You Will Have the Thyme If You Follow These Guidelines
Thyme is one of the easiest of perennial culinary herbs if you grow it
hot and dry in soils with excellent drainage.
Nothing kills this plant faster than clay soils or poorly drained soils
with excessive water. So watering the herb garden is not recommended if
you want to grow lots of thyme.
General Culinary Thyme
The general culinary species is easily started from seed. The seed
germinates in 7 to 10 days when the soil temperature is 70F. If you sow
indoors at the end of January, you'll have massive plants by May when
you put them outdoors.
If you sow in May directly into the garden,
you'll have working plants by the end of summer.
Sow very shallowly,
1/8 inch deep and sow very thinly, making sure each seed has lots of
room to grow. This plant will damp off very fast if overcrowded.
easiest way is to sow six to eight seeds in a pot and thin to four of
the strongest. Or direct sow and thin to one plant every ten inches in
Illustration showing parts of the thyme plant
Plant started plants outdoors after all danger of frost. Or, harden
them off by putting out in the day and indoors at night for the last
few weeks of cool spring and then plant in early May. They'll be fine
if hardened off properly. Commercial nurseries regularly leave small
pots outdoors to freeze solid for the winter with only a heavy canvas
covering for ice protection (they die if ice covered in a pot).
With indoor started plants, you'll have to water them well for the
first month so their roots get fully established and heading downwards
looking for water. If you don't water to establish, you may lose
plants. Water garden plants until they are established and then ignore.
Harvest regularly all spring and early summer. Allow the plants to gain
some energy in mid-summer onwards for winter survival. Plants generally
live for 3 to 5 years before dying so do keep new plants coming along.
Thyme is propagated by seed or by cuttings. They take from cuttings
very easily and if you've never done this kind of propagation before,
this is the plant you should start with. If you have fancy varieties
such as the lemon-flavoured or variegated foliage, propagate them from
Variegated thyme in my garden
Some gardeners mulch thyme over the winter. I've found if I do that it
kills the plant. I expect to lose a few every year (see above re
Here are the fancy thymes that are available through specialist herb
growers. Frankly, I'd be growing one lemon and the regular culinary
thyme (T. vulgaris) in the garden (I can hardly taste any difference
once I start cooking). The ornamental value of the variegated thymes is
high for the rock garden. And wooly thyme is great for landscaping
(wooly looking leaves) as is 'Minus' with its tiny leaves. I confess I
can hardly smell the differences between any of the Thymus sp. plants.
Citrus Group (Thymus spp.)
T. herba-barona 'Lemon Carpet'
T. 'Highland Cream
T. citriodorus (Lemon T)
T. pulegioides 'Lemon' Creeping Lemon T
Thymus praecox articus 'Magic Carpet' Magic Carpet
Thymus praecox articus 'Purple Carpet'
Purple Carpet Lemon T
Thymus pulegioides 'Doone Valley'
Doone Valley Lemon T (gold variegated)
Thymus sp Lime T
Thymus x citriodorus 'Aureus' Golden Lemon T
Thymus 'Orange Balsam'
Thymus 'Goldstream' Goldstream Lemon
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Other Available Varieties
Thymus herba-barona Caraway T
Thymus sp. Coconut T
Thymus carnosus Portuguese T
Thymus praecox Creeping T
Thymus thracicus Lavender T
Thymus sp. Silver Needle T
Thymus sp. Mint T.
Thymus pulegioides (T. serpyllum)
Thymus.praecox spp. articus 'Minor' Minus T.
Thymus pseudolanuginosus Woolly T.
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Traditional Uses Include
Medicinally - bronchitis, whooping cough, sore throat, colic, arthritis, upset stomach, stomach pain intestinal gas, parasitic worm infections, and skin disorders, increase urine flow and as an appetite stimulant. Fight bacterial and fungal infections in ears.
Hoarseness (laryngitis), swollen tonsils (tonsillitis), sore mouth, and bad breath.
Germ-killer in mouthwashes and liniments.
Thyme oil in perfumes. Also used in soaps, cosmetics, and toothpastes.
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