Shop Bought Potted Herbs
In the past I've bought potted herbs from a supermarket with the hope that it'll mean I have that herb, fresh and to hand, for a long time, whenever I need it. It never used to end that way and I thought I was just doomed when it comes to plants. Not true! Here is a way to keep (and massively increase) your herb stock healthy.
Here is everything you'll need. A shop bought potted herb, some empty pots and some compost.
This is the problem! This is why shop bought potted herbs never last! They are massively overcrowded in these small pots and so they compete with each other and none of the plants thrive. This one looks particularly sad because it's a "yellow sticker item" (greatly reduced in price due to it being on its expiry date). So this is roughly what your herb plants will look like before you start.
First, fill as many pots as you need for all the little plants. You don't need to give every individual stalk its own pot, its ok to combine them, and you might find that a couple have already gone beyond saving.
Next, take the herbs out of the pot and split them. Do this as gently as you can, trying to avoid breaking the root systems as much as possible. Breakages won't be completely avoidable so don't panic too much, just try to keep it to a minimum. You'll be surprised how much less damage you'll do if you listen for snapping roots and take your time.
Once you've separated all the young plants, you can start planting them. Using your finger, make a hole in one of the pre filled pots, and then lower the roots of one of the separated plants into the hole. Try to make sure that as many of the roots go into the hole as possible, guiding them in with your fingers if you need to. This bit is a little fiddly but its worth taking the time to get as many of the roots into the compost as possible because the plant will recover faster and be healthier.
Making sure that roots go into the hole is easier if the hole is big enough, as shown.
Once it's in, firm the compost around the plant and top up with extra compost if necessary.
Repeat these steps until all the smaller plants are potted up, and then water them all in.
There you have it. What started off as one doomed and overcrowded pot of herbs, is now several pots of younger and smaller yet healthier plants which will last much longer. It is wise not to harvest from any of these for a little while to allow them to establish. Either that or set aside one or 2 to leave alone and essentially sacrifice the others by harvesting from them immediately. Happy seasoning!