Compost Magazine

Composting tips, advice and science.

How to Rejuvenate Supermarket Pot Herbs With Compost

Have you ever bought live pot herbs from the store? 

Usually they look great, but after a week or two they start to die. 

I used to think that this was because they were forced. But then I read that supermarkets have to sterilise the soil before they place plants next to food. 

This lead to an experiment, which I’ve repeated a number of times since. I was also reminded of it today after my wife bought two, rather sad looking, potted herb plants. Here’s one of them:

Parsley pot plant from supermarket.

 It’s super simple, and highly effective. 

  • Remove the herbs from the original pot. 
  • Put in a new pot with compost. 
  • Immediately give a liquid feed. 

The liquid fertiliser is to ensure that the plant roots get access to soluble nutrients immediately. I didn’t have any for this plant, but there was still a little bit of homemade fertiliser diluted down in my watering can.

The herbs can look sad to start with, and they often also sag as soon as you have removed the plastic from around the leaves. But give them a couple of weeks and they usually perk up. 

Sad looking parsley.
The potted on parsley looked rather sad after transplanting. .

This has worked for me with multiple herb plants (90% success rate), and with parsley I’ve found the plant can then go on for a year or more. 

Rejuvenated parsley.
This one recovered very quickly – this picture was taken the next day.