Winter Project: Growing Container Herbs (With Photos)

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you know that we fully believe in growing as much as one can all year round – yes, even when the thermometer shows just a smear of red! How? There are so many ways, but one great way to keep something fresh on your table in the wintertime is to grow container herbs.

And let’s not forget the aesthetics. Indoors or out, gardening is an experience. There’s just something so warm, welcoming and just overall wonderful about a line of fresh, savory- or sweet-scented herbs along the kitchen windowsill.

Please note that most of the following steps can apply to outdoor herb gardening for those who experience milder winters. However, please make sure you’re using plants that are hardy for dipping evening temperatures.

With that said, get ready, get set – get container herb gardening!

Step One: Decide Which Herbs to Grow

What do you love to pinch and add, dry and sprinkle, add to potpourri? Some of our favorite, easy-to-grow and “containable” herbs are:

  • Basil
  • Bay
  • Chervil (French parsley)
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Majoram
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Spearmint
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme

When deciding on what herbs you’d like to grow, keep space in mind. Some herbs are very small and self-contained, while others (cilantro, for example) will require more horizontal space. This applies not only to how “bushy” your herbs may get (regular trimming helps with this and provides delicious meal garnish), but how much space the roots need, so look up each herb to find out which will work best in your space.

Step Two: Purchase a Growing Lamp

If you won’t be able to place your herbs near a sunny, warm window, buy a growing lamp/grow light to keep your herbs thriving, even when it’s frosty outside.

Growing lamps are also great for plants that require more sun than the rest of your herb garden.

Step Three: Get Some Containers

Matching or kitschily hodgepodge, bought or made, it all starts with the right container.

Make sure there are holes in the bottom of each pot for drainage and that the pots are of a diameter appropriate to each herb, allowing for growth (look up each herb to find out how large a container it will need).

If you’d like to save time, pick up an herb growing boxes at your local nursery. Generally, an herb box will contain a number of squares in which to plant. Some of these are quite decorative and adorable, others are more utilitarian, so buy per your preference.

Step Four: Purchase Your Herbs

For beginner herb gardeners, we recommend obtaining your herbs already grown to seedlings, though it can be quite easy to start an herb from seed. Many herbs are very fast-growing, so starting from seed should not be a time hindrance. The choice is up to you.

Step Five: Fill the Pots

Place pots on a tray if you’d like to protect surfaces. Small plates are also a good option. This will keep your sills from getting damaged due to drainage when you water.

Fill with compost or planting dirt to within 1/2″ of the top of the container.

If your planting soil does not already contain fertilizer (or if you’re not using compost), add organic fertilizer per the package directions (or add 1 inch of compost to non-fertilizer-containing garden soil). Mix into the soil.

Step Six: Plant Your Herbs

If you’re purchasing seedlings or already-grown herbs, be careful taking them out of their containers for transplanting. Disturb the roots as little as possible. With your finger or a spoon, dig a hole into the dirt in your pot large enough to accommodate the roots. Gently replace dirt around the roots.

For seedlings, make a “thumbprint” about 1/2-1″ into the dirt, place the seed into the depression and cover with dirt.

Step Seven: Grow, Grow, Grow!

Water each container immediately after planting seedlings or seeds and place in a sunny window or under your growing lamp.

Water per your plant’s requirements. Be sure to watch for signs of either under-watering (shriveling; brown, falling leaves) or over-watering (most plants will yellow if they receive too much water). Most herbs like to dry out somewhat between waterings, so try not to overdo things when you water.

Step Nine: Harvest

Most herbs can be clipped for use, while the rest of the plant continues growing. Pinch or use scissors. Disturb the rest of the plant as possible when harvesting your herbs.


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Garden Articles

Want Gorgeous Fall Color? Plant Now
Want Gorgeous Fall Color? Plant Now

Is your garden ready for fall? You may be thinking it's too late for bulbs, but you do have fall flower choices - and you're going to love what we have in store for you. Plant your fall garden in advance so you can bring the gorgeous colors of autumn into your own yard. Here are our top pics for autumn magic in your own little slice of heaven.

Continue Reading →

How to Make Trellises for Your Vegetable Garden
How to Make Trellises for Your Vegetable Garden

We were honored to recently have Gary Pilarchik of the The Rusted Garden try out his skills with our bypass pruning shears and ratchet pruners. In this video, he talks about how to make inexpensive or even free trellises for your vegetable garden using only branches and twine ...

Continue Reading →

5 Essential Watering Tips for Gardeners
5 Essential Watering Tips for Gardeners

It seems so simple: water your garden when it's dry, and you're good to go.

But actually, there is a right way to water (and quite a few not-very-right ways). Knowing proper watering techniques will not only keep your garden growing, it will help your plants grow stronger roots and resist disease. And you'll save money, too.

Here are our favorite tips for watering your garden and helping it look its very best.

Continue Reading →