Florida Gardening forum: Growing herbs in small pots. How small is too small?

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aaron4osu
May 2, 2017 9:38 AM CST
This is my first summer in Sarasota (or even florida) and I want to grow herbs on my lanai which is pretty narrow. I was wondering if I can grow herbs successfully in small 5" pots. I wanted to have 2 or 3 of these ikea socker plant stands (each with 13 pots) to have a wall of herbs. These seem really small to me and I'm assuming they would need to be watered daily in the summer which I guess I'm ok with. But is this too small for most herbs to grow outside in florida heat?

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I didn't really want to have larger planters sitting on the ground due to a lack of space.

thoughts?

Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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dyzzypyxxy
May 2, 2017 1:20 PM CST
Hi and welcome, Aaron. I'm in Sarasota, too. What direction does your lanai face? All herbs pretty much need full sunshine to thrive, so be sure you're going to have enough sunlight for them before you invest in plants, planter and that awesome plant stand. (I'm going to get one of those next time I'm at IKEA too!) If you face north or east, for instance, you might not really have enough sun to grow herbs successfully. They'll be lanky and unhealthy.

Yes, those pots are going to be awfully small, once you get things going and your herbs start growing. But, a whole bunch of different kinds of basil, for instance, might do ok in those small pots if you keep them trimmed so they don't get too big. You are definitely going to be watering every day (do it in the morning!! very important) and I'd advise you to get white or light colored pots as well, to keep the roots of your plants a little bit cooler. Btw don't make the mistake of using "Moisture Control" potting soil. It keeps things much MUCH too wet here as the moisture beads gather water from the air here. It's good for dry climates but not for Florida!

Some herbs don't grow awfully well here in the summer anyway, due to the high humidity and hot, stuffy nights. You might be well advised to wait until around the end of September to plant things like lavender, sage, thyme, and mint. They like cooler temps, and really don't like the humidity. No promises on chives and other onion-y things either.

I've had good success growing rosemary, but it will definitely need a much bigger pot than those. It grows into a nice small shrub quite quickly. Maybe see if you can find a tall square pot that will tuck into an outer corner of your lanai?

Elaine

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plantmanager
May 2, 2017 1:30 PM CST
I'm so glad you showed that Ikea stand! Now I want one too! If you keep your plants well watered and trimmed back by using them, it will be fine. You can do some cilantro, different basils, etc. I like the trim about an inch off of my green onions from the store, and plant those in a small pot. Soon you have new green onions to eat. I think Elaine is right, and you will do best in fall, winter and spring. Your summers will be trying for the plants.
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aaron4osu
May 2, 2017 2:49 PM CST
Thanks for the tips guys.

Most of the lanai gets direct sun from about 10am to about 5 or 6pm so I think I'm covered there.

I currently have mint, cilantro, basil, thyme, and oregano growing in a small bed outside of the lanai and rosemary going in a planter. The stuff in the ground grows well, but the house is on the other side of the house and it's a pain to take the hose all the way over there to water them every few days. Not to mention if I don't keep an eye on him my dog occasionally goes over to the flower bed and pees on the side posts. Angry

So I ended up going with a similar plant stand on amazon. It looks like it's probably made in the same factory and they both have the same negative reviews on amazon about screws not fitting in correctly, but I'm going to give it a shot.

It looks like they make plastic, galvanized, and clay pots to fit these stands. Do you think clay would get too hot and dry them too quickly? I hate to use plastic, but that might be the best choice for this small of pot?

It sounds like I'm going to have to mix in some larger pots on the ground as well.





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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
May 2, 2017 4:57 PM CST
I'd go with the plastic, mainly because they will be lighter. The fatal flaw with that system is it looks to me like it might blow over pretty easily. If you can sit a couple of heavy pots on the "feet" at the bottom, that would also help to hold it up. Clay pots for the big stuff like your rosemary would be fine. They like to dry out between waterings.

You might have to fasten it to the wall or tie it up to the ceiling, to keep it standing. It gets windy here in the afternoons in summer, when we get a sea breeze, then often thunderstorms late in the afternoons.
Elaine

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ardesia
May 3, 2017 5:22 AM CST
If the herbs don't work out I can envision a variety of succulents in those pots.

I had a large male dog and, like you, I was hesitant to put herbs in the ground but I found I could use plant stands like these, which held larger pots than the one you are looking at. I generally stuck them in between other plants and the pots themselves were high enough off the ground to protect the plants. The stands I had were much less expensive, this is just an example. And, like Elaine mentioned, you might have to get creative to secure even something like this or it might go flying.
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