Skip to Content

15 Best Herbs To Grow in Pots? Small Space Growing

Affiliate Link Disclosure

This post may contain affiliate links. I take part in Amazon and other affiliate companies, that if you purchase products through one of my links, I will receive a small commission from the company in question. It is at NO additional cost to you.

If you lack space but are still keen to try home-growing some tasty treats, potted herbs are one of the best options. They add a lovely scent to your garden and will help you take your kitchen game to the next level!

Growing an herb garden is quite simple, even in a small space. There are many varieties of herbs that can be grown successfully in pots. Given proper care, they will produce delicious leaves for much of the year.

These are the fifteen herbs that I wouldn’t be without. They are helpful, beautiful, and well suited to pots and small space growing.

Mint

Picture of Mint

Mints have square stems and scented leaves that are opposite each other. Many are aggressive in gardens and can spread vegetatively via stolons. The tiny blooms are usually pale purple, pink, or white and are grouped in clusters in whorls or on a terminal spike.

The flowers have four instead of five joined petals, which distinguishes them from other family members. Resinous spots on the leaves and stems hold the volatile oils.

Uses

Mint is so versatile! I like to use it in tea, pesto, mint sauce, and as a garnish. My favorite use for mint, though, is as an insect repellent. Biting insects seem to hate the scent.

Light

Mint loves full sun but will thrive in partial shade, too.

Water

Water potted mint regularly, in hot weather, as the bushy leaves will stop the rain from penetrating the soil.

Soil

Mint is not fussy, but it does best in fertile, loamy, free-draining soil, with a pH of 6.0 or 7.0.

Over-wintering

Mint is a hardy perennial and can survive sub-zero temperatures. As with all potted plants, your mint will need to be kept sheltered and raised off the ground in harsh winters to protect the roots from ground frosts.

Propagation

Mint will fill the pot very fast! In autumn, divide it into two or three, and re-pot.

A word of warning – do not be tempted to plant mint with other herbs in a container. It will very quickly overwhelm them. Best to give it its own space!

Oregano

Oregano is a herb that is used to season cuisine. It’s regarded safe in average food amounts, but there’s little proof that it’s good for your health. Oregano has purple blooms and olive-green leaves. It is closely related to mint, thyme, marjoram, and basil, among other herbs.

Uses

Whenever I walk past a bed of Oregano in full sun, I want a pizza! The scent of this earthy, Mediterranean herb is synonymous with Italian cooking.

Light

Oregano loves full sun, at least 6-8 hours per day.

Water

Oregano can succumb to root-rot if over-watered. Wait until the topsoil is dry to the touch between watering.

Soil

Oregano doesn’t mind a lean, even slightly rocky soil as long as it’s free-draining and of a neutral pH of 6.0 or 7.0; your plant should be happy.

Over-wintering

Wet roots and low temperatures are lethal to Oregano. I recommend raising the pot on feet and finding a sheltered spot against a wall for the winter. You can move it out again once the last frosts have passed.

Propagation

Divide your pot of oregano in autumn once flowering has passed. Plant your divisions into pH-neutral, free-draining soil.

Sage

Sage is a hardy perennial with attractive greyish green foliage that works well in a perennial border and a vegetable garden. It produces purple, blue, white, and pink spring flower spikes in a variety of colors.

Uses

If oregano makes me think of pizza, sage has me craving holiday stuffing! It’s a great herb to flavor sausage or chicken.

Light

You’ll get the best results from placing your pot of sage in full sun in a sheltered spot—it’s not a fan of strong winds.

Water

As with all potted plants, water regularly, but just like Oregano, wait until the topsoil is dry before you water. Sage hates very wet roots.

Soil

Sage will enjoy a loamy, free-draining soil with a neutral pH of 6.0 or 7.0.

Over-wintering

Move your pot to a sheltered spot and consider a layer of horticultural fleece to keep it cozy in the worst of the frosts.

Propagation

I’ve had good results propagating sage from softwood cuttings. Here’s how to do it:

In early summer

Remove around 4 inches of a young, non-flowering shoot, cutting the material above a bud. Morning is the best time of the day to do this.

Use a cutting knife to trim your material between 2-4 inches, making sure to cut just below a leaf node.

Dip the base of the cutting in hormone rooting powder.

Fill a container with cuttings compost and, using a clean stick, make a hole to place your cutting in.

Pop the cutting in, making sure the lowest leaves are just higher than the compost level.

Water in well.

Cover your container with horticultural fleece and place it in a warm spot with plenty of light. The fiber will protect the cutting from scorching in bright sun and will also allow enough ventilation.

Sage cuttings will take around 3-4 weeks to root, and you should make sure you keep the soil moist but never wet during that time.

Once they’re rooted, you can harden them off for a couple of weeks, then transplant them to individual pots.

Rosemary

Rosemary is a Mediterranean evergreen herb with a sweet scent. It’s used in cooking, as a perfume ingredient, and for its potential health advantages. Like oregano, thyme, basil, and lavender, Rosemary belongs to the mint family Lamiaceae, including oregano, thyme, basil, and lavender.

Uses

Rosemary goes with loads of different dishes. It can be dried and added directly to cooking or infused into oils or salt to flavor them.

Light

Rosemary is another Mediterannean herb that loves full sun.

Water

Water regularly when in a pot, but do not over-water, as root-rot can be an issue.

Soil

Rosemary prefers a free-draining, slightly acidic soil with a pH of around 5.0 – 6.0.

Over-wintering

Bring rosemary pots indoors over the winter months, as the roots are particularly susceptible to rot and frost.

Propagation

Rosemary, like sage, is a woody shrub. The softwood cutting method works well.

Lavender

Lavender, a culinary herb, is also a beautiful addition to borders and perennial gardens, giving sweeping drifts of color from early summer through late fall. Lavender is perfect for making informal hedges because of its silvery-green foliage, tall flower spikes, and compact shrub-like appearance. It’s also suitable for making scented floral arrangements, sachets, and potpourri.

Uses

Lavender is famed for its blue-purple blossoms. It’s also desirable to pollinating insects and will be covered in bees on hot days.

Light

Full sun.

Water

Water regularly when you plant Lavender in a pot, but make sure the soil is never saturated.

Soil

Lavender loves a free-draining, gritty soil, thanks to its Mediterranean origins, thriving at a pH of 6.5-8.0.

Over-wintering

For hardiness, choose an English cultivar, like ‘Hidcote’ or ‘Munstead.’ These are the best selections if you regularly get sub-zero temps over winter.

Propagation

Softwood cuttings are an excellent option for propagating Lavender

Lovage

Lovage is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows to a height of 1.8–2.5 meters (6–8 feet). It has a base rosette of leaves and stems with more leaves, with flowers produced in umbels at the top of the stems. When crushed, the stems and leaves have a glabrous green to yellow-green appearance with a celery-like aroma.

Uses

If you’re new to herb gardening, you may not even have heard of Lovage! I think it’s very underrated. The flavor is like celery but zestier. I’ve used it in summer soups and stews, and it makes other flavors pop.

Light

Lovage likes around 4-6 hours of sun per day, but it will still do well in partial shade.

Water

Lovage needs more water than some of the others we’ve looked at. Especially when planting in a pot, you’ll need to keep the soil moist.

Soil

Treat lovage to richer soil, with plenty of organic matter mixed, though. PH should be neutral, around 6.5. It should still be bee-free-draining, though.

Over-wintering

Lovage will survive the winter outside, even in frosty areas. Raise the pot to protect the roots, and you should see it rejuvenate in Spring.

Propagation

You can divide the root ball in Autumn or early spring, or you can gather the abundant seeds and plant them out at the start of the next growing season.

Thyme

Thyme is a lovely herb with a clover flavor that is sweet and spicy. To us, it smells like summer! There are fragrant ornamental thyme cultivars and culinary thyme kinds that provide a savory accent to soups, grilled meats, and vegetables throughout the summer.

Uses

Thyme is yummy in savory recipes with meat, fish, or even baked through slices of bread.

Light

Full sun is best.

Water

Thyme is drought tolerant and, even in a pot, will only need occasional watering.

Soil

Very lean, gritty, free-draining soil. If space is tight, you can even try growing thyme in cracks in your wall or paving.

Over-wintering

If it’s in a pot, raise your thyme to stop root-rot.

Propagation

Softwood cuttings.

Chives

Chives are herbs with long green stems and a mild, not-too-pungent flavor related to onions and garlic. They provide brilliant color and oniony flavor to soups, sauces, dips, and many egg and potato-based foods. They are typically (but not always) used as a garnish. They’re simple to grow, simple to find, and simple to use.

Uses

So delicious in potato salads, soups, omelets, and any savory dish!

Light

Full sun is best, but partial shade will do.

Water

Water regularly when in a pot, but do not saturate.

Soil

Rich, free-draining soil with lots of organic matter mixed in and a pH of 6.5-7.0.

Over-wintering

Chives are hardy perennials and will die down over winter, but they are tough and will return in spring. Just remember to elevate the pot to protect the roots.

Propagation

Division in autumn works best for chives.

Cilantro

Cilantro comes from the coriander plant’s fresh leaves (Coriandrum sativum). The herb is also known as Chinese parsley and Mexican parsley, and it belongs to the parsley family. Fresh coriander leaves are what cilantro is known as in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world.

Growing on long, fragile stalks, the leaves resemble flat-leaf parsley. Coriander spice is made from the seeds of the plant, yet it tastes nothing like cilantro. The plant’s roots are edible and can be used in a variety of recipes. pest-repelling ant

Uses

Great to spice any savory dish up! I love it in pasta, oils, rice, and dressings.

Light

Light shade is best, as young leaves will scorch easily.

Water

Keep soil moist, but do not saturate the pot.

Soil

Well-drained, loamy soil is good. The pH should be a neutral 7.0

Over-wintering

Cover with fleece and raise on pot feet over the colder season.

Propagation

I’ve found the best way to keep up a supply is to sow seeds every couple of weeks. It germinates fast, and you can get a continuous crop from the seeds of the parent plant.

Basil

Basil leaves are shiny and oval, with smooth or slightly serrated edges that cup slightly and are grouped oppositely along square stems. The tiny flowers are white to magenta and are borne in terminal clusters. The plant is frost-sensitive and thrives in warm environments. When cultivated in humid climates, Basil is subject to Fusarium wilt, blight, and downy mildew.

Uses

Great in soups, on top of pizzas, and so good on top of strawberry ice cream!

Light

Basil loves full sun, except in the hottest areas, where a little afternoon protection is recommended.

Water

Take great care when watering – I’ve had leaves rot off when young plants are overwatered. Make sure the topsoil is dry, and the soil at the drainage holes is just damp.

Soil

Fertile, free-draining soil, at a more acidic pH of around 5.5

Over-wintering

Over-wintering basil is unlikely, even indoors. It’s very tender. In my experience, you’re better at starting from scratch each year.

Propagation

Grow from seed or buy young plants in spring.

Lemon Verbena

Long, slender, and pointed, the leaves are yellowish-green in color. They have a bright lemon-like flavor and perfume and are high in aromatic oil. The leaves make an excellent herb tea, either used alone or in conjunction with other herbs. Lemon verbena is used to flavor sweet drinks, adorn fruit cups and salads, and flavor jellies and puddings. Excellent, They’re also utilized in colognes and sachets for their scent.

Uses

Like lovage, lemon verbena is often overlooked, but I think it’s worth a shot. It’ll add a citrusy kick to jams and desserts as well as savory sauces and oil infusions. It’s refreshing as a tea, too.

Light

A native of South America, lemon verbena favors full sun.

Water

Water regularly, but sparingly.

Soil

Free-draining soil with plenty of organic matter mixed in and a slightly acidic pH of 6.0 – 7.0.

Over-wintering

Lemon Verbena is quite tender and shouldn’t be left out in a pot over winter. I take mine inside during the dormant season until the last frosts have passed.

Propagation

Like lavender, rosemary, and sage, lemon verbena can be propagated well using the softwood cuttings method.

Parsley

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a hardy biennial herb of the Apiaceae (or Umbelliferae) family endemic to the Mediterranean region. The ancient Greeks and Romans utilized parsley leaves as a flavoring and garnish for their food.

The compound leaves, which develop in a cluster during the first season of growth and are deep green, soft, and curled or deeply frilled, are used fresh or dried, and the pleasantly aromatic flavor is popular in fish, meats, soups, sauces, and salads. The main element in bouquet garni and more fine herbs is frequently parsley.

Uses

Parsley is probably the most famous garnish in the world! It also tastes great in pesto, soups, salads, and egg dishes.

Light

Full sun or partial shade is acceptable.

Water

Regular watering is required during the growing season when potted, but parsley is naturally quite drought tolerant, so take care not to over-water.

Soil

Rich, fertile, and free-draining loam. pH 6.0-7.0.

Over-wintering

Parsley is hardy and can survive even under snow. In a pot, though, raise it on the roots’ feet and cover with fleece or place in a sheltered spot.

Propagation

Parsley is easy to propagate from seed. Seedlings should be started in trays indoors and planted out into pots at the start of the growing season.

Fennel

Fennel is a perennial herb of the Apiaceae family known for its edible shoots, leaves, and seeds. Fennel is a cultivated plant native to southern Europe and Asia Minor, considered an invasive species in Australia and United States.

The bulblike stem base of Florence fennel and the blanched shoots are eaten as a vegetable, while all plant sections are aromatic and used in flavoring. The seeds and extracted oil smell and taste like anise, and they’re used to scent soaps and perfumes and flavor sweets, liqueurs, medicines, and dishes, including pastries, sweet pickles, and fish.

Uses

Fennel is excellent paired with fish, and you can use the bulb, the stems, and the lovely feathery fronds to add a powerful aniseed punch to your recipes.

Light

Fennel likes full sun, around 6-8 hours per day.

Water

Water fennel regularly when in a pot. They are relatively drought-tolerant by nature, so that they won’t require too much watering.

Soil

Fennel thrives in rich, fertile loam. The pH should be between 5.0 – 7.0. Fennel is giant, so make sure you have a deep pot to accommodate the taproot. I also recommend ‘shoring up the soil, as you do with potatoes, as the bulbs are tender and shouldn’t be exposed.

Over-wintering

Fennel is hardy down to around 17C. in the ground. In pots, it will be more susceptible, so bring it indoors if you can.

Propagation

Harvest the seeds in late summer, dry them thoroughly, then store them in an air-tight container. The following spring, soak them well for several days before sowing directly into a freshly prepared pot.

Bay

Bay leaf, also known as laurel leaf, is the leaf of the sweet bay tree (Laurus nobilis), an evergreen of the Lauraceae family native to Mediterranean regions. They contain about 2% essential oil, with cineole being the most critical component.

The smooth, glossy dried bay leaves are typically used whole and then removed from the dish after cooking; powdered bay leaves are also available. Bay has been grown since ancient times, and its leaves were used to make the laurel wreaths that crowned triumphant athletes in ancient Greece.

Uses

Bay leaves are a staple in bouquet garni and Indian, Italian, and French cuisine. There is also scientific evidence that bay leaves contain anti-bacterial properties.

Light

Bay is another Mediterranean herb, so full sun if possible.

Water

Water young bay trees regularly, but make sure drainage is good. Place your pot on your feet to make sure the roots don’t get water-logged.

Soil

Fertile, free-draining soil is best, and you should re-pot your bay tree every couple of years to make sure the soil isn’t depleted of nutrients, and the plant isn’t pot-bound.

Over-wintering

In colder areas, you will need to take bay plants indoors during the winter months. Please wait until the frosts have passed before moving them outside again.

Propagation

You can use the softwood cutting method to propagate young bay plants.

Sorrel

Sorrel refers to a group of leafy greens frequently seen at farmers’ markets, particularly in the spring and summer. Salads, stir-fries, marinades, soups, and casseroles can all benefit from it. It tastes great with fish, cream, yogurt, and cheese.

Uses

Sorrel has a lemony, citrus flavor. I love it with fish and in salads when the leaves are young and tender.

Light

Full sun to partial shade.

Water

Sorrel needs a bit more water than most of the herbs on the list. Especially in pots and in hot weather if it doesn’t get enough moisture.

Soil

A rich, slightly water-retentive soil with a pH on the acidic side, 5.5-6.5, is best.

Over-wintering

Sorrel is a true hardy perennial and will survive outside overwinter in a pot, as long as you raise it to protect the roots from the cold, damp ground.

Propagation

Sow sorrel seeds in spring, or propagate by division in autumn, once growth has slowed.

Conclusion on 15 best herbs to grow in pots

I hope that this post has given you food for thought on the best herbs to plant in pots. Even with limited space, you can enjoy these easy, fuss-free, and delicious plants in the garden and the kitchen!

If you want to grow herbs but don’t have a garden. I wrote an article showing ideas on indoor herb gardens. You can read it here.

If you found value in this article, subscribe to the blog for all future updates. You can do that below.