. Choosing Great Herbs to Grow In Pots
Herb lovers don’t need a lot of space to grow their useful plants. Herbs can be grown in containers on the patio, porch, windowsill, or under lights. Imagine the money that can be saved by growing one’s own herbs for cooking? Herbs make attractive plants adding beauty as well as function to the home. So where to start and which herbs do best in containers? Let’s begin with the best herbs to grow for culinary use.
Basil, parsley, chives, mint, oregano, thyme, and French tarragon are a few of the most popular. All do well in containers.
Basil is an annual, which means it will grow for one season, go to seed, then die. The thing to remember is to harvest basil leaves from the top to prevent the herb from going to seed. Varieties include sweet, opal, Thai, bush, and lemon. The purple or opal variety is great both as a culinary herb and as an ornamental. Bush basil or globe basil has great flavor and with its’ tiny leaves, there is no need for chopping.
Parsley is a biennial, growing for two years before dying. Chose either curly leaf parsley or the Italian variety or grow a pot of each.
Chives are another flavorful herb to have on hand. This member of the allium family is a perennial and will live a long time. Chives bloom in pink/purple and perennials unlike annuals should be allowed to bloom. Check out garlic chives with their onion-garlic flavor and white blooms.
Mint, great in pots, hard to decide which variety to grow? Choose between peppermint, spearmint, orange, apple, chocolate or pineapple, the list goes on. Remember mints are invasive and can take over. Growing mints in a container to contain them is a perfect solution.
For oregano, choose the Greek variety for a stronger flavor or Italian for a milder flavor. It is easy to grow and like most herbs like full sun and good drainage.
Thyme, like the mint family, has several varieties from which to choose. English, lemon and orange balsam are favorites. Stay away from the creeping thymes as they are better as ground cover, than growing in containers.
French tarragon is an important herb for sauces, meats and fish dishes. Make sure you purchase plants from a reputable dealer is very important to get a good quality herb. The other tarragon, Russian is often sold and has very little if any flavor and is useless as a seasoning.
Herbs to grow in containers for decorative purposes
Lavender – Again, as with many varieties of herbs, lavender is available in different varieties. Hidcote flowers in deep purple color with a wonderful fragrance and Lavender Lady blooms in pink.
Calendula or Pot Marigold is an old fashion herb. This herb is mostly used medicinally to soothe the pain of sunburn, as an edible flower, and also for decoration purposes.
Viola tricolor, better known as Johnny Jump Ups, gives a burst of color and can be planted in containers with other herbs. The flowers are edible and pretty in salads or candied and used to decorate desserts.
This is just a few of the herbs one can grow in containers. Try an herb or two, but be warned; growing herbs can be addictive and soon your home will be full of containers filled with these useful plants.