The idea of having tiny versions of every herb at your fingertips is appealing. Pruning and pinching will keep plants compact and bushy, but some herbs are meant to grow three feet tall. A mini herb garden is a collection of herbs grown in a compact space. Confining the herbs to a small planting bed or to a collection of pots will make your herb garden miniature. Potted herbs grow well both indoors and out with the right amounts of light, water and proper soil.
Without available yard space for an in-ground herb garden, you can grow a mini herb garden in pots right on your deck or patio or balcony. Lining the available space with several pots, one herb plant per pot is one way, but no law says you can’t plant more than one plant in the same pot. Herbs with similar sunlight and water needs will do just fine planted together. Choose a pot with a wide mouth for this mini garden. Basil, chives and parsley will grow well in the same pot. Strawberry jars with their multiple openings work very well for mini herb gardens and take very little space.
Indoor pots will most likely be restricted in size. You’ll want to provide good light for your mini herb garden, and often this is on a windowsill. Line up several small pots in a simple tray that will fit on your windowsill. The pots can be matching or mis-matched-don’t be afraid to please your aesthetic sense and the plant’s needs at the same time. Try to plant in 4-inch or smaller size pots. They can be terra cotta, plastic or even an oddly-shaped container; as long as a drain hole is provided, your herbs should grow in their small home.
For an indoor mini herb garden, look at the direction your chosen windowsill faces. Windows facing the west or south will generally get the most sun. Herbs that do well in sunny windows include basil, bay laurel, chives, coriander, fernleaf dill, French lavender, lemon verbena, rosemary, sage and thyme.
Look at your windowsill and the direction it faces to guide you in which herbs to plant for an indoor mini herb garden. Heat and sun-loving herbs such as sage, thyme, rosemary, French lavender, lemon verbena, fernleaf dill, chives, basil and bay laurel will do best in a window that faces west or south.
Cuban oregano, parsley, mint, chives, and borage are examples of shade-loving herbs that will do better in a north or east-facing window. These like cooler temperatures and moister soil.
Both indoor and outdoor mini herb gardens require soil that will drain well. Even mints, which like moister soil, will prefer a mixture of sterile commercial potting mix and sand or vermiculite/perlite. Three parts soil to one part sand or two parts soil to one part perlite are good mixes for growing potted herbs. Elevate the bottom of the pot above the ground or the saucer with spacers or gravel to allow excess water to drain off.
If messing with potting soil is not your style, you can find kits online that will grow herbs using hydroponics. The plant seeds root in a felt-like material and the roots dangle in water infused with nutrients rather than soil. While some hydroponic growth kits fit on a tabletop, others are small enough for a windowsill. Bug-free and mess-free growing might be worth checking out.