Growing Thyme, also Common thyme

Thymus vulgaris : Lamiaceae / the mint family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
      P P              

(Best months for growing Thyme in USA - Zone 5a regions)

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • P = Sow seed
  • Grow in seed trays and plant out 6-8 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 59°F and 77°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 10 - 12 inches apart
  • Harvest in 42-52 weeks. Root divisions ready in 3 months.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Dry-environment herbs (oregano,sage), Eggplant, Cabbage
  • Lemon thyme on a gravel slope

Thyme is slow to grow from seed and is best propagated from root divisions or cuttings.

Seeds need to be started in a warm frost-free place. A greenhouse is ideal. Keep under cover until about 10 cm (4 in) high, then harden off by putting outside during the day and inside at night for about a week. Transplant the young plants into their final positions, in well-drained soil in full sunlight. Harvest sparingly in the first year.

Root divisions, from 3 or 4 year old plants, can be taken in late Spring and then planted into a sunny spot.

Water sparingly once established and avoid feeding. The plants will have most flavour in Summer months.

Thyme dies down in the winter, if frosty, but a good layer of mulch round the plant will protect the roots and provide enough food to keep it growing.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Thyme

Common, lemon, orange and caraway thyme are used in cooking.
Thyme is mainly used with meat and fish but also tastes good with vegetables such as mushrooms, beans and carrots.

The flavour can be very intense so thyme is best used sparingly.

Your comments and tips

07 Jun 20, George Stephens (USA - Zone 10a climate)
We live in zone 10 a. We are in the process of replacing our west facing front lawn. We are considering thyme. In your estimation, what types of thyme would be best suited for this situation?
22 Aug 20, Barbara (USA - Zone 10a climate)
I'd like to know this, too - considering the same.
27 Aug 18, PETER /Melbourne (Australia - temperate climate)
Does thyme prefer acidic, alkaline or a neutral Ph soil?
28 Aug 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Acidic soil 5.5 to 7.
04 Feb 18, Greg Woodcock (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi... I have planted three thyme plants in a pot with a dwarf peach tree. I find that all three plants have developed dead spots around the centre of the plant. I feel that I am over watering the palnts. Any ideas, please? Greg
06 Feb 18, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Thyme likes to be fairly dry, so you are probably right about overwatering. Save a few cuttings and try again
06 Oct 17, Vivienne (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hi I have never had any luck with thyme as it always dies on me. Any suggestions welcome.
10 Oct 17, Darren (Australia - temperate climate)
You haven't said how you are growing it; if in full sun, try part shade, or vice versa. Plenty of mulch, and water regularly. I live in a warm temperate climate, and the thyme has taken off, fighting for room with the sage.
22 May 16, Catherine Doris (Australia - tropical climate)
Can thyme be grown as a ground cover in the tropics?
11 Apr 16, Bob Dobbs (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
The direct 'burning heat' of the sun is your problem. Give your plants a cover, at head height or a little more (so that you can comfortably work under the shade) with WHITE 50 % shade cloth. It will cost a little bit (not too much) to build or string up a frame and to use the shade cloth as a cover, but you will not regret it. This makes a world of difference. All the best, Bob.
Showing 1 - 10 of 28 comments

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