How to grow herbs

The best position

  • Alternatively, choose the plants you want to grow and then find the most suitable spot in which to grow them. avoid positions open to strong winds; a barrier such as lattice, can diffuse the breeze.

The right pot for the job

  • Herbs such as parsley, peppermint and thyme enjoy being contained, and look attractive spilling exuberantly over pot rims, so consider the shape and form of what you’re growing and select containers that suit their ‘personality’.

Shapes and sizes

  • Troughs are generally long and narrow, like window boxes, and are perfect for formal or narrow areas. Team them with a square pot of similar material to create a right angle, then add a round pot to create a point of difference.


  • If your chosen pot has no drainage holes (many pots are designed for indoor use and don’t have them), just drill a few of them into the base.

Potting mix

  • The old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ is true here: it is worth investing in a good quality mix as, over time, you’ll have healthier, happier plants.

Feeding tips

  • A soluble fertiliser is ideal for container-grown herbs and also for seedlings, which need to be fertilised regularly so that they will flourish. Always follow the directions on the packet.


  • A good potting mix provides good drainage, while holes in the base of the pots allow the excess moisture to escape. Buy a colourful watering can that’s easy to find, fill and carry. Keep it out of direct sun so that it lasts longer.


  • Discard annual herbs and start again. Remove perennial herbs carefully, compost the old potting mix, and re-fill the base of the pot with fresh mix. Then trim the roots of the plants if they look congested, and cut off any old stems to give the plant a tidier shape and to promote new growth. Replant them in the container and backfill with fresh mix, gently firming it as you go. Finally, water the herbs thoroughly.