Introduce scenery from the Greek Isles to your garden with lush plantings of thyme. This sun-loving, drought-tolerant herb carpets hillsides in Greece, thriving in well-drained soil. Drought conditions concentrate the aromatic oils in thyme, so the drier your growing conditions, the better. In your garden, tucking plants into raised beds or mulching them with gravel will give thyme the conditions that cause it to thrive and be flavorful.
The flowers beckon honeybees, so add thyme near vegetable gardens to assure an ample supply of pollinators. Shear plants back after bloom, cutting off about a third of stems. With dainty proportions, thyme suits containers or the tight growing quarters between stepping stones.
Thyme introduces a savory flavor to dishes, such as roasted vegetables, soups, and sauces. It is also a key ingredient in bouquet garni, fines herbes, and herbes de Provence. Use thyme to enhance poultry, beef, pork, or seafood. This herb also adds a kick to cheese and egg creations. Thyme’s oils take time to be infused into dishes; add thyme early in the cooking process to release the greatest flavor.
Type: Herb, Perennial
Heigth: Under 6 inches
Width: 18 inches wide
Flower color: Blue, Pink
Seasonal features: Spring bloom
Problem solvers: Deer resistant, Drought tolerant, Groundcover, Slope/Erosion control
Special features: Attracts birds, Fragrance, Good for containers
Planting Thyme from Divisions
Normally, a thyme plant is grown from a division. Thyme is easy to divide. In the spring or fall, find a mature thyme plant. Use a spade to gently lift the clump of thyme up from the ground. Tear or cut a smaller clump of thyme from the main plant, making sure there is a root ball intact on the division. Replant the mother plant and plant the division where you would like to grow the thyme herb.
The flavor of the thyme plant benefits from active neglect. Growing thyme in poor soil with little water will actually cause the thyme to grow better. For this reason, thyme herb is an excellent choice for xeriscaping or low water landscapes.
Tips for Growing Thyme
In the late fall, if you live in an area that freezes, you will want to mulch the thyme plant. Be sure to remove the mulch in the spring.
Harvesting Thyme Herb
Harvesting thyme is easy. Simply snip off what you need for your recipe. Once a thyme plant is established (planted a year), it is very hard to over-harvest the plant. If you have just planted your thyme, cut back no more than one-third of the plant.