How to plant a herb garden

Whether you have a garden, balcony or just a space on your kitchen worktop here's how you can plant a herb garden

herbs growing in pots
(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

Not sure how many times we can start an article with, 'We are all spending a whole lot more time at home right now", but we don't think a couple more times will hurt. So, we are all spending a whole lot more time at home right now and that means more time to do wholesome things. Bake bread, knit jumpers and of course, get gardening. 

Gardening is so good for your mental health and you don't need acres to put your green fingers to use. In fact even if you have zero outside space you can still plant a small herb garden and keep it on your kitchen side or on a window sill. So keep scrolling to find our step by step to planting a successful herb garden regardless of how much space you have. 

You will need:

Step one: choose what to plant your herb garden in 

This obviously depends on the size you want your herb garden to be and where you will be keeping it. If you are growing an outdoor herb garden you can plant it up in any type of container – pots, old sinks, wooden boxes, metal planters – the main thing is to just make sure it has good drainage so the water can escape.

If you are growing an indoor herb garden you can use small ceramic or metal pots for each herb, again just make sure they have holes in the bottom and pop something underneath them to catch the water. You can find loads of potting ideas over in our full herb garden guide.

If you don't already have some suitable containers hanging around you can order them online from places like Crocus, Waitrose Garden, Garden trading.

Step two: choose the right soil 

Potting soil is the best kind for herb gardens as it drains quicker than regular garden soil and much less dense. You can order potting soil online on Amazon (really, is there anything you can't order on Amazon).

Step three: choose the right herbs

If you are a beginner to herb gardening, start with the easier to grow plants. Mint, parsley and basil are all great for growing in pots and are relatively easy to maintain. Mint is fast growing so it will need a larger container, and likes sunlight. Parsley is easy too, just keep it moist and in areas that are partially shaded. Basil likes sunny spots and needs to be watered regularly.

You can order herbs online, we recommend going for starter plants rather than seeds. 

Step four: get planting

So once you have the right container, soil and your pick of herbs you can start planting. Pop on your gardening gloves and fill the bottom of whatever pots or containers you are using with around a centimeter of draining stones then fill it around halfway with soil, pop your starter herb in and just add as much more soil as it needs to fill the pot.

Give them a nice drink when they have been potted and then pop them in a suitable place for the type of herbs you are growing. Usually, this will be at least partially in the sun. If you are planning on growing your herbs outdoors we recommend you still keep them inside for a couple of weeks before taking them outdoors. 

Tips on caring for your herb garden  

  • Herb gardens or herbs in pots will need to be watered regularly so just test the soil each day, if it feels crumbly or dry give them a water. 
  • Herbs require full sun for most of the day so make sure you pop them somewhere bright and warm whether that be indoors or outdoors
  • Pick your herbs regularly. The more you pick the herbs, the bushier and healthier they will grow and stop bolting, but don’t remove more than half the plant at any one time.
  • Prune hardy herbs that stay outside in spring. That will include rosemary, lavender, thyme, mint, chives, sage, bay.

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