By Lisa Watters-Lain, Arizona’s garden gal
I love growing herbs for their elegant beauty and culinary uses in my family kitchen. Even with acres of property and gardens galore, it’s so nice to step outside my door and pick a handful of fresh herbs from my beautiful container garden. Besides, when I’m cooking dinner it’s often dark and, rather than rooting around my garden wearing a headlamp, it’s much easier to turn on my porch light and go out to my pots and snip some fresh herbs.
Plants Per Container
You can grow as many types of herbs in one container as you like. For a more finished designer style try one type of herb per pot and then group the pots together. I’m a big fan of crowded, bountiful container gardens. Different herbs can be packed into a single pot, and I find they have a way of adapting to accommodate each other. This is especially true of those herbs that are cut more often.
Herbs in Container Garden Design – Don’t be shy about using herbs as decorative elements in any container garden. They add fragrance, look fantastic, and provide a great texture to any container filled with annuals or perennials.
Choosing a Container for Your Herbs
Herbs can be grown in anything as long as it has drainage at the bottom of the container. Be careful with culinary herbs and avoid treated lumber or tar-lined clay pots. These non-organic toxins can be absorbed by herbs and be unknowingly consumed at the table.
When it comes to growing herbs in containers, bigger really is better. The more soil a container holds the more roots a plant can grow, and the nicer the herbs it will produce. The smaller the container, the less soil there will be, resulting in a smaller margin of error when it comes to watering.
To Grow the Best Herbs
- Light – Most herbs need at least 6 hours of sun a day. As small containers can bake on hot summer days, small pots of herbs thrive under midday shade. That is, at least until the monsoon rains arrive in July.
- Soil – Make sure containers have at lest one drain hole at the bottom. Fill with Watters Potting Soil, a unique blend of soil perfect for better growth in containers. Simply fill, plant, and watch them grow. Enough said.
- Herbal Plant Food – Herbs are finicky when it comes to food. Some don’t like much food at all, and other will flat out croak when overfed. At weekly intervals add Watters “Flower Power 54” to your water and prepare for the most amazing harvests of herbs. It really makes a difference for blooming herbs like rosemary and lavender, and it coaxes fragrances and oils out of non-bloomers.
- Herbal Harvest – The rule of thumb is the more you pick, the more you’ll get. Also, you want to pinch most herbs back to make them bushier and well-formed.
My favorite department at the garden center is herbs. That’s probably the reason we have the largest selection of herbs in Northern Arizona! My passion equals too many herbs to name here, but if you have a favorite herb we probably have it, and now through June is the best season to plant herbs in your containers.
Until next issue, I’ll see you here at Watters Garden Center.
Lisa Watters-Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his web site at WattersGardenCenter.com or FB.com/WattersGardenCenter .