Tips for Repotting Herbs

by | Jun 10, 2012 | Herb Garden | 2 comments

Herbs add beauty and fragrance to both outdoor and indoor living spaces. Culinary herbs such as rosemary, parsley and basil make great additions to kitchen windowsills and patios, and growing herbs in containers is a simpler alternative to growing an herb garden. They usually require little maintenance, but in some cases, repotting herbs is necessary to give them more room to grow.

Herbs don’t grow well if there is no room for their roots to spread and become well established. When you buy Sweet Valley herbs at the supermarket or greenhouse, they will come in small pots and should be repotted when you bring them home. In addition, most potted herbs eventually outgrow their containers and should be transplanted into larger pots to suit their growing needs. Fortunately, repotting herbs is a simple task that only requires basic gardening supplies and a few minutes of your time.

person repotting rosemary and basil herbs

Preparing Your Container

When choosing a planter for your Sweet Valley herbs, make sure it has drainage holes in the bottom. Herbs do not like wet feet and prefer to dry out between waterings. Use new pots or be sure you’ve dumped out old soil and cleaned the container with soapy water. This will keep diseases and bacteria that may have been present from spreading to your new plants. Choose a sunny spot for your planter. This could be a sunny windowsill or spot on your patio.

Preparing Your Soil

Use a high quality soil to plant your herbs in. Make sure your soil is not too heavy (it should have good drainage) and has some organic compost or worm castings to add nutrients. Fill your pot part way with your soil mix, leaving space at the top to place your herb plant.

Preparing the Root Ball

Gently squeeze the sides of your small potted herb to coax the root ball out. Once it’s out of its original pot, check to see if it is root-bound. If so, it is helpful to water it thoroughly before transplanting it. You can also gently work the roots apart, to help encourage nutrient absorption. We also highly recommend making three or four vertical cuts up the side of the root ball and using your fingers to gently untangle the bottom of the root ball. It’s also a good idea to cut through any roots growing in a circular pattern at the base of the root ball. This will ensure the roots spread out and absorb nutrients and water properly and don’t strangle each other.

Repotting Your Herb

Now you can place your prepared herb plant into its new pot and gently add more soil around it until the container is full. Press the soil firmly around the root ball as you fill the pot. Once the container is full, water the plant to help it settle in and start to grow.

Repotting herbs will revitalize them and help them to grow even better, whether they are small herbs from a garden centre, or older herbs that have become tired in their current pots. Freshen up your herbs today by finding some new containers and repotting any plants that have outgrown their homes!