5 Beautiful Herbs For Container Gardens

  • 01 of 07

    Gorgeous Herbs

    Herb garden in a vintage suitcase
    Herb garden suitcase. Photograph © Kerry Michaels

    There are many herbs that are as beautiful as they are tasty, which makes them perfect for growing containers, either on their own or in a mixed pot. Herbs are generally easy to grow and many are drought resistant and thrive on neglect, which are also 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 container.

    Many herbs also have beautiful flowers and some are edible and delicious. However, some herbs, like basil, once they flower become bitter.

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  • 02 of 07

    Oregano

    Oregano plant
    nimon_t / Getty Images

    Oregano is a favorite herb for containers. It is incredibly forgiving, scoffs at drought and likes poor soil so doesn't need much fertilizer. It is a low growing plant with small leaves and will drape over the sides of containers, so can be used as a "spiller," though it won't spread too much.​

    Of all the oregano varieties, golden oregano (Origanum vulgare 'Aureum’) is my favorite because it can add a bright spot to any container.

    Oregano loves lots of sun and is a perennial in zones 5-8. To keep plant thriving, don't over water 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.

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  • 03 of 07

    Mint

    Urban Gardening
    Joey Kotfica / 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 —so you have to be careful about what plants you combine it with, or be prepared to prune it regularly. To solve this problem, you can make a pot of all mints.

    You can grow several different varieties in a big strawberry jar, so you don't have to worry about it overtaking other plants. Pineapple mint is variegated, gorgeous and tasty. Also, chocolate mint, ginger mint, and orange mint are quite pretty.

    Mint likes full sun, though will tolerate some shade and likes to be kept on the moist side, but not wet. Do not over-fertilize mint and make sure it has good drainage.

    To keep plants bushy, prune often.

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  • 04 of 07

    Sage

    Sage (Salvia) and Thyme ( Thymus) in brightly coloured baskets
    Sage and Thyme in colorful baskets. Linda Burgess / Getty Images

    Golden, tricolor and purple sages are as beautiful as they are fragrant and easy to grow. They prefer full sun but will be fine if they get four to six hours of unobstructed sun. 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. Some sages are hardy in zones 5-11, but are fairly short-lived and won't last more than two or three years.

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

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  • 05 of 07

    Thyme

    herbs in galvinised tub on blue chair
    Sage, thyme, mint, rosemary and marjoram. Linda Burgess / Getty Images

    Thyme is a hard to kill plant that needs very little care. It is drought tolerant, fragrant and great for cooking. My favorite is lemon thyme, because of it's tiny variegated leaves. It is a low growing plant and doesn't spread quickly, so plays well with other plants.

    Thyme prefers full sun and needs good drainage. If it gets too leggy, prune back. Hardy from zones 4-8, it can look dead in the spring and still come roaring back as the temperatures warm. Thyme is great for hanging baskets and as a filler or spiller plant.

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  • 06 of 07

    Rosemary

    Rosemary plant
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    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.

    Upright rosemary can be used as a "thriller plant," or as a "filler." Prostrate varieties can be used as "fillers" and "spillers."

    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, it is great for areas where these pests are a problem.

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  • 07 of 07

    Dill

    Urban Gardening
    Dill, chives and onion in city garden. Moment Editorial/Getty Images / Getty Images

    Dill is incredibly easy to start from seed, and like most herbs 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.