Low Maintenance Olive & Herb Mediterranean Planter

Not everyone has the time or may not wish to tend to summer bedding basket and container displays that require daily maintenance throughout the season.  For those looking for something low maintenance with a Mediterranean feel, our Olive and herb planter is the perfect choice and you can also use the herbs to create some delicious dishes in the kitchen.   This Mediterranean planter will look great on a sunny patio and provide year round interest in the garden.  

The herbs chosen for this planter all originate from places where it is warm and dry in the summer and doesn't get waterlogged in winter.  Adding grit to the soil will improve the drainage and reduces the chances of your plants rotting off in damp weather.  

Today we are planting up a 36cm diameter Heritage planter, but you can use any planter - just ensure that there is room for the number of chosen plants with some space around them to allow for growth. 

You will need:  

1 x “ container 

Polystyrene or broken crocks to put in bottom of the pot for drainage 

John Innes No. 3 Compost 

Horticultural grit 

Plants - we have used: 

I x small Olea europaea Olive 

1 x small Doone Valley Thyme 

1 x small Country Cream Oregano 

1 x  small Purple Sage 

1 x small Compact Marjoram 

(Please note that we may not always have the exact named varieties of the plants listed above when you visit us, but we do have Olives and plenty of other herb varieties to create beautiful low-maintenance planters.) 


Layer polystyrene or broken crocks in the bottom of the container.  If using polystyrene, break it into chunks and do not use any that has separated into individual little balls as this does not work for drainage.  

Add a few handfuls of John Innes No. 3 compost and plenty of grit.  Mix well.  Gradually add more compost and grit in layers, mixing well as you go until the pot is full to approximately one inch from the top rim.

Plant the Olive in the centre of the pot.  Gently remove the Olive from its pot by them stem at the bottom. Make a hole so that the Olive sits at the same level as it was in its original pot and gently bring the soil around it.  

Keeping the herbs in their pots for now, position them around the planted Olive to create a display that you are happy with.  We positioned the two variagated herbs (Thyme and Oregano) opposite each other and then the Purple Sage and plain green compact Marjoram in between these for full effect.  

Once you are happy with the positioning, begin planting the herbs.  Remove and keep the plant labels as you go for future reference.  Take each plant out of its pot one at a time by tipping them to one side, carefully hold the plants in one hand at the base, tip the pot slightly and squeeze the pot gently.  The plants should come out easily.  Plant each herb plant at equal distances from each other around the Olive.  

Top dress the planted container with horticultural grit.  Using a scoop, carefully lift up the plant leaves to get the soil right up around the base of the plants. 

Water and place in a sunny position.  


Water sparingly when the compost dries out as the plants do not like to be waterlogged.  

Approximately two months after planting give the plants a general purpose liquid feed every two to three weeks during the growing season  

Trim the herbs regularly to maintain the shape of the display.  Use fresh for cooking or dry for use at a later date.