It is commonly known that plants can be used for medicinal purposes. Folk may have a few plants dotted around the garden that can be picked to make a quick tea or a culinary herb garden that doubles up as a natural apothecary. Others might even have a full medicinal herb garden for all their herbalism needs.
There are several reasons why someone might not be able to have a full garden. It might be a matter of space, time, or ability. However, that needn’t be a reason not to grow your medicinal herb garden in containers. Those with a small sunny porch or windowsill can still enjoy all of the benefits of some amazing plants right on their doorstep.
Growing Medicinal Plants in Pots
Growing plants in containers means that not only do you have the plants close at hand when you want to harvest them, but you can also enjoy their beauty, the aromas that are released when they are passed by, or the insect repelling properties that many medicinal plants have.
You could opt for several different pots, each containing a separate plant, or you could fill a window box or hanging basket with a mix of complementary herbs. Even think about recycling old containers to make quirky plant homes.
Which Medicinal Plants Grow Well in Containers?
1. Aloe Vera
Source: The Aloe Vera Garden/YouTube
- How to grow- Aloe vera works very well when grown in pots. It is a succulent-like plant that looks quite like a cactus. These plants do not like too much water though they mustn’t be neglected. Water very well, but allow the soil to dry out between waterings. You will need to keep this potted plant indoors during the winter.
- Medicinal uses- It is the slimy, fleshy innards of the spiky leaves that you want. Carefully cut a leaf open and remove the flesh. This can be rubbed directly onto minor burns, sunburns, or acne. Aloe is also good for rehydrating dry skin and is said to help calm an itchy scalp and reduce dandruff.
- Recipes- Check out this Superfood Green Smoothie by Kibby Miller. Or, if you’re in the mood for something sweet, check out these Raw Aloe Vera Brownies by Kyra Howearth.
2. Lemon Verbena
- How to grow- Lemon verbena (Aloysia citriodora) is a heavenly, lemony-scented shrub that, like aloe, is also drought tolerant. It is a perennial in warmer climates, but it will need to be cut back and brought indoors during cold winters.
- Medicinal uses- Lemon verbena makes a wonderfully refreshing tea and has anti-bacterial properties. Its lemony scent and flavor are both uplifting and calming at the same time. It is a tea that can be sipped throughout the day, as it is very gentle. A lemon verbena, peppermint, and ginger tea work well for upset stomachs and nausea.
- Recipes- Check out these Lemon Verbena Shortbread Sandwich Cookies by Betsy DiJulio: Blogger, The Blooming Platter.
Source: Epic Gardening/YouTube
- How to grow- You can grow your ginger plants from ginger rhizomes (underground stems) that you buy at the supermarket. Bury these rhizomes whole, or break off the little ‘fingers’ and plant the pieces, about an inch deep. Keep the soil watered, but not saturated. It is frost intolerant, so if you live in a colder climate, you might want to start your ginger indoors.
- Medicinal uses- There is a list of medicinal benefits that this plant gives us. It is used to reduce nausea and help fight common colds and flu. It is also known to help ease indigestion. It contains a powerful compound called gingerol which is anti-inflammatory and has antioxidant properties. Ginger can be grated into all kinds of recipes to spice things up a little, and it makes a lovely warming tea.
- Recipes- Check out this Pear Ginger Smoothie by Teri Macovei, Healthy Citrus Pear Ginger Tea by Shanika Graham-White, and Carrot Ginger Soup with Curried Raisin Relish by Nikki and Zuzana!
Source: Go Locavore/YouTube
- How to grow- Thyme loves a sunny spot, so be sure to keep your container where it can catch some rays. Its tiny little leaves are extremely fragrant and are often used in the kitchen. This is another herb that doesn’t like wet feet, so only water when the soil is dry. A creeping thyme variety would work well in a hanging basket.
- Medicinal uses- Thyme has all kinds of medicinal properties as well as being delicious in stews and pasta dishes. Its antibacterial properties make it very good for easing the symptoms of acne when applied to the skin in tincture form. Thyme is also touted for its uplifting aroma, immune-boosting powers, and pest deterring properties.
- Recipes- Check out this Lemon Thyme Roasted Butternut Squash Soup by Teri Macovei, these Spinach Crepes with Thyme Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Walnut Sauce by Anna Sue, and these Truffle and Thyme Celeriac Fries by Emma D’Alessandro!
- How to grow- This is a wonderful plant to keep at hand, and it does very well in pots. It enjoys full sun and well-drained soil. Your potted lavender plants might need to come indoors in the winter.
- Medicinal uses- Lavender is most commonly used for its aromatherapy qualities. Its scent can promote calmness and reduce stress. It also works well as tea as a gentle sleeping aid.
- Recipes- Check out this Lavender Latte Oatmeal by Lauren Smith, these Raw Lavender Fig Tarts by Heidi Turunen, and this Peach and Lavender Chia Jam by Jessica Lane.
Here is a little sample of some plants that can work to beautify your porch, help deter pests, and provide you with some gentle and soothing medicinal remedies. A few other notable medicinal herbs that are excellent container dwellers are mint, lemon balm, and oregano.
This is for informational and educational purposes only. Always consult a medical professional before using any herbal remedy.
- 9 Herbs and Spices to Start a Medicinal Garden at Home
- Uncovering the Mysteries of Medicinal Herbs
- How to Make Your Own Herbal Teas at Home
- What is an Herbal Lawn and How to Grow One
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