Planting herbs: This is how it succeeds

herbs ready for planting
herbs ready for planting

Planting herbs: This is how it succeeds



EngTitel – Recipe


There’s a herb for everything, as the saying goes. Conversely, however, herbs only grow if you plant them in the right place at the right time. With these tips, planting herbs is guaranteed to succeed.

There’s a herb for everything, as the saying goes. Conversely, however, herbs only grow if you plant them in the right place at the right time. With these tips, planting herbs is guaranteed to succeed.

For herbs, one thing is particularly true: the foundation for a good harvest is laid when planting. On the one hand, herbs must be planted at the right time, on the other hand, the location and the substrate are the key factors. Whether in the herb garden or on the balcony: Here are tips for planting kitchen herbs and medicinal herbs.

When to plant herbs?

Potted herbs are usually available from mid-March to October, this is usually the time when you can plant them. Perennial herbs that take a long time to grow, such as weak-growing thyme or wintergreen half-shrubs like sage and mountain savory, are reliably planted in the spring. If you plant them too late in the year, they often don’t take root and wither. Frost-sensitive species such as basil or lemon verbena should only be planted outdoors after the last frosts.

Where to plant herbs?

Most herbs like it sunny to partial shade. Especially sun-hungry representatives such as Mediterranean herbs need at least half a day of full sun in the season, that is, from early spring to autumn. Spring herbs like sorrel, on the other hand, will burn if given too much sun. For some herbs, you can compensate for lack of shade by adding moisture to the soil. The more moist they are, the more sun they can tolerate. As a guide to the right location, look closely at the plants: Herbs with large, green leaves usually like partial shade to shade and moisture. Herbs with small, often gray-leaved, partially hairy leaves can also be planted in a spot that is characterized by heat and dryness.

What substrate is suitable for herbs?

With a few exceptions, such as watercress, herbs love a water-permeable, loose substrate. If you have ever bought herb soil, you know what is meant. High-quality planting substrates for herbs are often mixed with lava clay. This prevents waterlogging on the one hand, but at the same time retains water and binds nutrients. For pots and tubs, the substrate question is thus quickly solved. Of course, you can also mix the appropriate herb soil yourself, for example, from garden compost, coco soil and coarse sand in a ratio of 3:2:1. If you add a portion of primary rock flour, you will ensure good resistance of the herbs. Of course, you can also mix in garden soil.

How well your garden soil is suited for herbs depends on the soil type. A soil analysis provides certainty. If you have a light sandy soil that dries out very quickly, enrich it with humus or bentonite before planting herbs. Heavy, rich soil you need to lean. For this: dig the soil one spade deep. Mix sharp gravel or crushed stone of grain size three to twelve millimeters under the soil. For many herbs, lime gravel is ideal, because they love lime-rich sites with pH values between six and seven. For one square meter of topsoil, calculate half a wheelbarrow of drainage material. Soils that are too wet often need additional drainage in the subsoil. This can be gravel or broken roof tiles and bricks.

Planting herbs in the garden: this is how it works

When planting herbs, there is not much difference from other plants:

  • Water the root ball well
  • Dig a planting hole for the herbs
  • Insert herb plants
  • Fill the hole with soil
  • Press down the soil and water

Planting herbs on the balcony

Herbs are particularly suitable for culture in pots and tubs. For the herb garden on the balcony, it is important to plant herbs only in containers with drainage holes. At the bottom, fill a drainage layer of expanded clay. On top of it, place a garden fleece. This will prevent the soil above from clogging the drainage. Then fill the container with soil and plant the herbs. Do not forget the irrigation rim. If the soil settles during the season, refill the pots with soil. This will allow the herbs to re-establish new roots and put on more leaves and flowers.

Clay pots plus planters have proven their worth: this way, the actual planter does not heat up so quickly when exposed to strong sunlight. A culture of herbs in a single pot is particularly suitable for species that are incompatible with other plants, such as parsley or wormwood.

Combine herbs in a variety of ways

Also in terms of design, you can do as in the border and create a whole bed only with herbs. There are numerous ideas for herb beds. Semi-shrubs such as hyssop or lavender cotton, for example, are suitable as aromatic border hedges. A mixed culture with herbs lends itself to the kitchen garden. In the kitchen garden, you can also quickly plant annual herbs such as spreading marigold in gaps. Anything you want to harvest continuously should be easily accessible. Logically, herbs of daily use are best placed close to the kitchen. Often, therefore, the balcony and terrace are the ideal place for herbs.

Instead of digging deep, you can go high if the soil is unfavorable. Raised beds are extremely popular for growing herbs. When doing so, be sure to combine herbs with the same site conditions. Nevertheless, to combine them in one area, you can build a herb spiral.

How to fertilize herbs properly

Even though many herbs like lean soil, they still need nutrients. Because every growth costs energy. As a rule of thumb, the smaller the leaf and the growth of the herb, the lower the nutrient requirement. You can’t go wrong with compost. Depending on the need, you already give organic slow-release fertilizer into the planting hole. If you want to mulch freshly planted herbs, you must distinguish between moisture-loving and drought-loving herbs. For the former, bark humus is suitable, for Mediterranean herbs a two to three centimeter (about 1 inch) thick layer of shell mulch or lime gravel has proven successful.

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