Monty Don shares secret weapon for growing herbs in a pot

This simple tip will help them to grow healthily

garden gloves and potted herbs
(Image credit: Getty / Westend61)

Among the container gardening ideas out there, herbs are one of the best thanks to their good looks and beautiful fragrance. A herb garden also gives your cooking the edge. 

There's simply nothing better than being able to retrieve fresh herbs from the garden while cooking. If you've embraced the grow-your-own movement but have yet to branch out into the world of herbs, start on a strong footing with Gardeners' World host Monty Don's compost tip.

monty don

(Image credit: Alamy)

On a recent episode of Gardeners' World, Monty Don reveals that horticultural grit is your secret weapon when it comes to growing herbs. In the episode, he makes a herb garden in a large, low terracotta pot, with rosemary, oregano, sage and thyme. 

'The biggest enemy for Mediterranean herbs is sitting in cold, wet soil,' he warns. 'Compost for Mediterranean herbs is absolutely critical,' he continues.

'I'm doing what I say you never should do, and I'm recycling spent compost. It's extremely gritty. And what you want for Mediterranean herbs is poor growing conditions, so spent compost is, for them, ideal, if it is gritty enough.'

herbs in a raised bed

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

The gardening expert suggests buying a horticultural grit and mixing that 50/50 with a normal, peat-free compost.

Mix plenty of grit into the compost when planting Mediterranean herbs and it will help with drainage. As a result, there's no risk of these sun-loving herbs being sat in too much moisture.

In the episode, Monty also points out that you don't even need a garden in order to grow herbs. Herbs can grow just fine in pots. If you'd like to try growing fruit in pots as well as herbs, head over to our guide. 

potted herbs on ladder

(Image credit: Westend61)

Plus, you can take a look at our guide on how to grow a herb garden as you begin to grow more varieties.

Read: Gardening expert reveals tip for growing herbs and it costs nothing

Monty Don also commented that prostrate rosemary likes to grow sideways, so try planting it so that it grows out over the edge of your pot. If using your own compost, read our piece on how to compost for some extra tips.

We're feeling inspired to add to our own herb collections with some thyme and dill.

Millie Hurst
News Writer

Millie Hurst has worked in digital journalism for five years, having previously worked as a Senior SEO Editor at News UK both in London and New York. She joined the Future team in early 2021, working across several brands, including Gardeningetc. Now, she is Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home, taking care of evergreen articles aimed at inspiring people to make the most of their homes and outdoor spaces.