Herb Garden Containers Indoors and Outdoors
Indoor Herb Garden Containers
As I said in the “Choosing Indoor Herbs” article, the herbs you choose will determine to a large extent the type of containers you use. Dill or mint for example tend to self seed and need a fair amount of room to grow. I would suggest using an 8 inch pot for these type of herbs.
Almost any container can be used for growing herbs indoors but some are better than others. In my opinion, plastic is one of the worst types of containers to use. Plastic pots don’t breath oxygen into the growing medium and they often have inadequate drainage. If you are going to use plastic pots, I suggest drilling some extra drainage holes. If you drill some near the bottom on the sides of the pot, you can accomplish better drainage and allow some air into the soil too.
Clay pots are a much better choice than plastic. But not all clay pots are created equal. The pretty glazed pots again don’t allow the pot to breathe and may not drain adequately. I prefer the plain old terra cotta pots. Because they do breathe and most drain well. Terra Cotta is usually inexpensive with 4 inch pots being less than $2.50 for a pot and drain saucer, 5 inch pots are around $3.50 per set, 6 inch pots in the $4.50 per set range. A 5 inch pot will hold a large parsley, thyme, marjoram or basil plant. If you want a large rosemary herb, try a six inch pot.
You might want to plant your herbs in a rail planter that hold plants on both sides of the planter and sits on the deck or balcony railing. A window sill or window box planter is similar except it is one side of a rail planter. These types of containers hold the growing medium and allow more than one plant to be grown on each side. They have the advantage of companion planting to help control disease and pests. Window box containers are more often wood than plastic and may be more decorative too. Of course a window box container can be used to hold individual potted herbs too. If you are handy, you can build one yourself.
Even though I am not a fan of plastic containers, they can have a use in the indoor garden. If you drink bottled water or soda, save the bottles. For the 1 pint water bottles, cut off the bottom 1/4 or 1/3 of the bottle, drill some drain holes in the bottom and several around the bottom 1/2 inch up from the bottom for better drainage. Fill the container with growing medium and use it as a seed starter cup. (Of course buying peat pot starters is cheaper and easier but sometimes recycling is more fun.)
If you do the same thing with the 2 liter soda bottles, you can use the container as a transplant pot for your seedlings for a short time. Just be sure to wash the container out before using it for your herbs.
You can also save the pint water bottles to store water for your plants. Just allow the water to sit for 24 hours to breath and drive off some of the purification chemicals before recapping. I keep 4 pints of water this way at room temperature for watering my indoor herb garden. Since I am growing an Italian Herb Garden, they don’t take much water.
Outdoor Herb Garden Containers
In addition to the containers suggested for indoor herb gardening, you can use old wheel barrows, 1/2 whiskey barrels, large concrete or similar formed containers, old tea kettles, old childrens sand pails and similar containers to grow herbs outdoors. Just make sure they have adequate drainage.
John B. Green, Author
7 Secrets Grow Delicious Herbs Indoors