Home > Growing Herbs > Growing Thyme

Growing Thyme

By: Kate Bradbury - Updated: 12 Apr 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Growing Thyme Thyme Lawn Caring For

Thyme is a great herb to have growing in the garden. Originally from southern Europe it has attractive foliage and flowers and it is easy to care for. Thyme is a hardy perennial herb, which means it survives throughout he winter months and will last for several years. Thyme grows to a height of up to 30cm. It is highly aromatic and emits a wonderful scent when trodden on. Some low-growing varieties of thyme are used as an alternative to a lawn.

Varieties of Thyme

There are many varieties of thyme to choose from:

  • Golden-scented thyme – slight lemon scent, with small, purple flowers
  • Garden thyme – the most common thyme used for flavouring
  • Ground cover thyme – this thyme is good for cooking and ground cover, including an alternative to a lawn.

How to Grow Thyme

Thyme thrives in a well-drained light soil, of average fertility. It enjoys a sunny, sheltered position.

Propagating Thyme

Thyme can be propagated from seed, root division and cuttings. Growing from seed can take up to a year to develop into a harvestable plant; growing from division can produce a good sized plant in just a few months.

To grow thyme from seed, sow into small pots (5cm diameter) in potting compost in March. Cover with a very thin layer of potting compost and keep the pots warm, preferably indoors or in a greenhouse. Seedlings should emerge within a week. Thin to 2-3 seedlings and keep the compost moist. When the first true leaves have grown (when the plants are 10cm tall), harden the plants off by moving the pots outside in the day then taking them in at night. Do this for up to a week, before leaving the pots out at night. This gradually acclimatises the plants so they are not shocked when planted outside. Transplant the young plants into their final positions, roughly 30cm apart in a well-drained soil in full sunlight. Harvest sparingly in the first year. To divide thyme, choose a healthy plant at least 3 years old. Simply dig it up in early spring and remove as much soil as possible from the roots. Then gently tear the plant into 3 or 4 pieces, each with sufficient roots and foliage to grow independently from the main plant. Place each new plant back in the ground and water thoroughly. The new plants should be robust enough to harvest the leaves from late summer.

Caring for Thyme

Once established, thyme requires very little attention. Water only in very dry conditions and avoid feeding (too many nutrients can cause thyme to grow leggy and lose its flavour). A mulch of organic matter such as leafmould, well-rotted animal manure or homemade compost placed around the roots in autumn will protect thyme from severe frosts and deliver a moderate amount of nutrients throughout the year.

After 3 years, thyme will become woody and produce fewer leaves. At this stage it should be dug up and divided to make new plants.

Harvesting Thyme

Thyme may be harvested throughout the year. However, its leaves taste best in June and July. Simply remove the sprigs using scissors or secateurs.

Growing Thyme in a Container

Thyme will thrive if grown in a container, and requires no extra attention. During the summer, and organic liquid feed such as seaweed will be necessary every fortnight.

Thyme is a great plant to have growing in the garden. It can be used as ground cover in the herb garden, herbaceous borders, or even as an alternative to a lawn. It is a great herb to cook with, adding flavour to a variety of dishes, especially fish. What’s more, thyme is easy to grow.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
I would like to by the lowest thyme for pavement cracks seeds. Please advise which and how to do it?
Lally - 12-Apr-16 @ 12:59 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Kaz F
    Re: Growing Horseradish
    Hi every summer my horseradish leaves get eaten, end up looking skeletal I've now put raspberry canes next to H.R. Will they be ok and what…
    5 February 2017
  • MARTNAMM
    Re: Growing Bay Leaves
    hw long does bay leaves tree take to begin harvesting.
    26 December 2016
  • none
    Re: Cooking with Sage
    What do I use to get too much sage in chicken and rice soup.
    3 December 2016
  • none
    Re: Cooking with Sage
    How do I get too much sage out of chicken and rice soup?
    3 December 2016
  • HerbExpert
    Re: Growing Coriander
    Mya - Your Question:Can you grow coriander in winter in a tub indoors?Our Response:We've never m
    28 October 2016
  • Mya
    Re: Growing Coriander
    Can you grow coriander in winter in a tub indoors?
    27 October 2016
  • James
    Re: Growing Rosemary
    I recently bought 4 Rosemary Plants. I planted them fully on compost soil and put 2 outside and 2 inside. All 4 of them died, the outside 2 has…
    31 August 2016
  • Myrtle
    Re: Growing Lavender
    Is there anyway of keeping English lavender blooming until September. Would a feed of tomorite encourage it to produce more buds. Many thanks
    29 July 2016
  • HerbExpert
    Re: Growing Coriander
    Linda - Your Question:My coriander was growing well and I had lots off of it. It then grew very long stems and I used the leaves and froze them…
    5 July 2016
  • Linda
    Re: Growing Coriander
    My coriander was growing well and I had lots off of it. It then grew very long stems and I used the leaves and froze them but it is now going…
    4 July 2016
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the HerbExpert website. Please read our Disclaimer.