Cultivating a large variety of herbs and spices in a small space is made possible with a herb snail. Properly laid out, the snail-shaped bed offers the opportunity to harvest various herbs for your own kitchen all year round. The decorative eye-catcher does not make even small gardens and green areas appear overcrowded. Special technical knowledge is not necessary for the construction of your own herb spiral. Within a very short time you can plant and cut lavender, borage and water mint at the same time in just a few square meters.

Choose the right location

Before work can begin, the ideal place for the herb spiral must first be found. Most of the cultivated herbs and crops prefer full sun. Choose the construction site accordingly and plan a minimum diameter of about 3 – 4 meters. How high the distance between the stone walls should be is up to you. Anything between 60 and 120 centimeters is possible and would also depend on the available building space for the herb snail.
materials and preparation

The following are required to craft the Herb Snail:

  • weed fleece
  • coarse gravel for drainage
  • line
  • Pflock
  • spade
  • Substrate
  • Pond liner, building tub
  • big stones

When all the materials are ready to hand and the optimal location for the herb snail has been found, the preparatory work begins. First, the floor plan of the plantation is staked out with the string and the pegs. The shape should be based on a snail shell, the open end of which points in the southern direction.

The soil within the marked area is excavated about 20 centimeters deep, with the exception of the pond zone. The construction bucket or the pond liner should later find space here, so cut out this area 15 centimeters deeper than the rest of the spiral.


Even before the stone wall can be raised, the right “foundation” must be in place.

  • First distribute the weed fleece in the excavated area. This will curb the explosive growth of unwanted and stubborn weeds. Depending on the material and thickness, the fleece decomposes over time.
  • In the herb spiral, too, excess water must be able to drain away without any problems. To do this, a thick layer of coarse gravel is spread over the weed fleece and gently pressed down.
Note: Ideally, the drainage should lie above the fleece. If the weed barrier rots, the particles can impede the flow of water and waterlogging occurs inside the herb spiral. Only the pond area does not require drainage.

The wall

It is built using the traditional construction method of a dry stone wall. Mortar is completely out of place in this three-dimensional bed, you can fill the gaps and wobbly stones with small splinters and fragments. What kind of stones you use for the herb snail is entirely up to you. Sandstones, for example, have proven themselves just as well as reading or clinker stones. Lay the spiral base with the stones, starting from the inside out. The highest point of the herb spiral should later be about 80 – 100 centimeters and gently slope outwards. A slight inward inclination of the stones gives the system additional stability.

You can start filling up the inner area of ​​the herbal spiral while you are already pulling it up. Avoid loamy or humus-rich substrate in the lower third. Otherwise, in connection with frost, there would be a risk of instability and the raised bed would slowly collapse. Rubble and coarse gravel have proven their worth, only the last 30 centimeters to the top edge should be saved for the substrate.

The mini pond

The water zone marks the end of the herbal spiral, which is ideally oriented directly to the south. Whether you do without this zone yourself or use a construction bucket depends on your wishes. With a special pond liner, you can let your creativity run wild: For example, gentle transitions not only supply the plants in this area with water. Birds and other garden dwellers can also use the pond as a bathing and water intake opportunity.


Simply filling the herb spiral with humus-rich soil is not enough. Different climate zones are “simulated” in the three-dimensional bed, with which the needs of the most diverse herbs should be met.

The following areas are present within the herbal snail, starting with the highest point:
Mediterranean zone: Lean, permeable and slightly calcareous soil. Herbs such as thyme, lavender and sage feel at home here. Mix sand and lime under normal garden soil in this area and completely avoid humus and horn shavings.

Normal zone : If the location was chosen correctly and the north-south orientation of the herb spiral was taken into account, this is the half-shaded area. Plants such as burnet burnets, strawberry mint and basil prefer a humus-rich, dry and well-drained substrate. Small amounts of sand and compost enrich the soil, substrate that is too heavy can be loosened up with lava grit or small pebbles.

Moist zone: Tree spinach, lovage, garden cress and borage feel particularly at home in this humus-rich, moist zone. Use clay and humus in this section, avoid sand or lime completely.

Water zone
 : Not every herb spiral accommodates a small pond. However, watercress, sweet flag and water mint thrive in this swampy area.
As soon as the structure of the snail-shaped bed is completed, it is filled with soil. Note the different zones and also the height of the stone walls.


You can plant a herb snail in your own garden all year round, but planting requires a little patience. The substrate should settle first, refill if necessary. The stability of the stones must also be checked, because at this point any repairs or improvements can still be made without much effort.

When cultivating herbs, pay attention to their needs. Lavender, for example, has no place in the moist zone, nor does water mint thrive in a poor, dry substrate. Choose early spring or autumn for cultivation so that the plants can use the main growth phase to develop shoots and leaves. In addition to tea, medicinal and aromatic herbs, you can easily plant wild herbs in your own herb snail.

Pay attention to a certain minimum distance between the individual plant varieties so that they do not hinder each other’s growth. To keep a better overview of the individual zones, you can mark the borders decoratively with smaller stones. Use small herbs and avoid root herbs such as goutweed.

Water and fertilize

Immediately after the first planting, all areas of the herb snail are supplied with sufficient and regular water for about two weeks. This makes it easier to root the plants and set the substrate. After that, it is only watered moderately and with lime-free water if necessary. Avoid waterlogging, especially in the Mediterranean zone.

Like all garden plants, the herbs and medicinal plants in the herb snail also need nutrients. In the first year after creating the bed, there are enough minerals in the freshly prepared substrate. However, from the second year onwards, mix compost into the soil in spring and autumn. The amount required here depends on the individual planting areas. Do not use conventional liquid fertilizers, as the plants have different requirements in terms of quantity and composition.

Tip: In the event of over-fertilization, replace large quantities of the substrate immediately.

Winterize herb snails

Only a few plants within the herb spiral are only partially hardy, such as rosemary. To be on the safe side, you can put endangered herbs in a planter before frost sets in and let it hibernate in a bright, cool place. Avoid moving into living quarters. Dry heating air damages the plants and the warm temperatures stimulate the unwanted formation of shoots. If the plant is to remain in place, you can use a special, warming fleece cover as a precaution.

care tips

If the plants have been used correctly in the herb snail according to their requirements, they require little care. Nevertheless, one should not leave the snail-shaped bed completely to itself.

Pond – Immediately remove debris and debris from the water and replace as necessary. The water level should remain constant and not be drained even in winter. Also, do not keep goldfish or koi in the pond, as these types of fish need a lot of space.

Cut – Medicinal and aromatic herbs need regular pruning. Regularly removing young shoots and leaves for use in the kitchen is not enough. The consistent and radical pruning, for example of thyme, stimulates the plants to shoot bushy. If you do not want seeding, remove the inflorescences immediately after withering.

Weeds – The fleece attached below does not fully protect against pesky weeds. Check regularly and get rid of unwanted plants before they grow uncontrollably in the bed.

pests and diseases

Aphids, spider mites and other harmful insects do not stop at the plants in a herb snail. Promote the resilience of the herb and spice plants with the right care and often take a close look at the underside of the leaves. Pests must be combated immediately, if possible, the affected plant must be quarantined. The following biological measures have proven effective against a large number of unwanted insects:

  • Spray manure from nettles.
  • Squirt decoction out of field horsetails.
  • Use natural predators.
  • Remove affected plant parts.
  • Collect.

Do not use chemical insecticides and, if there is a risk of overpopulation, eliminate the entire plant so as not to infect the other plants of the herb snail.

Powdery mildew and other fungal diseases are unwelcome guests, as are pests. Improper cultivation within zones encourages infestation, as does a compacted substrate. Pay attention to the needs of the individual herbs, teas and medicinal herbs during planting. Depending on the severity of the infestation, you must also completely remove the affected plants.

Tip: houseleek and borage can be used to fill in the spaces between the stones.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *