Growing herbs in containers is appropriate for homes with limited or no garden space, and it's a convenient way to keep a supply of fresh herbs on hand right by the kitchen door. Containers for herbs come in a variety of materials, shapes and sizes. Ideal pot size varies depending on the type of herb and the size of the plant. Multiple herbs can also be grown together in a large planter to create a mini herb garden.
When selecting containers for herbs, it is important to look for pots that have one or more drainage holes in the bottom. The drainage holes allow excess water to drain, helping to prevent overwatering. Herb plants that sit in wet, muddy or waterlogged potting soil commonly develop root rot problems.
Deciding on the type of planter when choosing containers for herbs depends on a mix of practicality and personal aesthetics. Larger containers with multiple herbs are well-suited for patios and decks. Smaller containers containing one or two herb plants can fit on the kitchen windowsill or another area with limited space. Hanging baskets also make suitable containers for herbs.
Terra cotta containers also are appropriate for growing herbs. The porous nature of the container allows air flow around the roots and can help prevent overwatering. In very hot weather, however, these containers dry out faster than plastic or metal containers. Plastic containers are often inexpensive, and they are lighter than terra cotta planters. Additionally, the non-porous nature of the material holds moisture well, allowing for less frequent watering in hot weather.
Other materials used to create planters include wood, metal and peat. Peat pots break down within a growing season and are best suited for starting seedlings. As long as the container has holes in the bottom, it can be made into a mini herb garden. Coffee cans, yogurt buckets, old wicker baskets or an old strainer are all possibilities for reusing household items as planters.
A single herb plant can be grown in a 4- to 8-inch (about 10- to 20-cm) pot. Three to four herb plants grow best in a pot with a diameter of at least 12 inches (about 30 cm). To grow five or six plants in a single container, a planter with a 16-inch (about 41-cm) diameter should work. Standard containers for herbs are round, but square, oblong, and a variety of creative shapes can also be used to add a little visual interest to the indoor herb garden.