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Planting Herbs: The Best Tips and Tricks

When it comes to herbs, one thing is particularly important: the foundation for a good harvest is laid when planting. On the one hand, herbs have to be planted at the right time, and on the other hand, the location and the substrate are of central importance. Whether in the herb garden or on the balcony: Here are the best tips for planting kitchen herbs and medicinal herbs.

Planting herbs: the most important dates
  • Classic planting times for herbs are spring and autumn.
  • Spring is the best time to plant perennial herbs that need some time to grow in, such as thyme, sage, and savory.
  • Frost-sensitive herbs such as basil or lemon verbena are better planted after the ice saints.

When can you plant herbs?

Potted herbs are usually offered from mid-March to October - during this time they can usually also be planted. Perennial herbs that take a long time to grow in, such as weak thyme or evergreen subshrubs such as sage and mountain savory, are reliably planted in spring. If you plant them too late in the year, they often no longer take root and dry up. Frost-sensitive species such as basil or lemon verbena should only be planted outdoors after the ice saints.

Where can you plant herbs?

Most herbs love sunny to partially shaded areas. Particularly 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, burn if there is too much sun. With some herbs, you can compensate for the lack of shade with moisture in the soil. The more humid they are, the more sun they can handle. As a guide to the correct location, take a close look at the plants: Herbs with large, green leaves usually love it in partial shade to shady and moist. Herbs with small, often gray-leaved, partially hairy leaves can also be planted in a place that is characterized by heat and drought. You can find more detailed information on the locations in our various herb-plant portraits.

  • Herbs for dry soils: hyssop or wormwood
  • Herbs for fresh soils: borage, lovage, lemon balm
  • Herbs for damp soils: watercress, spoonwort

Plant herbs on the balcony

Herbs are particularly suitable for cultivation in pots and tubs. For the herb garden on the balcony, it is important to only plant herbs in containers with drainage holes. At the bottom, fill in a drainage layer of expanded clay. Place a garden fleece on top. This prevents the soil above from clogging the drainage. Then fill the vessel with soil and plant the herbs. Don't forget the pouring edge! If the earth settles in the course of the season, the pots are refilled with earth. In this way, the herbs can form new roots again and set more leaves and flowers.

Incidentally, clay pot plus planter have proven themselves: This means that the actual planter does not heat up so quickly when the sun is very strong. A culture of herbs in a single pot is particularly useful for species that are incompatible with other plants, such as parsley or wormwood.

Not everyone has the space to plant an herb garden. That is why in this video we show you how to properly plant a flower box with herbs.

Which substrate is suitable for herbs?

With a few exceptions, such as watercress, herbs love a water-permeable, loose substrate. If you have already bought herbal soil, you will know what is meant. High-quality plant substrates for herbs are often mixed with lava clay. On the one hand, this prevents waterlogging, but at the same time stores water and binds nutrients. This quickly solves the substrate question for pots and buckets. Of course, you can also mix the right herb soil yourself, for example from garden compost, coconut soil (soak the pressed cubes in water according to the instructions) and coarse building sand in a ratio of 3: 2: 1. If you add a portion of primary rock flour, you ensure that the herbs have good defenses. Of course, you can also mix in garden soil.

How well your garden soil is suitable for herbs depends on the type of soil. A soil analysis provides security. If you have a light sandy soil that dries out very quickly, enrich it with humus or bentonite before planting the herbs. You have to lose weight on heavy, greasy soils. The recipe: dig the ground a spade deep. Mix sharp-edged gravel or crushed stone three to twelve millimeters into the soil. Lime gravel is ideal for many herbs because they love lime-rich locations with pH values ​​between six and seven. Half a wheelbarrow of drainage material is calculated on one square meter of topsoil. Soils that are too moist often need additional drainage underground. This in turn can be gravel or you work in broken tiles and tiles.

Planting herbs in the garden: this is how it works

When planting herbs, there is not much difference to other crops:

  • Water the root ball well
  • Dig a planting hole for the herbs
  • Use herbal plants
  • Fill the hole with soil
  • Press the soil and water

Combine herbs in a variety of ways

As far as the design is concerned, you can do the same as in the border and create an entire bed only with herbs. There are numerous ideas for herb beds. Half-shrubs such as hyssop or holy herb are suitable, for example, as aromatic edging hedges. A mixed culture with herbs is ideal in the kitchen garden. In the kitchen garden you can also quickly put annual herbs such as spice tagetes in gaps. Anything you want to continually harvest should be easily accessible. It goes without saying that herbs for everyday use are best placed close to the kitchen. The balcony and terrace are therefore often the ideal place for herbs.

Instead of digging deep, you can also go up on unfavorable floors. Raised beds are extremely popular for growing herbs. Make sure to combine herbs with the same location conditions. In order to still unite them on one surface, you can build a herbal spiral.

Fertilize herbs properly

Even if many herbs love it lean, they still need nutrients. Because every growth costs strength. As a rule of thumb, the smaller the leaf and the growth of the herb, the lower the need for nutrients. You can't go wrong with compost. Organic slow-release fertilizer can be added to the planting hole as required. If you want to mulch freshly planted herbs, you have to differentiate between moisture and dryness-loving herbs. Bark humus is ideal for the former (bark mulch is too coarse), for Mediterranean herbs a two to three centimeter thick layer of mussel mulch or lime gravel has proven itself.