Herb container gardens are as simple to plant and maintain as they are to pick and enjoy. Using a patio space to plant your herbs makes it even easier to grab the flavorful, fresh herbs you need right when you need them, and you won’t need a big budget or an extra green thumb to get it started.

Herbs really do grow well in containers, as this can eliminate invasions by weeds or garden critters. Most herbs tend to be quite hardy, can grow happily in small or medium sized planters and need good drainage, direct sunlight and appropriate watering.

Planning an herb garden is as simple as determining which herbs you’d like to grow and harvest, how to group them appropriately based on their needs and choosing the right planters and location to plant them in.

If you’re ready to jump start your own patio herb garden this spring and summer, here are simple tips to get you well on your way.

Planning Your Garden
Choosing which herbs to grow and in what planters to grow them in is fairly easy. You’ll want to choose herbs that you know you’ll use often, since the general rule of herb harvesting is the more you pick, the more they’ll grow. Choose from basil, rosemary, peppermint, dill and parsley, to name a few. Once you know what you’d like to grow, you’ll want to make sure to pot them accordingly. Some herbs need more light and water than others, so you’ll want to make sure they have the same needs before you plant them together.

Choosing Your Pots
Herbs generally have small root systems and can be planted in anything, as long as it has appropriate drainage. Rosemary, basil, oregano and thyme can do well in smaller planters and can even be planted together, as they like to dry out between watering. Plants that need more water may need larger pots to keep them healthy and thriving, even if you do miss a day or two of watering as you get started.

Planting and Maintenance
Most herbs need direct sunlight for 6 to 8 hours a day to thrive, so make sure to plant and place them in the sunniest spot on your patio. When extreme heat strikes in July and August, it may be helpful to place your planters in the shade for periods of time during the day. Generally speaking, a planter with the right drainage, combined with good quality soil and fertilizer will set your herbs up for growing success.

Pick and Enjoy
The rule for harvesting most herbs is that you pick more to grow more, so you’ll need to regularly harvest and use those growing herbs of yours. Basil plants, for example, will need to be harvested and the buds will need to be pinched back regularly. If you find that your herbs are growing beyond your own needs, you can consider giving them as gifts to neighbors, friends and relatives. You’ll get to share the joy of growing your very own patio herb container with the ones you love!