Herbs are naturally sun-lovers, doing best in full-sun growing conditions, but, there are some you can grow in part-shade. I’ll give you a list and some growing tips.
For more, also see these growing tips and creative craft ideas for herbs.
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Grow Herbs in Containers
Some herbs are perennial (live for several years), and others are annual (completing their life cycle within one year), or biennial (a two-year life cycle), but no mater what, you can grow them in containers.
When you purchase seeds or starter plants, check the tag or seed packet for growing instructions. This varies by climate and growing conditions.
Use Good Soil
- Herbs like well-drained soil that does not get soggy or dry out.
- I use store-bought, organic, container soil intended for food crops. You should be able to find it at a local store or garden nursery, and be sure to read the packaging to ensure it is ‘food safe’. You can also add perlite to improve the drainage.
- I use the finger tip test for watering: if the soil feels dry one inch below the surface, I water. If you’re new to gardening and unsure, get a moisture meter like this one at Amazon. These provide a quick, reliable way to know how dry the soil is and the unit does not require power or batteries.
Find Their Happy Place
While they do fine in similar container conditions, herbs can vary quite a bit in how much sun they enjoy. This is why container growing is a good idea. I move my containers around until I find that perfect amount of light that spurs growth without drying out the containers or causing the plants to bolt (premature flowering in response to stress).
For example, sweet basil has the most delicious taste and scent when it is young and tender, but after repeated exposure to hot sun, it is repulsive and bitter. I can tell just by looking at the plant if it has crossed this line.
To encourage new growth, I clip my herbs regularly, whether I’m using the clippings for cooking or not. Regular cutting back encourages new leaves and discourages flowering and bolting.
Herb Light Needs
I created this chart (below) listing the preferred sun conditions for many herbs. Don’t take it as a rule book but just a general guide. Herbs are quite adaptable and while growth may vary, they do well in a variety of settings.
While most herbs are sun-lovers, you can grow many of them in part-shade. It usually slows down growth but they do fine and there’s less risk of them drying out in the hot sun.
For successful herb crops, grow in containers with organic container soil, water as needed, and place the pots where they receive the desired amount of sun.
Are you a tea drinker? You can also grow plants for making your own homegrown teas.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛