Is it time to grow thyme? Lame joke, we know, but when it comes to thyme, did you know there are numerous different thyme varieties each with its own distinct flavor and growing guide? There are actually over 300 thyme varieties and they all belong to the mint family. So how do you know which thyme is best to grow in your garden? Read our thyme guide below to find out!
Because there are so many varieties of thyme, there’s really no shortage of different flavors and fragrances, but what’s really great is that there is a thyme variety for every climate! So whether you live in a tropical climate, or a cold climate, there’s a thyme for everything!
Most thyme varieties are hardy in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 9, and they don’t like hot, humid summer or overly wet conditions. Most varieties also prefer full sun and very well drained soil. But not to worry, if those conditions don’t pertain to your area, there’s sure to be a thyme that’s specific for your zone!
All varieties of thyme are easily propagated vita cuttings, division and seed.
Common Thyme: yellow and variegated foliage. Perfect for cooking.
Lemon Thyme: golden and silver foliage. Perfect for cooking.
Woolly Thyme: grey in color. Great for rock gardens and ground cover.
Creeping Thyme: colorful flowers that grow only 2 inches in height, also called mother-of-thymes. There are also “pink” creeping thyme varieties which produce beautiful pale pink flowers.
Wild Thyme: also provides colorful flowers.
Elfin Thyme: creeping variety with fragrant leaves. Perfect for rock gardens and ground cover.
All of the above thyme varieties are great to grow either in containers or directly outdoors. Most of them have beautiful light green leaves and dark green leaves. Another reason to grow thyme is that they attract bees and butterflies. Learn more about plants that attract butterflies in this article!
And of course, there are hundreds of other varieties of thyme, but the ones above are the most popular. Check your local nursery for which thyme you should grow in your own climate!
How to Grow Thyme:
- Most gardeners will not grow thyme from seeds as the germination can be slow and uneven.
- It’s best to purchase the plant or use some cuttings from another thyme plant.
- Plant the cuttings or seeds indoors 6-10 weeks before the last spring frost to get a head start.
- Be sure to choose a pot with good drainage.
- 2-3 weeks before the last spring frost, plant the seeds/cuttings in well drained soil about 9 inches apart.
- Thyme plants should grow about 6-12 inches in height.
- You can plant thyme alongside tomatoes and cabbage.
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