For an economical, year-round supply of fresh flavors, try growing herbs in containers on a patio. With teak patio sectional sets you can easily grow different types of herbs and flowers in your patio really easily. Moreover, gardening in your patio saves a lot of your time and energy and is a really good way to pass your time with a fun hobby.
Culinary herbs are grown for the flavor or aroma of the leaves – or occasionally of their roots, stems, flowers or seeds. Grown on a patio, their attractive foliage can fill the air with fragrance and, being only a few steps from the house, they are an instantly available ingredient for your cooking and a perfect garnish for a finished dish. The following herbs are easy to please and thrive outdoors in the shelter of a patio.
Uses: salads, soups, sauces, vegetables, fish and poultry. Type: herbaceous perennial, evergreen in mild climates. Size: 6-12 inches (15-30cm). Special features: pincushion mauve flowers in summer, giant, and garlic flavored varieties available; grow as a deterrent for aphids, apple scab, and mildew. Position: in individual pots or as an edging. Basic care: remove faded flowers; lift, divide and replant the clumps every 3-4 years; pick chives for culinary use by snipping leaves at the base of the plant; remove the flowers for better flavor. Special needs: use moisture-retentive potting compost.
Uses: salads, soups, stews, sauces, stuffing, vegetables, garnishing. Type: biennial or short-lived perennial. Size: 8-24 x 6-18 inches (20-60 x 15-45cm). Special features: flat-leafed or moss-curled varieties have especially attractive foliage. Position: in individual pots or containers; dwarf forms as edging. Basic care: keep well watered in dry weather, pinch out flower buds as soon as they appear Special needs: a rich potting compost and a steady supply of water prevent it running to seed prematurely.
Uses: stuffings for poultry, pork and other rich meats. Type: soft wooded shrub or perennial. Size: up to 2 x 2 foot (60 x 60cm), usually smaller. Special features: blue flowers in summer, purple-leaved, golden variegated and multi-colored varieties available. Position: in pots or tubs, singly or in groups. Basic care: prune in spring; water in dry weather, every 3-5 years replace older, leggy plants with young ones. Special needs: free-draining potting compost essential.
Uses meat, poultry, fish, salads, soups, stuffings. Type: Herbaceous perennial; grow sweet marjoram as a half-hardy annual. Size: 6-24 x 6-12 inches (15-60 x 15-30cm) Special feature: tiny pink or white flowers in summer, sweet (knotted) marjoram, pot marjoram, golden variegated and golden leaved marjoram available. Position: in individual pots; compact forms as edging in sink gardens or in cracks between paving slabs. Basic care: pinch out tips to encourage branching; cut back above-ground growth in autumn and protect roots against prolonged frost. Sow in spring and divide in spring or autumn. Special needs: Use well-drained, nutrient-rich potting compost; golden leaved forms need light shade.
Uses: soups, stews, meat, fish and poultry. Type: dwarf, woody, upright or carpet forming shrublet. Size: 1 x 1 foot (30 x 30cm) for shrubby types, 1 x 12 inches (2.5 x 30cm) for creeping varieties. Special features: tiny pink, white or crimson flowers in summer; golden leaved, silver variegated, woolly leaved and lemon-scented forms available. Position: in pots or sink gardens; creeping forms in cracks between paving slabs or as edging. Basic care: water in dry weather, prune in spring and after flowering, lift, divide, and replant creeping forms every 3-5 years. Special needs: free-draining potting compost essential.
Uses: sauces, jellies, vegetables, drinks, garnishing. Types: upright or creeping herbaceous perennial. Size: 1-36 inches (2.5-90cm) wide-spreading.
Position: creeping forms in sink gardens, or as edging; stronger growing forms in individual pots or tubs; sun or shade equally suitable. Basic care: water generously in dry weather; cut back above ground in autumn; lift, divide and replant every 3-4 years.
Special needs: use rich, moisture-retentive potting compost.
Uses: stews, soups, casseroles, sauces, and milk puddings.
Type: slow-growing evergreen shrub. Size: 4 x 3 foot (120 x 90cm) in containers.
Special features: standard ‘lollipop’, flame-shaped topiary and golden leaved forms available.
Position: as a topiary specimen in a container or in a mixed herb tub.
Basic care: water regularly in spring and summer.
Special needs: protect the container from prolonged frost or move indoors to a cold, light spot; protect from wind, which can turn the leaves brown.
- Sweet basil
Uses: tomatoes, salads, sauces, herb vinegar, pasta dishes.
Type: half-hardy annual. Size: 8-24 inches (20-60cm).
Special features: purple left; bush and lemon-scented forms available. Basic care: keep well watered; remove any flower heads and pinch out growing tips frequently to encourage bushy growth.
Special needs: protect from the wind; mist spray leaves in hot weather; take in before frost and grow on a cool, sunny windowsill indoors.
Uses: stuffings, roasts, stews, marinades, herb vinegar.
Type: slow-growing evergreen shrub. Size: up to 3 x 3 foot (1 x 1m) in containers. Special features: blue, white or pink flowers in early summer; a low-growing, prostrate variety available. Position: in a mixed herb tub or trailing over a wall. Basic care: water regularly in spring and summer. Special needs: protect the container from prolonged frost or move indoors to a cold, light spot; free-draining potting compost essential.
- French tarragon
Uses chicken, fish, seafood, sauces, herb vinegar. Type: herbaceous perennial. Size: 24 x 18 inches (60 x 45cm). Special features: tiny flowers in hot summers. Position: at the back of a group of containers or against a wall. Basic care: water only in dry weather; pinch out growing tips frequently to promote bushy growth; cut back above-ground growth in autumn; lift and divide every 3-4 years. Special needs: use well-drained, potting compost, low in nutrients; protect the container from prolonging frost or move indoors to a cool, light spot.
When picking herbs, leaves are most intensely flavored just before flowering. To ensure an ongoing supply of young leaves, pick sparingly, choosing one or two sprigs from each plant; never strip a plant bare. With rosette-forming plants such as parsley, pick older, outer sprigs, leaving the young central shoots to develop.