How to Plant a Cocktail Garden to Flavor Your Summer Drinks

Liven up your martinis and margaritas with fresh herbs. Keep these plants close at hand by creating this fun mixed container.

When you grow a pot filled with herbs, you'll always have what you need to enhance your favorite garden-inspired cocktails. All you need is a sunny location, a large enough container, and some of the most flavorful herbs for mixology. This container includes lavender, basil, and rosemary, but if you have other favorite garnishes, you can add them in your herb garden, too. Use lavender's fragrant purple flowers as a garnish or stirring stick for a martini, or use them to impart an intriguing flavor to lemonade. Basil can make for an interesting martini or a refreshing spiked lemonade. Rosemary adds a unique flavor to any cocktail, and it also looks festive as a garnish.

cocktail herb garden

Jacob Fox

After planting, you can enhance your container even more with cocktail-themed accents. Try using wine corks as mulch and labeling the plants with signs made from slices of tree branch, supported with a skewer, to resemble drink coasters.

What You Need

  • Large container
  • Potting mix
  • Basil plant
  • Lavender plant
  • Rosemary plant
  • Wine corks
  • Tree-slice labels
  • Permanent marker
placing herb plant into pot
Jacob Fox

Step 1: Pot Plants

Fill the bottom half of the container with potting soil; plant basil, lavender, and rosemary (or other herbs of your choice). Plant the herbs 1-2 inches below the lip of the container, allowing room for a dense layer of corks. Continue to fill the container with potting soil, surrounding the new plantings.

placing wine corks in pot with herbs
Jacob Fox

Step 2: Place Corks

Save your corks! Cover the exposed potting soil with a thick layer of wine corks. Not only does this hold in moisture, but it adds to the cocktail theme of the container.

writing on garden marker with sharpie
Jacob Fox

Step 3: Create Labels

If you're unable to find already-made tree slice labels, make your own from a fallen or pruned tree limb (or create DIY plant labels with a different style). With a sharp saw, carefully cut a tree branch into ¼- to ½–inch-thick sections. Using a nail or ice pick, make a hole on the edge. Wear garden gloves for protection. A drill with a small bit will also work. Insert a bamboo skewer as the stake. Write the plant names on the labels using a permanent marker.

More Plants to Include in Your Cocktail Garden

Don't limit your drink-add on options to lavender, basil, and rosemary. There are plenty of herbs and other garden-fresh options that can thrive in a container garden and add a new twist to your favorite cocktails.

01 of 08


lime tree in container garden with calibrachoa
Edward Gohlich

An essential flavor for margaritas, lime adds a zesty, fresh taste to drinks and desserts. A subtropical tree, it's best grown in a pot if you live in a cold-winter climate. Move it to a sunny window indoors for the winter where you'll be rewarded with fragrant flowers in spring.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: Up to 20 feet tall (dwarf varieties are up to 10 feet tall)

Zones: 10-11

02 of 08

Lemon Balm

lemon balm plant
Scott Little

Lemon balm leaves perk up any drink with a light, citrusy note. This tough perennial is easy to grow and will provide you with a ton of fragrant foliage. Try harvesting a few leaves and freezing them in ice cubes for a beautiful and refreshing treat.

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade and well-drained soil

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Zones: 3-7

03 of 08


signet marigold tagetes tenuifolia
Peter Krumhardt

You may not think to cook with marigolds, but signet marigold varieties pack a big punch in their puny petals. Their flavor is a little on the spicy side, so these annuals go great paired with a meal filled with butters or cream sauces, which temper their punch.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 12 inches tall

Zones: Annual

04 of 08

'Golden Delicious' Pineapple Sage

golden delicious pineapple sage salvia elegans
Scott Little

Bold, bright, and beautiful, 'Golden Delicious' pineapple sage has glowing chartreuse foliage and fire-engine-red flowers in late summer and fall, plus pineapple-scented foliage. Snip a section of stem, cut off the leaves, and use it as a stirring stick or cocktail spear.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Zones: 8-10

05 of 08


cluster of chives allium schoenoprasum
Marty Baldwin

Refreshing chives go with just about everything savory; try them in a bloody Mary, for example. Chives' foliage has a grassy texture, so this herb looks good with just about everything in the garden, too.

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade and well-drained soil

Size: Up to 12 inches tall

Zones: 3-10

06 of 08


mint mentha spicata
Scott Little

Add a cool touch to any drink with a sprig of mint; crush it for a delightful minty mojito, freeze it in an ice cube to bring zing to lemonade, or simply use it as a fragrant garnish. Mint is a vigorous spreader; many gardeners grow it in a container to keep it from taking over the garden.

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 2 feet tall

Zones: 3-10

07 of 08


strawberry plant growing outdoors
Stephen Cridland

There's a seemingly endless number of ways to use strawberries in summer drinks: Martinis, daiquiris, and margaritas all come to mind. Or use this sweet, delicious fruit to decorate your drinks.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: Up to 12 inches tall

Zones: 3-10

08 of 08

Husky Cherry Red Tomato

cherry tomato lycopersicon husky
Scott Little

Tomatoes are a main ingredient in bloody Mary recipes, but don't limit yourself. Float cherry tomatoes in martinis or other drinks for added color and flavor. Or, add tomatoes to a charcuterie tray to accompany your cocktail.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and in well-drained soil

Size: Up to 4 feet tall

Zones: 2-11

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