Last Updated on October 31, 2021 by Phil
In this article, I’m going to talk about the different flavorful spices you can grow in pots.
Not everyone has a garden. This is especially true in the urban setting many of us live in today. And, if you do have space, you may not have a lot of it because rent and real estate is just very expensive.
Then, there’s the weather, soil and amount of sunlight your yard can get.
The good news is, you can grow many of your favorite spices in containers. This way, you can control the climate, amount of sunlight and other conditions. Plus, the pots don’t need a lot of space.
Flavorful Spices You Can Grow in Pots
Turmeric is no doubt one of the most beneficial spices in terms of health. That’s because it is loaded with antioxidants.
But, in addition to this, this yellow-orange spice is a staple in many cuisines including Indian and other Asian dishes.
To grow turmeric in containers, sow the rhizomes during spring or early in the summer at the latest. It is a warm weather plant that doesn’t like the cold.
Climate is less of a problem if you live in a warm region where the sun is up all year long. If that’s the case, you can plant turmeric anytime.
Make sure to keep soil moist. But, avoid getting it soggy.
Once it outgrows its container, move it to larger container.
Onion is one of the most popular spices around. And, it is often paired with garlic to create that initial flavor in many western dishes.
You can also bring out more of its sweet flavor by allowing to simmer or saute longer.
With onions, we use the bulb for cooking. And, almost always, it is cut into small bits. Although sometimes into slivers.
To grow onions in pots, make sure to use a deep and wide planter. You’ll need at least 10 to 12 inches of planting depth and space between the bulbs (3 inches). So, something rectangular will let you optimize space.
Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. It costs as much as $10 per gram which is why chefs will only use very little of it at a time.
The good news is, you only need a little to create amazing flavor with it. And, it also adds a lovely color as well.
To grow saffron, you want to secure a cool, dry place. It does best in USDA Zones 6 to 9 which is why those regions are where most of the countries saffron production is done.
Additionally, you’ll also need a large container and good potting mix that drains well. Then, plant the crocus (Crocus sativas) bulbs into about 3 to 4 inches deep and keep them 3 inches apart from one another.
Those specific crocus bulbs are what you want to go get from the store.
Ginger is another easy spice to grow in your backyard or indoors.
We use the rhizome of the plant as the spice. And, because of its intense flavor, ginger is often cut into smaller bits or slivers.
Growing ginger is best in warm conditions. This is why they most are done in USDA Zones 9b or higher.
But, if you live in the norther part of the country, using containers will let you harvest them all year round.
Often spring is the best time to start. But, since you can move the container, you can do so any time of the year and move the container as needed to keep it warm.
Be careful not to overwater ginger.
I’ve found that coriander is something that people either love or hate. That’s because of its distinct and somewhat strong flavor.
That said, it is a staple in many cuisines including Vietnamese. So if you like pho or banh mi, then this is a good spice to grow.
It’s worth noting that both cilantro and coriander actually mean the same plant. But in the U.S., we tend to call the leaves and stems cilantro and refer to the seeds as coriander.
Internationally, the leaves, stems and seeds are referred to as coriander.
To plant coriander, start from seeds. If you already have the plant, allow it to flower and seed. Make sure to use good quality soil. Adding compost also helps.
Plus, make sure to use a deep pot as its roots will need close to 12 inches in depth.
Garlic is the king of spices. I say that because it is the most commonly used spice around. You can use it to flavor your dishes as well as toast them to add more aroma.
In cooking, garlic is often paired in onions to start dishes. And, both are alliums which you can use in your garden to keep all sorts of pests and insects away.
To grow garlic in containers, you’ll need garlic cloves. You can likewise choose the pot based on how much garlic you want to grow. Or if you already have the pots, include the appropriate number of cloves in them.
Here’s a quick guide.
- 3 cloves to a 6 inch pot
- 6 cloves to an 8 inch pot
- 8 or 9 cloves for a 10 inch pot
You’ll need at the pots to be at least 6 inches deep for the roots to have enough space.
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Oregano is one of those spices that I think is underrated. You don’t hear it as often as you do many of the others in our list of flavorful spices you can grow in pots.
But, it does wonders when you use it.
Oregano is easy to grow and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance or care. You can actually neglect it and still get a good harvest.
But, make sure to give it enough sunlight. Don’t worry about adding a ton of water or fertilizer as too much can be more of a problem.
Cumin is yet another unsung spice that’s easy to grow.
It is very popular in the Mediterranean, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines. As such, if you enjoy the foods from those regions, you’ll want to grow some cumin.
Cumin thrives in warm climates. It will not survive or tolerate frost. As such containers are a good idea since you can move the pots as the weather gets cold.
Start them in spring in order to begin harvesting around the middle or late in the summer.
Star Anise is often used to add its unique flavor in Chinese and Indian dishes. As such, it isn’t all too well known or that often used.
But, if you’ve heard of Chinese 5 Spice powder, then you’ve tasted star anise as it is one of the 5 spices that’s included there along with cinnamon and peppercorns.
Star anise enjoys moderate to warm temperature. Well-draining soil is essential in growing this spice. So, make sure to use soil that does not retain too much moisture.
Also, pick a pot with drainage holes to make sure.
Fennel seed is another unique spice that has a distinct flavor. It actually tastes like licorice.
It is popularly used for flavoring curries and stews.
Growing fennel seeds required a good sized, deep pot. You’ll need at least 12 to 14 inches of space below to give its tap root enough space to grow.
Avoid overwatering. And make sure to use light, well-draining soil and a container with drainage.
If the last few spices are not too familiar, don’t worry, paprika is surely something you’ve heard of or tried before.
Paprika is actually grounded peppers. It is made by grinding red pepper pods or a combination of different red colored peppers including cayenne and tomato peppers.
As such, you’ll be growing the peppers in the pots and then creating the dry spice blend after you’ve harvest them.
Do note what while the more well-known peppers like red peppers are red colored and are peppers, they cannot be used to create paprika.
Cardamom as we know it come from the seeds of the plant. The plant is actually a member of the ginger family.
To grow cardamom in pots, place a few seeds into a container with soil and cover with a very thin layer of soil (about an eighth of an inch). Then, water to keep the soil moist.