Herb Underplanting for Potted Fruit Trees/Bushes/Vines

lawanddisorder(6)June 7, 2013

I have about 25 potted fruit trees/bushes/vines and was wondering if you guys thought it would be wise, and not harmful to the plants, to underplant taller fruit trees/vines/bushes with herbs?

I'd be underplanting apples, peaches, pears, necarines, plums, figs, grapes, kiwi vines, apricots, mullberry, and maybe a few berry bushes, too.

My first thought was strawberries, but that would attract even more squirrels which are already very problematic.

Maybe having two competing plants in one pot is a bad idea all together?

What do you all think?


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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

You didn't say what type of herbs you're interested in. Or how big the pots are. Most of the main herbs that people think of require full sun, and are not as suitable for underplanting in that way. Some also require very good drainage and not very good soil, where I would guess that most of the trees need a pretty healthy soil.

I prefer to keep my herb pots dedicated to a single type. Out of about 2 dozen, I only have one that has two different, and they're the same in their requirements (soil, water, light, etc). You would need to research the herbs you're interested in and compare that to what you already have potted.

I volunteer at the Botanic Gardens here, where they have an orangery with many potted trees. Sometimes for display, they put smaller pots in the larger pot, generally with a pretty trailing plant (I have seen rosemary as such) that gives the illusion that they're planted together. Might be something to think of if it's the look you're after.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 7:54PM
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jll0306(9/ Sunset 18/High Desert)

You may want to ask about underplanting in the permaculture forum. While they do not focus on herbs, they are great promoters of the idea of establishing plant guilds,groups of plants that grow well together and provide beneficial support to each other.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 9:07AM
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Thanks, Jan. Will do.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 11:43AM
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bjdurham(z7a GA)

Years ago when I had container blueberries on the deck, the blueberries on the plant nearest the herb containers, took on one of the herbs taste. I grew rosemary, sage, oregano, & basil, but I can't remember which one's scent got on the berries. Something to consider.

I often put million bells around taller pepper plants. If the competition stunts one or the other plant, I haven't noticed.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 10:40PM
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jll0306(9/ Sunset 18/High Desert)

Sorry I sent you to permaculture for nothing, LaD. I see they weren't at all helpful. But Sunset magazine is showing an herbal underplanting in a very structured in ground fruit tree garden and it looks wonderful.


    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 9:23AM
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I use lemon thyme when I do that. It bushes nicely and isn't too competitive.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 12:40AM
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