How to plant a herb pot: an easy step-by-step container display

Learn how to plant a herb pot which will taste as good as it looks as well as being a magnet for pollinators

How to plant a herb pot Step-by-Step. Pretty herb planter planted with lavender, lemon thyme, golden oregano, variegated sage, rosemary, chives and parsley.
(Image credit: Future)

We've made how to plant a herb pot look easy with our step-by-step guide. Creating a herb container is a great starting point for you to begin trying to grow your own edibles. They are excellent container plants and when potted up they can be placed on a patio or balcony, so it doesn't matter about the size of your garden. And even if you have no outdoor space they can be grown inside on a windowsill. 

Plug plants and larger potted herbs are widely available from garden centers and online, but you can also sow your own seeds with great results. Growing from seed will save you money, but it requires more time and effort than plants. 

Not only do herbs provide us with the taste factor, they also look and smell great in your container gardening ideas too. Take lavender, which is just one example of a great all round performer. It will fill your garden with a glorious scent during summer and its attractive blue spires not only look fabulous, but they’re a magnet for pollinators. You can even snip off sprigs whenever you please which can be used as a tasty garnish for summer beverages.

Most herbs will favor sunny conditions in a sheltered spot in your garden, so do bear this in mind when thinking about how to plant a herb pot. You can always check seed and plant labels before you buy for accurate growing information.

How to plant a herb pot in 5 easy steps

garden planter filled with a selection of herbs

(Image credit: Future)

Learning how to plant a herb pot is an easy way to boost your kitchen garden ideas. Plant up your own container using easy-to-find herbs which will give you the wow factor as well as the flavor factor.

You will need:

chives in flower

Chives are a great addition to your herb pot

(Image credit: Future)
  • Lavandula angustifolia, English lavender
  • Lemon thyme
  • Golden oregano
  • Chives
  • Curled parsley
  • Golden sage
  • Rosemary
  • Large pot
  • Container compost
  • Gravel
  • Crocks (we've used broken up polystyrene seedling trays which the plants came in)

Step 1: prep your pots for good drainage 

Breaking up a polystyrene seedling tray to provide drainage at the bottom of a glazed pot

(Image credit: Future)

First you need to add your crocks to your garden planter ideas. We've used the polystyrene seedling tray which our plants came in. Reused polystyrene is ideal for providing drainage as it's lightweight, which you'll definitely appreciate when it comes to lifting and moving your pot around. It also means you're saving on your household waste, always an important factor for sustainable gardens

Then finish with some gravel to cover the drainage hole, and to prevent the compost from seeping out. 

Step 2: add your soil and plan your arrangement

Working out the best arrangement for herb plants in a plant pot

(Image credit: Future)

Fill to within 6in (15cm) of the brim with compost that is specially formulated for container growing. Then you should plan what plants you want to put where. Work out which herbs to place adjacent to one another, taking into account contrasting leaf colors, textures and shapes. 

Arrange the two different kinds of English lavender, with the shorter variety nearer the front of the pot to ensure it creates the most impact in your patio gardening ideas

Step 3: remove plants from their holders

Easing herb plants from their pots to plant them in a container

(Image credit: Future)

Now it’s time to secure your plants in the soil. Gently ease the herbs from their pots, avoiding damaging the rootball. Do this one by one as you plant in the positions you previously planned. It doesn’t matter if this isn’t exact of course. Just be sure to place your tall lavender at the back of the display. The golden oregano should go close to the edge where it will have room to expand.

Want to get the best from the lavender in your herb planter? There's plenty of useful  tips on how to grow lavender in our guide. 

Step 4: secure your plants in their place

Planting herb plants in a garden pot

(Image credit: Future)

Once you're happy with the way your plants are displayed, it's time to firm them in place. Add compost to make sure any gaps are filled. Keep topping up and firming down until all the root balls of the plants are covered.

Step 5: give your display some TLC

Woman watering a herb planter with a watering can

(Image credit: Future)

Once you've finished your arrangement, watering plants is next on the list of tasks for how to plant a herb pot. Make sure you give your herb display a good soaking with a watering can. 

You'll then need to find a sheltered but sunny spot for your herb pot to live. Water it regularly, particularly during hot weather. But try not to overwater, at no point should the compost become saturated. 

Now you've learned how to plant a herb pot, all that's left to do is harvest the herbs for your salads, stews and summer cocktails. A good tip for how to create a herb garden successfully is to pick the herbs little and often, taking care not to cut too much from one plant as it will take a while to grow back. 

Teresa Conway
Deputy Editor

Teresa has worked as an Editor on a number of gardening magazines for three years now. So she is lucky enough to see and write about gardening across all sizes, budgets and abilities. She recently moved into her first home and the garden is a real project! Currently she is relishing planning her own design and planting schemes. What she is most passionate about when it comes to gardening are the positive effects it has on our mental health to grow and care for plants, as well as being great for the environment too and help provide food and shelter for wildlife.