Herb container with African basil, thyme and mint

Aromatic herb pot display

Plant up a container packed with aromatic African basil, mint and thyme – we show you how.

This galvanised steel container is planted up with a mix of aromatic herbs and is perfect for growing in a sheltered, sunny spot outdoors, within easy reach of the kitchen. After more herb container recipes? Take a look at these herb container projects for inspiration.

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More container gardening advice:

Find out more about how we planted up this container and how to care for it, below.


The plants we used

African basil

African basil
African basil

Unlike the basil you can buy from supermarkets or garden centres, African basil is perennial and has much more ornamental value owing to its flowers. We used the variety ‘African Blue’, which has purple-veined leaves and tall flower spikes. You could also use purple sage or purple shiso.


Bergamot mint

Bergamot mint (Mentha x piperata f. citrata)Bergamot mint (Mentha x piperata f. citrata)
Bergamot mint (Mentha x piperata f. citrata)

Bergamot mint is one of the many types of mint to grow. As the name suggests, it has a bergamot-like aroma, and the leaves can be used to add fragrance to bathwater, as well as flavour dishes. Other varieties of mint you could try include banana mint and strawberry mint.


Thyme ‘Silver Queen’

Thyme 'Silver Queen'
Thyme ‘Silver Queen’

‘Silver Queen’ is a variegated thyme with cream and green leaves held on purple stems. Any thyme will work if you can’t find ‘Silver Queen’. Browse our list of other thyme varieties to grow.


Care and maintenance

Once planted, place the container in a sunny, sheltered spot in the garden. The basil will benefit from shelter from the hottest summer sun. When the top few centimetres of the compost have dried out, soak the compost with a watering can and allow to drain.

Mints are vigorous plants, so don’t be afraid to chop back any stems that start to invade the growing space of the other herbs. We mixed in slow-release fertiliser when planting up the container. However, if you don’t use these, feed the plants in the container with a liquid seaweed each week, from March to May, to ensure a steady supply of fresh new leaves.

Clip back the thyme after flowering and cut back the flower spikes of basil and mint as they fade. Regular picking of the leaves and stems will encourage new growth.

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Planted in spring, this container will look its best until autumn when the basil and mint start to die back. It could be kept until the following year, but the African blue basil will need to be grown in a frost-free spot as it’s tender. Alternatively, pot on the plants individually in autumn once the container is past its best. The thyme can be planted in the ground, but the mint is best grown in another container where it can’t spread too much.