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Mix for large herb planter

LatimerLatimer Latimer, BuckinghamshirePosts: 708
edited 17 April in Plants
Hi all

I want to plant up a large planter with a mix of herbs, mostly thyme and rosemary, some lemon balm, possibly chives.

I understand these herbs prefer a very free draining, "poor" soil. 

I would like to use up some stuff that I have easy access to before I go any buy anything. I've got a couple of bags of topsoil, 3 old large bags of mpc with JI3 and plenty of sharp sand/grit. Would a mix of those, heavy on the sharp sand be ok?
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  • BlueBirderBlueBirder Posts: 153
    (Not an answer to your question, but I'd be wary of planting lemonbalm in with those herbs. I had a mixed planter with lemonbalm and it absolutely took over - it's lovely, but a thug. I now grow it in its own container! Hopefully someone else will be able to help with your actual Q.)
  • LatimerLatimer Latimer, BuckinghamshirePosts: 708
    Thanks @BlueBirder, noted!
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze South NottsPosts: 1,083
    I would go for a fifty fifty mix of soil and grit. You haven't mentioned mint like lemon balm I would grow in a different pot Most herbs love sun but not all. Try Jekka McVicker's web site for top information.
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,532
    If you want a lemony herb in the mix, lemon verbena is much better behaved than lemon balm and has a lovely flavour. It's a woody shrub, like the rosemary and the thyme. I agree with what's been said - lemon balm doesn't play nicely with others.

    Marjoram or oregano will grow in the same gritty soil mix as your others. Chives grow pretty much anywhere. Thyme can be fussy and you might need to mix in a little MPC around that one to get it started. Make sure it's on the sunny side of the rosemary.


    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • LatimerLatimer Latimer, BuckinghamshirePosts: 708
    Thanks @GardenerSuze!

    @raisingirl lemon verbena is a great shout, I grew that at my parent's before, it was lovely
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,556
    There's also lemon thyme (and orange) which will like the same conditions as the rosemary.   Definitely need to keep lemon balm and mint in their own pots.  In my experience both are very useful and pretty but thugs that need controlling  and also need more water than the Mediterranean herbs. 
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • LatimerLatimer Latimer, BuckinghamshirePosts: 708
    Lemon thyme I've seen before but I've never seen orange thyme, will have to keep an eye out. 
  • LatimerLatimer Latimer, BuckinghamshirePosts: 708
    Hi guys, I just wanted to confirm, I'll be using a mix of bagged topsoil and grit, 50/50. No mpc at all? Leaf mould? Do I not need to add any nutrients (except locally around the thyme).

    I'm planting into a large galvanised planter.


    (Excuse the mess! 🙈)
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,532
    No - if you give them rich soil, they grow too fast and too soft and have very little flavour. Grown hard, they taste much better
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 984
    That's a lovely container but I'd use it for more deep rooted plants than herbs - they may find that capacity of potentially wet soil below a problem, even if it is well draining.  I find that terracotta works best for Mediterranean type herbs as it allows evaporation to cool the roots and also avoids waterlogging as it is porous.  Your galvanised container will get hot in the sun and not allow evaporation, apart from the soil surface.
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