Growing Herbs in Pots in Hot Summer Weather, and Tea Tree
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Tami Gould
Posted on: April 14, 2004

With my recent start of interest in herb growing, I find your website the most comprehensive and interesting. I have ordered from you last year and killed almost everything but am learning by reading and my mistakes. I don’t have a garden, so am trying to grow things in pots. They seem to do well up till the mid hot summer when it hits the 100s (Fahrenheit) here in central Oklahoma, USA (zone 7). Hot and dry at that time. Do you have any suggestions for a different way to go with pot gardening? Do I need to move most of them to part shady areas instead? Or should I use a self watering pot? I find that at times the pots dry out even after watering daily. I don’t want to make the same mistakes this year and it gets to be a lot of watering and work. Of course my dream is to someday have a greenhouse. But for now just need to simplify and preserve my investments with what I have access to.

Self-watering pots are certainly your best bet, since they hold much more water than even a saucer under the pot would. Many herbs cannot take complete drying out. Examples are myrtle and rosemary, both of which die if they dry out even once. Some of the creeping thymes don’t take long to turn to hay either!

If you go to our web-site and click on the "Richters Info" centre" under "News & Info" and then click on Richters Herb Growing Infobase and type in the herb you are interested in, it will give you the light requirement amongst other things. If it requires full sun, the self-watering pot should do the trick. If it needs partial or full shade, then do move the pot out of the full sun into shade.

P.S. I wondered if it is possible to grow a tea tree plant successfully in a pot and keep indoors during the winter. I just asked your associate about growing it and its needs, but forgot to tell her I was keeping it in pot.

I have kept a tea tree (I am assuming you mean the Melaleuca alternifolia and not the Leptospermum scoparium) alive in a pot indoors in winter. It must never be allowed to dry out, but should not be soggy wet either. Keep in a fairly warm place, since the plant is tropical.

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