Potted Herbs from the Supermarket.


Why is it that those herbs in pots that you buy from the supermarket do not seem to last for every long before they become limp, turn yellow and need replacing? Herbs such as basil, coriander, mint, parsley and thyme are important ingredients in many of our favourite recipes, so it is essential that we have them at hand in the kitchen. You cannot beat 'fresh' herbs and if you are unable to grow them from seed in the garden, greenhouse or window box, then you must rely on the supermarket to supply them in pots.

Our household uses excessive amounts of fresh basil for pasta dishes, to make pesto and as a topping for bruschetta, but we have always had problems growing it in the herb garden, due to the very cold conditions and lack of bright sunshine in our part of the world. Therefore, we have always been very reliant upon the supermarket's potted version and challenged to keep it thriving and healthy for as long as possible.


Supermarket herbs are forced quickly in high temperature greenhouses, and, though pleasing to the eye, will shrivel quickly if stressed by draughts, variations in temperature and light levels, erratic watering and lack of nutrients in the compost.

My tips are to find a draught free windowsill with plenty of natural light throughout the year and to water the herbs regularly, from the bottom, (not from the top!) and your herbs will last much longer and might even thrive! Re-potting occasionally in fresh compost also helps to lengthen the shelf life. Our recent success with shop bought basil bears witness to this and we have not had to replace it for eight weeks now and it is still growing well. Probably time to re-pot in fresh compost!

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