Growing Thyme

July 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

Thyme is a woody perennial which grows well in dry, sunny, yet sheltered conditions.

It’s flowers are purple, pink, lavender or white with a tubular form and very popular with bees. It’s itsy-bitsy gray-green leaves are evergreen. Around 350 different species exist.

Thyme holds its flavor in cooking and blends well with other flavors like garlic, olive oil and tomatoes.

Thyme grows low, 10 – 25 cm in height. Some species form an almost flat carpet.

Thyme is a great herb to have growing in the garden and is easy to care for.



Thyme likes well-drained light soil, of average fertility. Thyme can be propagated from seed and root division. Cutting is also possible, but not recommended. From seed it can take a year for thyme to develop into a harvestable plant. From division can take a few months.

To grow thyme from seed, sow into small pots in potting compost in March. Some species can start later. I am using a small seedling greenhouse. Cover with a very thin layer of compost and keep warm, and at night indoors. Seedlings should emerge within a week.

When the first true leaves have grown, harden the plants for up to a week, before leaving them out at night. Transplant the young plants into a well-drained soil in full sunlight.

To divide thyme, choose a healthy plant a couple of years old. Dig it up in early spring and remove as much soil from the roots as possible. Gently tear into 3 or 4 pieces. Place each new plant back in the ground and water thoroughly.


Thyme hardly needs any. Water only in very dry conditions. Mulching around the roots in autumn will protect thyme from severe frosts and gives a moderate amount of nutrients throughout the year.


Harvest sparingly in the first year. After that, thyme can be harvested throughout the year. Its leaves taste best in June and July. Remove the sprigs using scissors.


Thyme tea can be used for menstrual cramp, colic, and headache complaints. A “pouring” ~ 15 gr. in 100 cm3 water, stay for 10 minutes and add some honey, then take 1 spoon per hour ~ can alleviate (w)hooping-cough complaints.

The oil can be used as remedy for choked up lungs ~ put a few drops on some sugar.

Externally thyme can be applied as aid against rheumatic pains.

Compresses serve well with bruises and sprains.

A bigger “pouring” can be used in a bath to strengthen the nerves.

Recipes containing thyme

  • More to follow …

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