- Thyme is a wonderful herb with a pleasant, pungent, clover flavor. It smells like summer to us! There are both fragrant ornamental types as well as culinary thyme varieties which add a savory note to summer soups, grilled meats, and vegetables. Here’s how to plant and grow thyme.
- A low-growing hardy perennial, thyme is a fragrant herb with small, fragrant leaves and thin, woody stems. The culinary varieties are evergreen.
- Thyme comes in over fifty varieties with different fragrances and flavors. Fresh or English thyme are used most often in cooking.
- Originally from the Mediterranean area, this herb is drought-friendly so it doesn’t have high watering needs. It is also pollinator-friendly! Let some thyme plants flower, since the herb attracts the bees.
- While thyme is usually harvested in the summer months, we have harvested ours well into late fall!
- Thyme can grow in the ground or in a container. Either is left outside in wintertime. New leaves will emerge within the early spring.
- Thyme thrives in full sun and loves heat. If you are growing in a pot indoors, plant near a sunny window.
- Soil needs to drain well so there aren’t “wet feet.” In the garden, plant with other drought-tolerant perennials.
- In early spring, you may fertilize with organic matter, like compost, but not much soil amendment is necessary.
- It’s hard to grow thyme from seeds because of slow, uneven germination. It’s easier to buy the plants from a garden center or take some cuttings from a friend. Over time, you can propagate from your own cuttings.
- For a head start, plant the cuttings indoors 6 to 10 weeks before the last spring frost. (See your local frost dates.)
- Plant cuttings or young thyme plants any time after the ground temperature reaches 70°F. This is usually 2 to 3 weeks before the last spring frost in well-drained soil about 9 inches apart.
- Space young plants 12 to 24 inches apart, depending upon the specific variety.
- The plants should grow 6 to 12 inches in height.
- In the garden, plant thyme near cabbage or tomatoes.
- If you are growing thyme in containers, plant with rosemary which also likes sunny conditions and has similar watering needs.
- Water deeply only when the soil is completely dry.
- Prune the plants back in the spring and summer to contain the growth.
- If you have cold winters, remember to lightly mulch around the plants after the ground freezes.
- Three to four year old plants need to be divided or replaced because older plants are woody and the leaves less flavorful.
- You can take some cuttings and plant them indoors in pots, too.