The Best 20 Herbs for Container Gardening

Kasey Spencer
Homegrown herb plants in pots on window parapet. Basil and parsley

With over 13 years of gardening experience tucked under my belt, I’ve come to appreciate the simplicity and immense rewards of growing herbs in containers. Whether you have a sprawling garden, a small balcony, or just a sunny windowsill, incorporating herbs can transform your space and your cooking.

Herbs are some of the most rewarding plants to grow. They require minimal space, grow quickly, and offer a burst of flavors and aromas that can elevate any dish. Plus, the aesthetic appeal of lush greenery right at your fingertips is undeniable.

Growing herbs in containers is not just about adding beauty and flavor to your life; it’s a practical choice for urban dwellers, people with limited outdoor space, and anyone interested in an accessible, manageable gardening project.So, whether you’re looking to spice up your culinary creations or enjoy the therapeutic gardening process, you’re in the right place.

Culinary Classics

1. Basil

fresh basil herbs
Image: Envato Elements

Basil stands out in any culinary herb garden with its lush, fragrant leaves that are indispensable in pesto and fresh salads. Thriving in warm, sunny spots, basil is a fast grower that rewards regular harvesting with bushier growth. Water consistently but avoid soggy soil to keep it happy.

2. Parsley

Parsley in basket
Image: Envato Elements

This versatile herb is more than just a garnish. Its bright, fresh flavor complements a wide range of dishes. Parsley is undemanding, thriving in partial to full sun and regular watering. It’s biennial, but most gardeners grow it as an annual for the best flavor.

3. Cilantro

fresh cilantro herb
Image: Envato Elements

A staple in Mexican and Asian cuisines, cilantro adds a distinctive fresh taste to salsas and curries. It prefers cooler temperatures and can bolt (flower and go to seed) in heat, so consider planting in spring or fall. Harvest leaves regularly to encourage growth.

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4. Rosemary

rosemary plant
Image: Envato Elements

With its woody stems and needle-like leaves, rosemary is a robust herb that’s perfect for roasting meats and vegetables. It thrives in well-drained soil and full sun, making it a great choice for a container that can be placed in a sunny spot. It’s drought-tolerant once established.

5. Thyme

Fresh Thyme Herb
Image: Envato Elements

Thyme is a low-maintenance herb with tiny, aromatic leaves ideal for soups, stews, and marinades. It prefers well-drained soil and is perfect for a sunny windowsill. Thyme grows well with minimal watering, embodying the essence of Mediterranean flavors.

Aromatic Favorites

6. Mint

Fresh mint in white vase
Image: Envato Elements

Mint is a vigorous grower known for its refreshing aroma. Ideal for teas, cocktails, and garnishes, it’s best kept in a separate container to prevent it from overtaking other plants. It enjoys moist, well-drained soil and partial to full sun.

7. Lavender

man gardener holding lavender flowers in flowerpot in garden
Image: Envato Elements

Lavender’s fragrant purple flowers are a delight, offering culinary and aromatic uses while attracting bees to the garden. It requires full sun and well-drained soil, making it suited for containers where soil conditions can be closely controlled.

8. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm herb
Image: Envato Elements

With its citrus-scented leaves, lemon balm is excellent for teas and natural remedies. It prefers partial shade and moist, well-drained soil, making it a forgiving herb for container gardening. Regular harvesting encourages bushier growth.

9. Sage

Terra cotta pot with fresh sage
Image: Envato Elements

Sage’s aromatic leaves are a staple in stuffing and pair well with poultry and pork. It thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. Sage’s drought tolerance makes it a good match for container gardening, requiring less frequent watering.

10. Chamomile

Chamomile
Image: Envato Elements

Known for its relaxing teas, chamomile is easy to grow in containers. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil. The daisy-like flowers not only add beauty to your herb garden but can also be harvested to make a soothing tea.

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Medicinal Marvels

11. Echinacea

Coneflower (Echinacea)
Image: Envato Elements

Echinacea is celebrated for its immune-boosting properties. It adapts well to container life, needing full sun and well-drained soil. Its beautiful flowers add aesthetic value while serving medicinal purposes.

12. Peppermint

Fresh mint in white vase
Image: Envato Elements

A digestive aid known for its vigorous growth, peppermint requires its container to prevent spreading. It enjoys moist conditions and partial shade to full sun. Harvest leaves frequently to keep the plant in check and enjoy its fresh flavor.

13. Lemongrass

Lemongrass
Image: Envato Elements

Lemongrass, with its strong antioxidant properties, is used in teas, soups, and Asian cuisine. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil. In cooler climates, bring containers indoors during winter to protect them from frost.

14. Oregano

Oregano

A must-have for any Italian dish, oregano boasts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It prefers full sun and well-drained slightly alkaline soil. Oregano is drought-tolerant, making it an excellent herb for beginners.

15. Dill

fresh dill
Image: Envato Elements

Dill’s feathery leaves are essential for pickling and complementing fish dishes. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Because it can grow tall, choose a deep container to accommodate its root system.

Unique Additions

16. Stevia

Stevia houseplant
Image: Envato Elements

As a natural sweetener, stevia is a fantastic addition to a diabetes-friendly garden. It requires full sun and regular watering, thriving in well-drained soil. Harvest leaves to sweeten tea or desserts naturally.

17. Tarragon

Tarragon
Image: Envato Elements

With its anise-like flavor, tarragon is a cornerstone of French cuisine. It needs full sun and well-drained soil. Regular harvesting encourages new growth, ensuring a steady supply of its flavorful leaves.

18. Fennel

Fennel

Fennel, with its licorice flavor, is attractive to both pollinators and gardeners. It requires full sun and rich, well-drained soil. Fennel can grow tall, so support may be needed in windy locations.

19. Chives

Chives
Image: Envato Elements

Chives add a mild onion flavor to dishes and are incredibly easy to grow in containers. They prefer full sun but can tolerate partial shade, making them versatile for various garden settings.

20. Marjoram

Fresh picked marjoram
Fresh picked marjoram

Similar to oregano but with a sweeter, citrus flavor, marjoram is a delightful addition to any herb garden. It thrives in full sun and well-drained soil, adding depth to dishes with its subtle flavor.

Each of these herbs offers something unique to the container gardener, from the robust flavors of culinary classics to the soothing aromas of aromatic favorites and the healing properties of medicinal marvels. With proper care and a little patience, you’ll enjoy a rich tapestry of flavors and fragrances right from your balcony or windowsill.

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