Growing Thyme

Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Thyme


Thyme is a small perennial shrub with lots of branches and light purple to pink flowers. Here’s how to grow thyme in your own garden.

Thyme is aromatic and has a pleasant, pungent, clover flavor. There are over fifty varieties used in cooking and gardening. English thyme is used most often in cooking.


  • It’s hard to grow thyme from seeds because of slow, uneven germination. It’s easier to buy the plants or take some cuttings from a friend.
  • For a head start, plant the seeds/cuttings indoors 6 to 10 weeks before the last spring frost. (See your local frost dates.)
  • Plant the seeds/cuttings 2 to 3 weeks before the last spring frost in well-drained soil about 9 inches apart. For best growth, the soil should be about 70ºF.
  • The plants should grow 6 to 12 inches in height.
  • In the garden, plant thyme near cabbage or tomatoes.


  • Water normally and remember to trim the plants when they get leggy.
  • Prune the plants back in the spring and summer to contain the growth. You can take some cuttings and plant them indoors in pots, too.
  • If you have cold winters, remember to lightly mulch around the plants after the ground freezes.



  • Throughout the summer, leaves and sprigs can be harvested at any time.
  • To dry the sprigs, hang them in a dark, well-ventilated, warm area. You can also just dry the leaves by placing them on a tray. Once dried, store them in an airtight container.
  • Freezing is another method of storage.

Recommended Varieties

Wit & Wisdom

Burning thyme can help get rid of insects in your house.

Learn more about herb folklore.


Growing Thyme

Botanical Name Thymus vulgaris
Plant Type Herb
Sun Exposure Full Sun, Part Sun
Soil Type Loamy, Sandy
Soil pH
Bloom Time
Flower Color
Hardiness Zones 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Special Features