Pots for herbs

U.S. Botanic Garden Horticulturist Adam Pyle explains the benefits of potted herbs and demonstrates how to pot dry and moist herb gardens. (Adrian Higgins and Sandi Moynihan/The Washington Post)
May 1, 2013

A 14-inch-diameter pot is the optimal size for a collection of herbs — large enough to do the job without becoming a major production in weight, cost and soil volume.

Herbs need great drainage — some gardeners place clay shards over the drainage hole, others just line the pot with landscape filter fabric to keep soil from washing out.

Broad, bowl-shaped containers hold moisture longer than regular pots and may drown herbs.

Glazed ceramic, concrete and resin pots tend to be freeze-resistant and can be left outside in the winter, but they should be protected against saturation. Most terra cotta pots are not frost-proof and should be brought into a sheltered and dry location in winter.

Local independent garden centers carry a large selection of attractive glazed and clay pots, many of them mass-produced in Southeast Asia. High-design resin and concrete pots are available from companies such as Campania International, Lunaform and NativeCast.


A cement-based composite from NativeCast. (Ricky Giacco)

Here are a few pots that caught our eye; all are approximately 14 inches wide except the tall glazed pot, which is 11 inches.

— Adrian Higgins

Ceramic pot Savannah Brown (Patapsco Valley Sales and Supply). $29.99, Meadows Farms Nurseries, Chantilly, 703-542-2300. www.meadowsfarms.com.

Blanched terra cotta, stippled bands (unknown maker). $25.99, DeBaggio Herbs, Chantilly, 703-327-6976. www.debaggioherbs.com.

Blanched terra cotta, rope pattern (unknown maker). $25.99. DeBaggio Herbs.

Blanched terra cotta, fluted (unknown maker). $25.99. DeBaggio Herbs.

Ceramic pot (Patapsco Valley). $24.99. Meadows Farms.

Cement-based composite Rehoboth 14. NativeCast, $150. www.nativecast.com.

Clay “feet” can aid drainage, especially when pots sit directly on paving. You need three for a circular pot, four on a square one. They cost about $2 apiece.

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