Thyme is a perennial herb that belongs to the Mediterranean region. This herb grows well in sunny and slightly warm climates.
It is commonly used to hold taste in the cooking and give flavor when mixed with garlic, tomatoes, and olive oil.
The herbs produce bright purple, Lavender, or white tubular flowers that bloom during summer and spring, loved by pollinators like butterflies and bees.
It also produces tiny green evergreen foliage. Most of the thyme varieties can be harvested all year long in the zones where it grows perennial.
According to “medicalnewstodays”, thyme leaves, flowers and oils have been used for the treatment of several diseases including stomach ache, arthritis, and diarrhea.
The good thing about thyme, it can be planted any time in the year and within a few months, it gets mature enough to harvest. The plant gives harvest every year in the zones where it grows hardy.
If you also want to grow thyme plants, to add flavor to your dishes, then this is the right place.
Here is everything you need to know about thyme- how to grow, care, harvest, and dry.
So, keep reading:
How to Grow Thyme
Thyme plants grow hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9. Different varieties of thyme grow in different shapes- some varieties grow flower stalks, a few form mat and others will cascade.
The hardy perennial is also used as a ground cover plant; it covers cracks between rocks and pavers. You can even buy seeds in bulk and grow a lawn cover. This is a plant that you can walk on.
The best part, is thyme does not need much care. Mostly do well when left alone, the more you fuss, the less durable it becomes.
Plant in the sunny, full sun area. It handles dry and warm conditions better than cold, damp soil.
How to propagate thyme
The best method to propagate thyme is from stem cutting or division. Growing from seeds is not recommended as it takes lots of time and may not grow.
To propagate thyme,
- Take at least 5-6 inches long stem cutting from a mature thyme plant. The cutting must not be too woody and have 2-3 leaves.
- Cut the stem with the help of gardening shears. Avoid breaking or snatching stems from the plant. This will damage the plant’s tissues, leaving permanent damage on the plant. Damaged stem cuttings do not grow.
- Plant the stem cutting in the pot. Use a medium-sized pot that has adequate drainage holes.
- They do not like soggy or too moist soil, drainage holes will flow out extra water and give the plant the right condition to thrive.
- For better drainage use soil, mixed with sand and perlite. It will create micro gaps within the soil which makes water flow better.
- Fill the pot with the soil and plant stem cutting at the center of the pot. Do not plant more than one stem cutting in a pot. This will increase the crowd which leads to improper growth.
- Place the pot in a bright place where it gets indirect sunlight. Avoid planting in full sun or shady areas as it does not have roots to survive.
- Thyme plants do not seek more water. Water only to keep the soil moist (once in 2 days).
- The stem cutting will begin rooting within two to three weeks.
- The thyme is a fast-growing plant, it gets established in a month and will start producing leaves.
Thyme herb does mostly well in full sun because it is native to the Mediterranean region. Plant them where they get direct full sunlight. You can plant them outdoors as decorative plants where they chase sunlight or as ground plants.
If you are planning to grow indoors, place the pot on the windowsill or where it gets constant sunlight. Placing the pot in the low light area will not result in healthy growth.
Thyme is known to grow in the hardest condition. The more poor or dry soil, the better the thyme plant will grow. It prefers loamy and sandy soil, even thriving in rocky graves.
They are fast growers, which can mature within a few months. Due to its toughness, some of its varieties are used as ground cover plants.
Thyme spread a lot, so plant them at least 1 foot apart while planting. If you plant them two close chances are they will grow improperly. When planting indoors in a pot use a large vessel to let thyme spread its roots deeper in the soil.
Planting thyme in clay soil also helps in its growth, as it absorbs moisture from the pot and creates the right environment to develop.
Water concerning the outer climate. If you live in a hot region you need to water them more frequently. In the cold climate, thyme plants can survive without water for months.
The best practice is to water, once their base soil looks dry. Water to keep the soil moist and wait till it dries again.
Watering once a week or occasionally in a month is fine. Do not take stress if you forget to water them for a few days, it is drought tolerant and will survive without water for many days or even weeks.
Temperature and Humidity
Thyme herb does not have any specific month to thrive, it can grow any season in the year except during frost. In the frost, it goes dormant and barely shows any growth.
Thyme can be planted during any season, however the maximum growth it does throughout the summer season. It can become mature in two to three months.
So it’s better to plant it in the early spring. This gives thyme plants a good time to get mature and will produce flower stalks during the summer months.
Thyme is an evergreen plant that comes every year. With each year its growing capacity slightly decreases. So to have a quality plant treat it with a diluted all-purpose fertilizer.
However, do not feed too much fertilizer. Feeding excessive fertilizer will lead to excessive foliage growth and can dilute its fragrant oil. Read the instructions on the fertilizer before applying.
Once the thyme gets mature it can be planted at any time. Its leaves retain flavor even after it flowers. Snip off a few leaves from the plant whenever you inspire to use them in cooking.
Common Pests and Diseases
However, it is susceptible to root rot when planted in too much moisture. Avoid overwatering, and planting in the soil which is denser or too rich. Thyme herbs prefer dry, loamy soil with constant sunlight.
Common Thyme varieties
Caraway thyme (Thymus herbra-barona)
This is a low-growing thyme variety, producing pale pink flowers with the scent of caraway (that is so named).
Creeping thyme (Thymus praecox)
As it is named this thyme variety grows as a low mat- 2 -3 inches long in tall with pink, lavender, and white flowers. Creeping thyme is usually used as a ground cover.
Golden lemon thyme (Thymus x citiodorus ‘Aureus’)
This variety has breast golden, variegated leaves that scent like true lemon in addition to thyme minty flavor.
Woodly thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus)
Woodly thyme does not have any scent, so it is not used for cooking. The variety is grown in the rock garden and is mostly used to fill the patch or cracks in the garden.