Herb pots come in a range of materials, from terracotta to metal, as well as sizes, from shallow pots to large ones designed to hold several plants at once. Herb pots may be round in shape or rectangular. A creative gardener can repurpose pretty much any container, such as an empty vase or watering can, into an herb pot. The best herb pot to use depends on where the pot will be used and the size of the herbs. All herb pots should have holes drilled into the bottom for drainage so that the roots of the plant will not rot.
Most herbs need only a small amount of space to grow and thrive. A 6-inch (15-cm) herb pot should work well for growing individual herbs such as basil or oregano. Some herbs can grow quite large, though, and will need a pot that is deeper than this. It's best to check the plant's tag to see how large it will grow before buying a pot.
Herb pots can be made of terracotta, galvanized steel, or plastic. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages. Terracotta or clay pots absorb moisture from the soil, which can make the plant dry out more quickly. Terracotta is also very fragile. Leaving a terracotta pot outdoors in the winter can cause it to break from the shock of the cold. Enameled clay pots do not absorb moisture, but are just as fragile as terracotta.
Metal herb pots are very durable and a good choice if a gardener wants to leave them outdoors over the winter. Unlike terracotta, they do not absorb moisture from the herbs. They become very hot very fast, though, especially if left in an extremely sunny area or if in an area left to the elements, such as a roof deck or fire escape balcony. A gardener can find galvanized metal herb pots, which will not rust, or reuse an empty metal bucket, watering can, or even empty food cans.
Plastic herb pots offer the best of terracotta and metal but have their own set of problems. They do not absorb moisture and will not overheat. They may not be as durable as metal, though. Some types of plastic are also not ideal for growing plants, as they can break down over time and leach chemicals into the soil. A gardener should check to make sure the plastic container she plans on using is made of #1, #2, #4, or #5 plastic. Plastic containers will work well indoors or outdoors.