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This highly aromatic herb is grown for its many culinary uses as well as a hardy ground cover.

ThymeSunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 90-180 days from seed
Height: 4 to 12 inches
Spacing: 6 to 12 inches apart, 12 to 18 inches between rows

Native to the western Mediterranean, home gardeners are growing thyme (Thymus) as a landscape plant as well as for cooking purposes. With many varieties available on the market, it is one of the most versatile herbs and can be used to season any meat, egg or vegetable dish.

Thyme is a perennial that grows well in containers or along walkways where it can tolerate moderate foot traffic.

Fun Fact: In earlier days, the Scottish highlanders drank thyme tea for strength and courage. It was also believed that a concoction of beer and thyme could cure shyness.

Flavorful and exotic, heirloom herbs have passed through kitchens and tea rooms for generations. And they’re easy to cultivate… try raising them indoors! Planting instructions are included with each packet and shipping is FREE!

Quick Guide

  • Perfect seasoning for eggs, soups, meat and vegetables
  • Tough perennial that overwinters well
  • Easy to grow from divisions or cuttings
  • Start seeds 6-8 weeks before last frost; prepare for a long germination
  • Harvest sparingly during the first season — use fresh or dried
  • Watch for botrytis rot, rhizoctonia, aphids and spider mites

Site Preparation

Thyme prefers full sun to light shade and a well-drained soil amended with plenty of organic compost. Thyme grows well in pots and can be planted between pavers to soften stone walkways. Used as a garden border, thyme’s delicate flowers will attract many beneficial garden insects.

Keep thyme sheltered from cold winds. The plant may not survive severe winters unless covered or heavily mulched (watch our video How to Grow an Herb Garden).

How to Plant

Thyme is easy to propagate from cuttings or plant from nursery stock. Space plants 12 inches apart. If starting thyme from seed, begin indoors, under plant lights, 6 to 8 weeks before planting out. Sow on the surface of the soil. Seeds will germinate in 10 to 20 days. Transplant after the danger of frost has passed. Apply an organic garden fertilizer and liquid seaweed several times throughout the gardening season.


Begin harvesting sprigs during the first year from cuttings; snip seedlings sparingly until the second season. For the best flavor, harvest herbs in the morning just before bloom. Strip leaves from the stem and use them fresh or dried.

To dry thyme, cut the stems just as the flowers start to open. Hang to dry in small bunches.

Insects and Disease

Thyme is susceptible to botrytis rot, rhizoctonia (root rot) and other plant diseases. Choose planting locations with good drainage and plenty of air circulation to prevent problems.

Common insect pests attacking this plant include aphids and spider mites. Watch closely and take the following common sense, least-toxic approach to pest control:

  • Remove weeds and other garden debris to eliminate alternate hosts.
  • Discard severely infested plants by securely bagging and putting in the trash.
  • Release commercially available beneficial insects to attack and destroy insect pests.
  • Spot treat pest problem areas with diatomaceous earthneem oil or other organic pesticide.

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One Response to “Thyme”

  1. James Mann on March 29th, 2013 at 3:09 am #

    Ha, beer and thyme for curing shyness. I know that beer just by itself can hide shyness for a while, not sure about the cure though. We tend to use thyme in cooking. :)

    I will have to try putting mulch on our thyme and see if we can get it to grow more than a single year.

    I am so eager to get started starting plants for summer it just seems that thyme is dragging.

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