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Culinary Herb Combinations for Growing in Pots: Small Space Gardening

Culinary Herb Combinations for Growing in Pots: Small Space Gardening
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There are so many different uses for herbs, ranging from cooking, to healing, to making craft cocktails. This post (and video) offers ideas for how to successfully combine herbs in containers around themes.

The garden design themes are focused on six different culinary uses: Mediterranean cooking, Mexican cooking, cooking with seafood, herbal cocktails, herbal teas, and fresh salads.

3 herb gardens in pots: Mediterranean, Seafood and Mexican
3 herb gardens in pots: Mediterranean, Seafood and Mexican

Jump to: Mediterranean | Mexican | Seafood | Cocktail Mix | Tea Garden | Salad Mix

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Which Herb Combinations Work in Pots?

Often people will plant herbs based on what is available to them at the garden store. Another common consideration of which herbs to combine in pots (or the garden) is based on which herbs will grow best in the sun or partial shade.

While these are both important considerations, there is another way to think of herb combinations. This third way is based on your ultimate preferences in the kitchen.

Do you prefer cooking Mediterranean dishes or Mexican? Do you dislike cooking but love to have a craft cocktail on your balcony? Or perhaps you love herbal teas for health or instead of coffee?

Here are six of my favorite ways to combine herbs for year-round uses:

Mediterranean Herb Combinations for Pots

A Mediterranean style of cooking usually involves herbs that will do well in full sun without a lot of watering. Think about the Mediterranean climate.

Here are my favorite Mediterranean herbs that I combined in a large pot:

  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Lavender
  • Basil
  • Greek Oregano
  • Nasturtium
Mediterranean herbs planted together in large pot.
Mediterranean herb seedlings in a large pot

Mexican Herb Combinations for Pots

Mexican cooking includes herbs that grow well in the sun, but it also includes a few that prefer shade. If you don’t have an ideal spot (about 6 hours of sun a day, but some shade), you might want to separate these herbs into two pots.

Favorite Herbs for Mexican cooking:

  • Cilantro (partial shade)
  • Parsley (partial shade)
  • Mint (partial shade)
  • Mexican oregano (sun)
  • Cumin (sun)
  • Chile pepper plant (sun)

Growing Herbs for Cooking Fish and Seafood

Combining herbs in pots for cooking seafood is a somewhat unique theme. I love to cook seafood, however, and often don’t have the right herbs on hand (like dill).

Did you know? Most of the herbs that go well with seafood dishes like partial shade.

Here are the herbs I chose:

  • Dill
  • Tarragon
  • Basil
  • Lemon thyme (or lemon verbena or lemon balm)
  • Chervil
  • Garlic chives
  • Parsley
  • Nasturtium
Herbs for seafood dishes or partial shade grown in large pot.
Culinary herb seedlings for seafood dishes

Best Herbs to Grow for a Cocktail Garden

A cocktail garden often includes edible flowers, which might not fit well in containers due to overcrowding. I grew the herbs together in one set of containers and the flowers in another set (or in the backyard garden area.

There are many options here, but this is what I chose:

  • Mint (a must-have for mojitos)
  • celery (bloody marys)
  • Rosemary (martinis)
  • Sage (fall or winter cocktails)
  • Lavender (spritzers)
  • Basil (A wide range)
  • Borage (cucumber flavored flower)
  • Calendula (vegetal flavored flower)
  • Bee Balm (flower)
  • Rose center geraniums (flower)
Combining herbs together in containers on the deck with different “themes”
The “Cocktail Garden” themed herb garden

Growing an Herbal Tea Garden in Pots

Like the cocktail garden, a tea garden may have to be split up to accommodate the wide range of herbs, spices, and flowers that would work well in a tea garden.

Tip: While actual tea plants don’t grow well in all climates the herbs used in tisanes or herbal teas are easy to grow.

Here is a simple list of some of my favorite herbs to grow for herbal teas. Want to learn a little more about blending herbs for herbal teas?

Check out this informative post on some of our favorite homemade herbal blends.

  • Mint
  • Chamomile
  • Lemon verbena
  • Anise hyssop
  • Lemon balm
  • Stevia
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Rose geranium
Glass jars with dried tea herbs.
Glass jars with dried tea herbs.

Best Herbs for a Salad Garden

Many fast-growing greens and herbs can be combined in a pot for salad gardens. I grew the lettuce, arugula, and radishes in the garden to provide for a larger harvest of salads.

The herbs I grew specifically for salads were grown in pots on the deck.

Here are my favorites:

  • Lettuce (not head lettuce)
  • Arugula
  • Chervil
  • Parsley
  • Spinach
  • Mizuna
  • Celery
  • Sorrel
  • Bok choy
  • Watercress
  • Nasturtiums
Microgreens grown indoors.
Microgreens started indoors for pots

And there you have it. There are many other combinations of herb gardens to consider, but those are the six themes that fit my kitchen and cooking style.

Check out Beginners Guide to Growing Herbs in Pots for further details!

Video on Combining Herbs Together in Pots

Container gardening in Zone 4 with herbs for cooking
Watch this video on YouTube.
Watch the Step by Step Video for More Details

Just enjoy and experiment!

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  1. Joan says:

    Great ideas! Can’t wait to get my herb gardens going!

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