How to save herbs

Herb gardens and containers will all benefit from some TLC in mid-summer

Herb gardening with Garden News

After flowering, herbs such as oregano, marjoram and thyme need a trim to keep them bushy.

Look out for pests, especially rosemary beetle, which attacks rosemary, sage, thyme and lavender.

These shiny insects have metallic green and purple stripes, but they damage leaves and can seriously disfigure a plant if an infestation is big.

Although there are chemical sprays that can be used with edible herbs, the beetles are easy to dislodge by shaking the stems. Catch them with a piece of paper and dispose of them underfoot.

It’s also important to keep on top of watering, especially with herbs grown in pots. Coriander, basil and dill can be quick to bolt if they become dry.

This is when they flower and set seed, drawing energy away from leaf production and shortening the life of the plant.

If herbs that have been in the same pots for a few years are seriously flagging, check they are not pot-bound.

If the roots have become congested, take them out and divide the plants on a cool day so they don’t dry out in the heat, then repot them with free-draining compost into new containers and keep them well watered.