Who doesn’t like a beautiful, green garden? We all like it. The thing is, gardening tends to take a lot of time and not all of us have the time for it. Fortunately, there are plenty of plants suitable for simple gardening. One of them is thyme. Below, we will show you how to grow thyme.
What Is Thyme?
Let’s get to know about thyme first. Thymus vulgaris, more popularly known as thyme, is a low-growing, highly aromatic herb that originated from the Mediterranean. Thyme has many uses, from adding flavor to cooking, antiseptic, preservative to perfume. What makes thyme such a great plant is that it doesn’t demand much, especially once it is established.
Thyme grows best when placed in full sun with well-drained soil with a pH of 7. The growing habits of this creeping herb are different from one variety to another. That said, all of them are best if they are left alone to grow. The more you interfere with thyme, the less hardy the plant will be.
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Most Commonly Planted Varieties
There are over 100 thyme varieties. Each has its unique characteristics. If this is your first time planting thyme, you might get confused about which one you should grow in your house. There is no need to worry. We will give you a starting point. Here are 4 of the most common thyme varieties.
This variety of thyme is often used as a ground cover as it grows so low, no more than 2 to 3 inches tall. It grows white, lavender, magenta or pink colors.
Another low growing variety. It has the scent of caraway and grows pale pink flowers.
Although it is thyme, it doesn’t have any scent. It grows in a cascade, making it perfect as an ornament.
True to its name, this thyme has a lemon scent. It grows variegated leaves with minty quality.
How to Grow Thyme
Moving on next, growing thyme. Thyme is very easy to grow. Once it is established, the more you leave it alone, the better. There are three ways you can grow thyme: from seed, from cutting, and by layering. Alternatively, you can also purchase young thyme plants as they are widely available.
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Growing Thyme From seed
Between the three, growing thyme from seed is the most difficult and time-consuming. The reason is that thyme is a slow-growing plant. However, once it has grown, you can propagate your thyme and multiply it as many as you want. Another thing to keep in mind is that thyme cross-pollinates, meaning it is likely to grow different from seed.
You can choose either to plant thyme in a pot or a planting bed. Either way is fine. Just be sure to place your thyme where it is sunny as the plant loves sun and heat and protect it from cold. If you plant it indoors, place it nearby a sunny window.
Here’s how to grow thyme from seed:
Prepare a container in which you will plant thyme. Put soil in container
- Scatter the seeds over the soil. Do this gently
- Water the soil thoroughly. Once you have done, cover the container with plastic wrap
- Move the container to a warm spot
- In 1 to 12 weeks, the seeds should germinate
- Once the seedlings reach 4 inches tall, you can plant them wherever you want
Growing Thyme From cutting
Out of the three, growing thyme from cutting is the easiest. It takes slightly longer than by layering but doable with young plants. The following is how to grow thyme from cutting:
- Cut a tip of a stem, about 3 inches in length and clip it
- Prepare the exposed part of the stem and apply rooting hormone on it
- Then, plant the stem either in vermiculite or sterile sand
- In approximately 6 weeks, roots should emerge
- Once the roots have emerged, take the plant and transfer it in a pot, preferably a small one
- Allow the root ball to form
- Once it does, transfer the plant directly to the garden or a large pot
Growing thyme by layering is the least time-consuming. The only downside is that it requires an already established thyme to do as it requires a long stem to start from. Here’s how to grow thyme by layering:
- First, find a long stem from the plant
- Prepare a U-shaped stake or wire and secure the stem along with soil with it. Leave about 4 inches or 10 cm of the tip free
- Check the pinned portion. If it doesn’t touch the soil directly, make sure it does
- Roots should form along the secured stem in about a month
- Cut the rooted part from the main plant and transfer wherever you want
What you should remember when growing thyme is that this plant grows best if exposed to full sun and planted on well-drained soil. Also, since it is a creeping plant, you need to find the right spot so it can grow. Once thyme is established, leave it alone as much as possible.
As for the spacing, make sure you prepare plenty of space for thyme. Each plant should be apart about 12 to 24 inches, depending on its variety. Some varieties need more space than others. All varieties, however, are a vigorous grower. If you plant thyme in the garden, you can grow it together with other plants like cabbages, tomatoes, or strawberries.
After thyme has finished flowering, trim it. Trimming it after flowering will promote new growth, resulting in more leaves that you can harvest. Tidying up the plant is also important as it will become woody over time and need to be replaced after 3 years. As for watering, water only when the soil is completely dry.
So, how do you harvest thyme? Harvesting is easy. The fresh leaves of thyme can be picked all-year-round. That being said, the best time to harvest thyme is when it is at its most productive period: before it flowers. Harvesting in early summer is a good idea as well.
Now you know how to grow thyme. The easiest way to grow thyme is from cutting. That said, growing it from seed or by layering is not a bad option, either. If you love to make your house greener yet don’t have much time for a full-fledged garden, growing thyme is surely a good idea.
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