Herb Combinations for Container Gardens

comments (1) July 13th, 2012

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WesternGardener Jodi Torpey, contributor
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A large patio container features tall rosemary, curly parsley, oregano, and assorted flavors and colors of basil.
An herb hanging basket is filled with two kinds of rosemary, sage, and sweet basil.
A simple basket of trailing rosemary is an interesting and useful accent in the garden.
A large patio container features tall rosemary, curly parsley, oregano, and assorted flavors and colors of basil.Click To Enlarge

A large patio container features tall rosemary, curly parsley, oregano, and assorted flavors and colors of basil.

Photo: Jodi Torpey

Container combinations aren't limited to just colorful flowers. You can create attractive patio containers that are as useful as they are beautiful when filled with culinary herbs.

This is the time of year when garden centers discount their remaining annuals and herbs, so you can create a container at a fraction of the original cost.

The key to creating an attractive herb container is to use the same principle as planting a container of flowers: select thrillers, fillers, and spillers.

Start with a tall "thriller" plant, like upright rosemary. It's a thriller in more ways than one with its tall form and narrow, aromatic leaves. Flat-leaf parsley, tarragon, French lavender, chives, and other herbs that have an upright habit will look good planted in either the center or toward the back of the container.

Fillers are planted next. These are the herbs that will complement the taller plants. Parsley with curly or ruffled leaves makes an especially eye-catching filler. Sage, sweet basil, and chervil are also flavorful fillers. 

Add the spillers last. These are the plants that will cascade over the edge of the planter or basket. Thyme and oregano are two good spillers because of their creeping habit.

You could also choose to plant a container that features one kind of culinary collection, like different colors and flavors of basil or mint. Another idea is to fill the container with plants that all have lemon in their name like lemon verbena, lemon thyme, and lemon balm. 

Of course, there are many other herbs you can choose to plant depending on your culinary tastes and what's on the half-price shelf at the garden center.

Do you have a favorite culinary herb combination? If so, please share it here!


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Comments (1)

downtoearth writes: I love the thriller, filler & spiller idea for herb containers. Helps put together a visually attractive container. I will make one as a birthday gift for a friend who is a great cook.
Posted: 10:08 am on June 10th
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