Thyme

Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Thyme

thyme-planting-growing

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.

Planting

  • 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.

Care

  • 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.

Pests/Diseases

Harvest/Storage

  • 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.

Recipes

Botanical Name: 

Thymus vulgaris

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