Plant a Perennial Herb Pot for Winter

Sheena Adams' 4 steps to a gorgeous and useful herb container garden.

Credit: Sheena Adams

Sheena Adams’s four-step guide to creating your own unique perennial herb planter

To create this simple planter, first pick a unique container, such as a washbasin or antique strainer. I chose an antique stove pot, but it could be an old chimney flue or lined basket.

Then visit your local garden centre and select your favourite herbs. They should be in 10-cm (4-in.) pots. That’s a suitable size for container planting and the plant will have an established rootball for the winter ahead. Look for the top-heavy one that will provide optimal winter harvest.

For winter enjoyment and harvest there are five great choices: bay tree, silver thyme, rosemary, parsley and chives. Be sure to check hardiness in your zone and, if necessary, keep your planter close to the house or in the greenhouse, making sure to water as needed.

Little treasures, such as globe balls, small birdbaths or a decorative stake can be a nice touch to add to a planter. Through the winter, enjoy little snips and tips of your herbs, using them sparingly as growth will be minimal.

What you will need

1. Selection of herbs. In photo above (front to back left): sweet basil (best for summer arrangements), silver thyme, parsley, rosemary, lavender, and (centre), bay tree.
2. Container of your choice.
3. Sterilized potting soil.
4. 1 cup (250 mL) organic fertilizer.
5. Decorative accessories such as a gazing ball, iron obelisk or ceramic herb labels.

Step 1: Ensure your container has drainage holes, then fill halfway with potting soil; sprinkle with the organic fertilizer.

Step 2: Arrange your herbs, placing tall-growing ones in the back and lower-growing to the front. Anchor the arrangement with a centre plant that will get some height; for year-round interest, choose one that’s evergreen.

Step 3: Nestle herbs in and top up with sterilized soil.

Step 4: Water well and accessorize. Then display in full sun.

Sheena’s best herbal planter themes

Calico Cat: Plant catnip, cat grass and catmint; fill in spaces with fragrant soft thyme, such as woolly thyme.
Mighty Mint: This aggressive herb is best grown in a container. Make a “quilt” of mint including chocolate, orange, peppermint, ginger, pineapple and apple.
Balmy Basil: Select lemon, lime, Thai, cinnamon, sweet, anise and purple basils. For a colourful contrast, plant a hot red pepper plant, such as habañero, in the centre.