Using Drought Tolerant Perennials in Your Container Herb Garden

Article Posted By: Caroline Inge

of The Home Depot

Drought tolerant perennials in a window box

Here’s a DIY container herb garden project that will set you up with a fairly low maintenance little garden that should come back each spring, and last for years to come. Plus, it will use less water than other herb gardens, which is great for water conservation.

The key is using drought tolerant perennials. In the window box shown above, I used lavender, rosemary and sage (from left to right); these three herbs always play nice together because they all like well-drained soil and full sun.

To get started, you’ll need:

1 window box with a coco liner
1 lavender plant
1 rosemary plant
2 small sage plants (or 1 large sage plant)
potting soil
Shake ‘n Feed (optional)

Step 1

Use a window box with a coco liner (shown above), as it’s better than a plastic window box for drought tolerant plants, which need well-drained soil. But, if you’re thinking of planting a vertical herb garden, be sure to group drought resistant plant species together in one area, so you won’t accidentally overwater them. If you’d like to grow organic herbs, use organic potting mix, like Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Potting Mix, and skip the shake ‘n feed. You should yield bountiful results either way!

Coco liner for herb window box

Step 2

Before you begin planting, arrange your herbs in the empty window box to figure out where you’ll place each plant. I chose to plant the rosemary in the middle because it’ll grow the tallest, creating symmetry between the three herbs.

Lavender, rosemary, and thyme in window box

Step 3

Begin by filling your window box about 1/4 of the way full of potting soil. If you’d like, add a bit of Shake ‘n Feed fertilizer to the bottom of the window box.

Potting soil in a coco liner

Shake 'n feed plant fertilizer

Step 4

Next, remove your first plant from the plastic container, and remove much of the soil from the roots. Set the soil aside for later.

Lavender plant for herb container garden

Step 5

Slide the plant into the window box, pressing it down into the soil below. Repeat these steps with each of your herb plants.

Lavender plant in window box

Rosemary and lavender in window box

My sage plants were much smaller than my lavender and rosemary plants, so I used two plants instead of one. I also needed to add a few large handfuls of soil to this side of the window box so that the thyme plants would sit evenly with the rosemary plants.

Herb container garden

Step 6

Once all of your herbs are in the window box, fill the rest of the container with potting mix.

Thyme in window boxDrought-resistant herb garden

Step 7

Now, your window box should be ready to hang. Using the brackets that come with the window box, attach the box to a railing or window sill (following the directions included).

Window box brackets

Drought-resistant herb garden

Water your herb garden once a week, at most. Also, be sure to keep the window box somewhere that it will be exposed to full sun.

Also, keep in mind, rosemary can grow quite large, so unless you plan on transplanting this rosemary plant into the ground after several months, you’ll need to prune it back. When you’re ready to prune, cut it back by no more than ⅓.

Since these three drought-resistant herbs are perennials, leave them in the window box over winter, and they’ll grow back once spring comes back around!