Grow A Pot of Herbs!

Fresh herbs are delicious, but they cost money. Money you’d be better off using for other things, because herbs can be grown in a pot and the Nintendo Wii cannot. You don’t even need a yard! The National Gardening Associations says “a simple container on a deck or patio can provide herbs all season, as you need them.”

They suggest buying the herbs at a plant store rather than trying to start them yourself with seeds. It’s easier and provides instant gratification. Some good herbs for your pot: basil, cilantro, thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary, and parsley. These plants should be available at your basic garden store. Some more interesting ones to try include lemongrass, lovage, and French tarragon. Plant them all in a large container full of moistened soil and be sure to plant taller plants (basil) in the middle of the container and sprawling ones (oregano) along the sides.

If you’re only going to choose one herb, we recommend basil. It’s yummy and you’ll save a lot of money by growing it yourself! MEGHANN MARCO

Herbs in a Pot [National Gardening Association]
(Photo: Kris Cohen)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Aston14 says:

    I live in an apartment, and I grow basil and cilantro by the window in the kitchen, it gets sun during the afternoon, and they grow fine. It really does save some cash too. Good stuff.

  2. acambras says:

    Yes, we saved a ton of money last summer on basil and cilantro — our favorite and most often-used herbs.

    If you like mint, there are several varieties available. But put it in its own container — it tends to grow fast and take over.

  3. quail says:

    Our local store carries fresh basil with its root systems intact. (A carryover from being hydroponic?) My wife pulls all of the leaves off and replants the basil. In no time fresh leaves will come out. If we kill the plant then we’re back to the store to buy more fresh basil…and repeat.

  4. I love cilantro. It would please me to watch it grow.

  5. John Stracke says:

    Basil and cilantro are good because they have such a strong flavor when fresh.

  6. thrillhouse says:

    Its pretty tough to beat having fresh cilantro, parsley, sage, chives, mint, rosemary, and oregano a stone’s throw away. Fresh herbs rule.

  7. Jory says:

    Ugh. Why do you tease me by placing “Grow” and “Pot” in a headline like that?

  8. Tush says:

    Ideally, we should grow most of our food locally.

    Someday you won’t have to get in your machine and drive with other machines to go to the gigantic machine that gives you food. Just go to your backyard!

    Food grows out of the ground.

    Yes, I know, people live in apartments… that’s where community gardens come in place.

  9. any such name says:

    actually, it’s really easy to start basil from seed. i started mine two weeks ago and most of the seeds sprouted (the ones that didn’t i added another seed and a week later – voila! basil!)
    plus that way, from a $2.29 pack of basil seeds from target, you can give all of your friends a plant!

  10. FLConsumer says:

    There’s one “herb” unmentioned which is best grown at home rather than purchased…

  11. boicraig says:

    I grow my herbs at home too. But mine make my money ;)

  12. flyover says:


    love it with pasta, meats etc etc.

  13. jgodsey says:

    i recommend getting a used fish tank with hood at a yard sale. you can set the plant light on a timer so your herbs get the required light. and the hood protects your plants from your pets. fresh cut herbs at the grocery store cost 3.99, the 3″ potted herb plant cost me 2.99.

  14. spryte says:

    Another thing that’s great about growing things like basil at home (for me, at least) is usually, stores sell it in a rather large quantity for what it is. I mean, you only need a small amount of an herb for most recipes. Whenever I’ve bought fresh basil, I’ve always ended up not being able to use it all before it gets wilty and gross.

  15. Citron says:

    I had a small rosemary bush for a while, but it became large, unwieldy, didn’t look too happy in its planter, and then my cats destroyed it. I was heartbroken. I’d like to grow some small herbs in a garden with a clear lid next time — something to keep the cats out.

  16. Basil and parsley are my two big money savers!

    Catnip is dead easy to grow (but don’t put it in the ground — it’s invasive) and your cats will ADORE you if you grow them some potted catnip. Outside. Where they can’t get to it. Otherwise they’ll uproot it and kill the whole plant. I know this from bitter experience.

  17. @spryte: Spryte, that’s exactly why to grow your own herbs (and how I got started on this whole gardening thing which has spiraled way out of control). Growing parsley at home is cheaper — including set-up — than buying fresh parsley once (and losing half of it to spoilage before you use it!).

  18. Hexum2600 says:

    @Danilo Campos: It would please me to watch it grow? It puts the lotion on its leaves, or it gets the hose again.

  19. kimsama says:

    Some tips for basil (since it’s so popular). I’ve been growing basil from seed for years — can’t beat the price (about $2 for a ton of plants, planted anytime — just keep the unused seeds in a dry, cool, dark place).

    Try to put it in a south-facing window. It likes lots of sunlight throughout the day.

    One big problem with basil is that black rot it sometimes develops. Best way to prevent this is to scrub your pots before planting with a bleach or vinegar solution (don’t use bleach on clay pots, and make sure to soak clay pots afterward to leach out the vinegar before planting). If growing from seed buy either treated seeds or soak seeds in 4 parts water + 1 part bleach for 1 minute, then rinse for 5 minutes under running water. And NEVER reuse potting soil from a basil plant that got streaky and died.

    Cut off buds and flowers as they appear to prevent the plant from going to seed (and having part die off). Cut up higher for a leggy plant, lower to the dirt for a bushier plant.

    If you take care of your basil, it’ll grow for several years indoors (even though it’s technically an annual). Sweet basil and Genovese basil are my personal favorites (Genovese gets huge normally, though).

    Also, another great plant for container growing is shiso. It’s just fantastic in Japanese and Vietnamese food, and there’s really no substitute for the flavor. It can be tremendously hard to find fresh, and it’s a good one to have around if you make lots of food from either of those cuisines.

  20. Brian Gee says:

    @Tush: Get a haircut, hippie! ;)