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Thymus vulgaris

Thyme is part of the Thymus genus and its scientific name is Thymus vulgaris. The vulgaris part of this plant's botanical name means 'common'.

Evergreen, perennial groundcover with aromatic, dusty grey-green leaves and small, pale pink flowers in late summer that are attractive to bees. An excellent container plant, or border plant. Used in cooking to flavour stews, sauces, soups, cottage cheese, meat loaf, sausages, marinades, fish cakes, vinegars and oils. Also has some medicinal uses as an antiseptic. Winter hardy but best picked young.

This variety has a herb fragrance and typically grows to 0.2 cm (0.08 inches imperial) in diameter, blooming in the following colours:   Pastel purple and   Pearly purple and   Mauve taupe. The leaves of this particular variety normally show as   Ao green and   Dark spring green

Thyme grows as a perennial and is a flowering edible herb / flower. Being a perennial plant, it tends to grow best over several years (approx 3 years and greater).

Normally reaching to a mature height of 11.7 inches (30.0 cm). Expect blooming to occur in mid summer.

Try planting Thyme if you'd like to attract butterflies and bees to your garden.

Popular varieties of Thyme with home gardeners are Common, English, German Winter, French Summer and Silver.

United Kingdom is thought to be the country of origin for Thyme.

Typically, Thyme is normally fairly low maintenance and can thus be quite easy to grow - only a basic level of care is required throughout the year to ensure it thrives. Being aware of the basic growing conditions this plant likes (soil, sun and water) will result in a strong and vibrant plant.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Thyme have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Thyme

  • Full Sun

  • Partial Sun

  • Low

Plants will become woody with age and the best leaves are on new growth. Trim back the woody stems lightly to promote new growth or harvest regularly. Plants will need replacing after a few seasons (about 3 years) to maintain flavour. Pieces of the plant may die off if not regularly trimmed 2.

Thyme’s roots grow quite deep, so the prepared bed should be deeply dug, with a light dressing of compost 2.

Can be successfully propagated by layering 2.
Easily roots from soft wood cuttings in the early spring or summer

A full sun / partial sun position will ensure your plant thrives and remember to apply water fairly sparingly. As a rough idea of the types of climates Thyme does best in, check to see if your local area is within USDA Hardiness Zones 5 and 9. Thyme requires a sandy soil with a ph of 6.0 - 7.0 - it grows best in weakly acidic soil - neutral soil. Keep in mind when planting that Thyme is thought of as hardy, so this plant will survive close to or on freezing temperatures.

See our list of companion Plants for Thyme to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Thyme from seed

Germinates best at 15 to 20C, cover only with a sprinkling of fine compost. Sow seeds directly once the soil has warmed up in the late spring

Try to aim for a seed spacing of at least 11.7 inches (30.0 cm) and sow at a depth of around 0.04 inches (0.1 cm). Soil temperature should be kept higher than 21°C / 70°F to ensure good germination.

By our calculations*, you should look at sowing Thyme about 42 days before your last frost date .

Transplanting Thyme

Although winter hardy, plant our young plants after frost has passed, in a well drained and sunny position

Ensure that temperatures are mild and all chance of frost has passed before planting out, as Thyme is a hardy plant.

Harvesting Thyme

Harvest leaves throughout the summer as needed. Snip off with scissors and free the leaves by pulling the stem backwards through your finger and thumb

To preserve thyme for winter use, you can either dry or freeze it.

Air drying Thyme: To dry thyme without a dehydrating machine, simply hang upside-down in small bunches in a cool, dark place. check that they are ready by crumbling a little in your fingers – if ready put into small airtight jars to keep until use.

Freeze drying Thyme: pack ice cube trays with thyme leaves and then cover with hot water (the hot water should blanch the thyme quickly and keep the colour nice and green). Place in the freezer for at least 24 hours, then place in freezer bags and store to defrost when required. Alternatively, blend thyme leaves in a food processor with oil to a smooth paste consistency, then pour into ice cube trays. After 24 hours, remove from the trays and place into freezer bags and store frozen until required.

Seed Saving Thyme

Seed viability is three years.

How long does Thyme take to grow?

These estimates for how long Thyme takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world.

Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!

Days to Germination How long does it take Thyme to germinate?
6 days

Average 6 days | Min 1 days | Max 19 days (293)

Days to Transplant How long until I can plant out Thyme?
+ 38 days

Average 38 days | Min 3 days | Max 97 days (31)

Days to Maturity How long until Thyme is ready for harvest / bloom?
+ 85 days

Average 85 days | Min 9 days | Max 222 days (25)

Total Growing Days How long does it take to grow Thyme?
= 129 days

When should I plant Thyme?

Our when to plant Thyme estimates are relative to your last frost date.

Enter your frost dates and we'll calculate your sowing and planting dates for you!

When to sow The number of days to sow Thyme before or after your last frost date.
42 days before Last Frost Date

Thyme Etymology

The name Thymus derives from the Greek thyo, to perfume. The botanical epithet is from the Latin vulgaris meaning “common”

Thyme Folklore & Trivia

Thyme contains about 1% volatile oil including the active contituents carvacrol and thymol. It is these phenolic compounds that are responsible for its medicinal properties as an antiseptic, antitussive and expectorant. The oil is also used in the perfume industry and in aromatherapy

wear some thyme and it will be sure to bring you a sweetheart1

Other names for Thyme

French thyme, English thyme, Irish Thyme, Mountain thyme, Wild thyme, Common thyme, Garden thyme, German thyme, Winter thyme, Tymián, Summer thyme

Thymus vulgaris L., Thymus collinus, Origanum thymus

Misspellings: Tyme, Thime, Time

Latest Thyme Reviews

  • Tried to use it primarily as ground cover – starting from seeds indoors is not worth the effort. Transplanting is tedious. On the other hand, none of the direct-down seeds made it past the first true leaves – for various reasons, but quite disappointing n

    3 stars

    weedledum about growing chabrets
  • Whatever this is has stayed green all winter, but I’m not sure it’s actually what it was labeled. It has no scent or flavor.

    0 stars

    patanne about growing Thyme - German Thyme
  • 1 cm

    0 stars

    Mr_Uke about growing Thym 'Allemand' / Thyme 'German' - batch 2

See all Thyme reviews and experiences »


1 Old Wives’ Tales, Folklore, Myths and Legends

2 :Growing Herbs with Margaret Roberts; First published 1985

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