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Those who have gardens may still want to grow some plants in containers to brighten up a deck, patio, or the front stoop. If you think you can't garden because yard space is limited, container gardening offers you new options. Many herbs grow well in containers, but growing in a pot is not like growing in the garden. Special attention must be paid to some of the things we take for granted with plants growing in the garden:

  • pots—what they are made of, how big they are, and how they drain
  • potting mix—it has to be light and contain nutrients needed by the plants
  • location—sun, partial shade, sheltered
  • planting—special needs for potted plants
  • watering—how much and how often
  • fertilizing—how often and what fertilizer
  • pruning and training—which plants, how, and how often

Two excellent herbs to grow in pots are African blue basil and Fernleaf dill, which was actually developed to be grown in a pot. You'll find scented geraniums and alpine strawberries good in pots, too. In fact, alpine strawberries are the best strawberries for pots because they don't put out runners and they have a smallish rootball.

Here are a few other tips about specific herbs:

  • Mediterranean herbs such as lavender, sweet marjoram, thyme, and rosemary like a sandy soil.
  • Sweet marjoram and thyme do well together.
  • Rosemary, lavender, lemon verbena, and sage make fine single specimens in a 9" to 12" pot.
  • Parsley and dill have longish taproots and will do best in a deep pot.
  • Mint likes it wet and shady.
  • Coriander and parsley like a bright spot without direct sunlight and like it cool and wet.
  • The following herbs are suitable for hanging baskets: In sun-creeping thymes, prostrate rosemary, and ivies. In shade-pennyroyal and mints.
  • If you have an itty bitty space for culinary herbs, consider a window box with parsley, chives, rosemary, creeping lemon thyme, and basil, if it is a sheltered spot. Calendula or nasturtiums add a bit of color and can be eaten in salad.