Gardening: ‘Key thing’ to remember when growing basil and thyme – ‘will only rot’

B&Q offer advice on how to plant herbs in a container

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Herbs are fairly easy to grow and look after, making them a great option for amateur gardeners. They can be kept outside backdoors, planted in hanging baskets, on balconies or planted in the garden. However, some herbs do have specific needs when it comes to maintenance.

Gardening expert Matt James said basil and thyme can “rot” if they don’t have adequate drainage.

He explained in a video for Waitrose & Partners: “Herbs aren’t just great for the garden, you can grow them in containers too.

“Now, obviously you can grow them in individual containers.

“Alternatively, how about something like this simple flexible liner which you pop inside the woven willow fence which hides it.

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“A key thing to remember when growing herbs like basil and thyme is that good drainage is really important or they will only rot in double-quick time.

“So the compost that I’m using here has got lots and lots of horticultural grit mixed into it.”

Gardeners should fill the liner with the compost mix before putting it into the container.

The three herbs Matt planned to plant were what he described as “perennial toughies”.

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He said: “I’ve got bronze fennel, a taller of the bunch which is going to sit at the back [of the container].

“Then we’ll have another one down in front – purple sage, then our chives.

“Lastly, a bit of compost to top it up.

“When it comes to harvesting, the more you pick, the bigger and bushier the plants and the better the flavour.”

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At the end of the summer, gardeners can harvest the whole pot of herbs and dry them out over the hob.

Alternatively, they can be put into ice cubes to cook with throughout the year.


Basil seeds can be sown from February through to July.

The herb can be planted in June and July and harvested from June to September.

The herb latest to sit in wet compost and is best cut with scissors.


Thyme can be planted from March to May and September to November.

It can be harvested throughout the year.


Sage seeds can be sown from March to May and September and October.

It can be planted in June and July and harvested throughout the year.

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