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Thyme: Planting, Growing, Harvesting ~ Varieties

Thyme in Flower s

Thyme /ˈtm/ is any of several species of culinary and medicinal herbs of the genus Thymus, most commonly Thymus vulgaris.

Important species and cultivars

For a longer list of species, see Thymus (genus).

  • Thymus citriodorus — various lemon thymes, orange thymes, lime thyme.
  • Thymus herba-barona (caraway thyme) is used both as a culinary herb and a ground cover, and has a very strong caraway scent due to the chemical carvone.
  • Thymus praecox (mother of thyme, wild thyme), cultivated as an ornamental
  • Thymus pseudolanuginosus (woolly thyme) is not a culinary herb, but is grown as a ground cover.
  • Thymus serpyllum (wild thyme, creeping thyme) is an important nectar source plant for honeybees. All thyme species are nectar sources, but wild thyme covers large areas of droughty, rocky soils in southern Europe (Greece is especially famous for wild thyme honey) and North Africa, as well as in similar landscapes in the Berkshire and Catskill Mountains of the northeastern US. The lowest-growing of the widely used thyme, it is good for walkways.
  • Thymus vulgaris (common thyme, English thyme, summer thyme, winter thyme, French thyme,[12] or garden thyme)[13] is a commonly used culinary herb. It also has medicinal uses. Common thyme is a Mediterranean perennial which is best suited to well-drained soils and full sun.



Botanical name: Thymus vulgaris

Plant type: Herb

USDA Hardiness Zones: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Sun exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun

Soil type: Sandy, Loamy

Thyme is a small perennial shrub with lots of branches and light purple to pink flowers. It’s 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.
  • 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.


  • Water normally and remember to trim the plants.
  • 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

  • Lemon thyme, for a hint of lemon
  • Caraway thyme, for a nice fragrance of caraway and thyme


Wit & Wisdom

Burning thyme gets rid of insects in your house.


See Also …

How to Care for a Thyme Plant

Thyme: A Growing Guide

Thyme Plant Care Guide



11 responses

  1. Got me a pack of seeds for RED COLOR THYME …Will start it in a pot before spring starts, than transplant on the lawn as well….May take years to get well spread, but I want to have an unique, and be the only one to have an red lawn in the street …LOL 😀

    June 22, 2013 at 10:59 am

    • ok that’s sweet, want to see pics when it starts growing please. have seeds started outdoors of regular thyme and just bought a little peat moss pot of lemon thyme 🙂 putting lemon thyme in west garden. i took out 90 gals so far of sod that was worthless cat poop sod on west side. omg, nightmare

      June 22, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      • Cat poop ?? 😀

        June 22, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      • from hell, it looks like some idiot used to dump their cat litter box out there moons ago and it turned into poop patch for all the cats feral and pets, yay

        June 22, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    • having heck of time getting lavender to grow, it’s still tiny and started it in april indoors. it never seems to come back either, thinking about adding rocks to soil.

      June 22, 2013 at 12:40 pm

      • Give Lavender some more sun, it will come good.

        June 22, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      • kk, it’s in west garden to deter cats so should get plenty of sun now 🙂

        June 22, 2013 at 1:19 pm

  2. Pingback: Thyme | Find Me A Cure

  3. Pingback: Making the Most of Your Thyme: The Herb’s Amazing Health Benefits and How to Grow | Auntie Dogma's Garden Spot

  4. Pingback: Lemon Thyme | Find Me A Cure

  5. Pingback: Wild thyme | Find Me A Cure

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