10 Culinary Herbs for the Container Garden

Basil The following 10 container plants can do double-duty in a small-space garden: They are herbs that can create a beautiful garden space on an urban balcony as well as provide fresh herbs for cooking.


If you are lucky enough to have a southern-facing window in your kitchen, you can grow your favorite herbs in a small kitchen garden and pick off fresh leaves as you need them. The majority of your culinary herb plants can be grown outdoors in a partly sunny to sunny spot in your balcony container garden. Here are the 10 best herbs for balcony container gardens.

1. Bay. Bay leaves are often used in soups and other dishes, and the bay plant can be grown in a plant container outdoors. Prune in the summer or it will grow quite large. If your balcony gets windy (which is often the case in urban balconies on tall buildings) keep this plant in a sheltered spot where wind won’t damage it.

2. Chives. This plant’s oniony flavor is used in soups, salads and other dishes. The tall grassy leaves are accompanied by round pink flowers in the summer. For best flavor, don’t let the plant flower.

3. Fennel. Fennel leaves, bulbs and seeds are used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. This plant grows tall and somewhat resembles parsley, with yellow umbrella-shaped flower clusters.

4. Mint. There are many mint types to choose from, including spearmint, apple mint, lemon mint and peppermint, and all types can become invasive in a garden. Container gardeners do not have to worry about mint plants spreading. Instead these plants can be kept in a shady spot and be expected to thrive in almost any condition. Read more about growing mint>>

5. Oregano. Oregano is a pretty, low-growing plant for herb gardens. It has dark green leaves and tiny purple flowers that form on spikes. Oregano is popular in Italian cuisine and can easily add flavor to many dishes. Read more about growing oregano>>

6. Parsley. Parsley is a popular herb that has yellow umbrella-shaped flower clusters that attract pollinating bees to the garden. When grown for its leaves, this biennial plant tastes best if grown as an annual. Read more about growing parsley>>

7. Rosemary. Rosemary is a tasty herb that can be pruned to any aesthetically pleasing shape in a container garden. Rosemary blooms with tiny purple flowers and attracts pollinating bees to the balcony garden. Read more about growing rosemary>>

8. Sage. Salvia officinalis is grown for culinary purposes, but decorative sage is also available to the container gardener. Read more about growing sage>>

9. Tarragon. French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) is the most flavorful tarragon type to grow in the kitchen garden. This perennial plant must be kept in a sunny spot.

10. Thyme. Thyme goes well in many dishes, including egg, chicken and pizza dishes. Thyme keeps is flavor for a long time if dried.

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