Hardy perennial herbs can be planted at any time of the year, except when soil is frozen or waterlogged.
When you get your herbs home after an Open Day or Farm Gate Collection water thoroughly and let the water drain. It is essential that new herbs do not run short of moisture around their roots until they are well established. So, if the ground is parched when you plant, fill the hole with water before positioning the root-ball, then plant as normal, watering the plant thoroughly again afterwards.
Jekka's six steps to planting your herb plants:
- Dig a hole that is at least twice the width and depth of the herb’s container. Mix the soil you’ve removed with well rotted organic matter and leave to one side.
- The herb needs to be planted at the same depth as it was in the pot. For larger herbs, such as specimen herbs, shrubs and trees, check the hole is the right depth by laying a cane or piece of straight timber across the hole.
- The easiest way to remove a large herb from its pot is to gently lay it on its side and, with one hand supporting the herb, ease the rootball out of its pot.
- Carefully tease out any roots that were circling around the bottom or sides of the pot so that they grow away from the rootball and into the surrounding soil. Position the plant in the centre of the hole and then fill in the gaps around the sides with soil mixture.
- Once the hole has been filled, gently firm the soil – you don’t want to squash it in, just get rid of any air pockets and make sure the herb is secure. Water it again using at least one full watering can.
- Then cover the surface of the soil with a generous layer of mulch, such as chipped bark or well rotted organic matter to help prevent weeds and reduce the amount of water loss from the soil.
Water after planting
Make sure all new herbs are kept well watered until established. This can be just a few weeks for perennials in spring, but shrubs may need watering regularly throughout the first spring and summer, and trees the following summer too.
Good drainage is essential. Ensure that your herbs are planted in free-draining soil, or the roots may become waterlogged and cold.
Check whether your herb is hardy or not. For further information, see your herb plant page in Jekkapedia.
We promise only to grow herbs which have been grown slow (#grownslow) following organic principals and with the seasons. Read Jekka's Blog on our sustainable approach to growing herb and her Guide to being a Sustainable Herb Gardener.
For Jekka's Culinary Herb Boxes we also give our word to package and protect them to prevent damage during transit.
Please note: herbs look different depending upon what time of year it is. If you choose a nice leafy looking herb in the winter, remember it may look very different when you purchase it. Many herbs are dormant during winter, and many are cut back in autumn as essential routine maintenance. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the plant – just that it’s out of season, and will spurt into growth in the new season. For what is looking good on the farm at the moment, please see Jekka's Looking Good Herb List.
Further hints for happy herbs
For advice on growing and maintaining herbs, check out Jekka's How to Grow Herbs videos and ‘Jekka’s Seasonal Tips’ blog series, which includes what to do in your herb garden in early spring, late spring, summer and autumn & winter. Together they form the basis of Jekka’s guide on how to grow herbs.
Our herbs are designed to be grown in containers or planted in the garden. Although some herbs will be quite happy indoors, most prefer being outside. Please see our indoor growing blog for more information.
Herb plants are available and you can organise a collection from our herb farm in South Gloucestershire or at one of our Open Days or Herb Experiences (see our events calendar). Please see our 'Looking Good Herb List' for availability and use our webform or email your list directly to us (firstname.lastname@example.org). We no longer offer a mail order service for our plants.
You can also sign up to our newsletter to receive monthly herb hints, news and herb-based recipes.
Happy herbs from all at Jekka's!