)
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil; prefers slightly acidic conditions
  • 06 of 06

    Dill (Anethum graveolens)

    Fresh Organic Dill
    Nicholas Kostin / Getty Images

    Dill is incredibly easy to start from seed, and like most herbs it likes full sun. You can start dill seeds two weeks before the last frost, and to keep a fresh supply, sow it every couple of weeks throughout the summer.

    It is a tall herb and goes to seed pretty quickly, but one great thing about dill is that it attracts swallowtail butterfly caterpillars and other pollinators. You can let the herb flower away and watch the beneficial bugs feast on it.

    • USDA Growing Zones: True annual; grown in zones 2 to 11
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich, light, well-drained soil