A Guide To Growing and Caring For A Thyme Plant

  • By: Succulents Plants
  • Date: December 13, 2022
  • Time to read: 8 min.
Thyme Plants
Photo by courtesy of Andrea Ferro

If you’re looking for a fragrant and easy-to-grow herb to add to your garden, then a thyme plant is perfect. Not only is it great for adding flavor to your cooking, but it’s also beautiful and easy to care for. This guide will provide all you need to know about growing and caring for thyme plants and advice on choosing a suitable variety for your garden. So, let’s get started!

Varieties of Thyme

The most common type is thyme (Thymus vulgaris), an evergreen shrub. It grows to about 30 cm in height and produces small scented white, pink, and purple flowers. It is an ideal choice for a beginner’s herb garden as it is easy to grow and maintain.

Then there is lemon thyme (Thymus citriodorus). This variety produces small, lemon-scented leaves that are perfect for adding a citrusy flavor to your dishes.

For gardeners looking for a more ornamental option, there’s creeping thyme or woolly thyme. Both species have attractive foliage and can be used as a ground cover in your garden.

Wild thyme (Thymus polytrichus) is native to many parts of the world. This variety is perfect for rock gardens as it grows best in well-drained, dry soil.

With so many varieties, one is bound to be perfect for your garden. So keep these points in mind while selecting the variety of thyme that’s right for you.

English Thyme

English thyme is an aromatic and beautiful member of the mint family. It is a wonderfully fragrant and attractive addition to any garden or home and is surprisingly easy to grow and care for.

German Thyme

German thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is a species of thyme plant native to southern and central Europe. This popular herb is used in many culinary dishes and has been prized for its medicinal benefits for centuries. Growing and caring for a German thyme plant is relatively easy, and the plant will thrive in sunny and well-drained soil.

Greek Thyme

For gardeners who want to add a bit of Mediterranean flair to their garden, Greek thyme is one of the best plants for the job. This perennial herb is native to the Mediterranean. It is an excellent addition to any garden, as it is easy to care for and adds distinctive flavor and aroma to any dish.

Preparing Soil and Planting

Choose a well-draining, sandy soil and add a generous amount of organic matter, such as compost or worm castings. This will help the soil retain moisture and provide nutrients to your thyme plant. You can also mix sand and gravel to create looser soil for better water drainage.

Once your soil is ready, it’s time to plant your thyme! You can purchase thyme plants from a local garden center or start from scratch by planting thyme seeds directly into the soil. Planting thyme seeds is an excellent option if you’re looking for a more cost-effective option, as sources are much cheaper than pre-established plants. When planting thyme seeds, plant them approximately one inch deep into the soil and water them regularly to ensure they get enough moisture and nutrients.

You can also purchase pre-established thyme plants from garden centers or nurseries. When purchasing a thyme plant, look for an established plant with healthy, green foliage. Make sure to properly prepare the soil before planting your thyme, as this will ensure that your plant can take root and start to grow. Once you’ve chosen and planted your thyme plants, properly water and care for them over the following weeks and months. With the proper care, your thyme plant will soon be ready for harvesting, and you’ll enjoy the fresh flavors of homegrown thyme!

Choosing a Location

Thyme plants need full sun and well-drained soil to thrive. It’s best to plant thyme in a spot that receives at least six hours of sunlight each day; otherwise, the plant may become leggy and weak. Thyme plants also adapt well to various soil types, and adding compost or aged manure can help improve soil drainage. When planting in a container, make sure to choose a potting mix that’s specially formulated for growing herbs.

Thyme also does well in raised garden beds or containers, making it an excellent choice for those with smaller spaces or less ideal soil conditions. To maximize the growth potential of your thyme plants, take the time to find the perfect spot and create the best soil environment possible. The rewards of your hard work will be plenty; your thyme plant will thrive for years.

Soil Preparation

Preparing the soil for your thyme plant is one of the most critical steps in growing it successfully. For best results, you’ll want to use well-draining loamy soil with a pH of 6.5-7.5 – thyme doesn’t do well in soil that is either too acidic or too alkaline. You’ll also want to ensure that your soil has adequate nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Adding compost or manure to the soil before you plant will help to ensure it’s nutrient-rich.

When ready to plant, ensure the soil is moist (but not soaking) and free of stones, weeds, or other debris. Choose a spot that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight daily, and dig a shallow hole that’s only a few inches deep. Place the thyme plant in the hole, covering it with the soil you removed. Be sure to firmly press the soil down around the plant to keep it steady and in place.

To help the thyme plant retain moisture, you can add a mulch layer on top of the soil. This will also help to keep weeds and pests away. Water, the plant until the soil is entirely damp, but be careful not to overwater your thyme plant. If you’re using a potting mix, you may need to water your thyme plant daily during especially hot and dry periods. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your thyme plant will thrive in its new home!

Watering and Feeding

The key to successful watering is to ensure that the soil is evenly moist — not too dry or too wet — and to water at the base of the plant to prevent the spread of any diseases. You can water your thyme plant every 2-3 days, but make sure not to overwater it.

You should use a balanced fertilizer specifically formulated explicitly feeding. Feed your thyme plant once a month during the growing season, and make sure to use half the recommended dosage.

Compost can also help your thyme plant thrive. Add a couple of inches of compost every few months to provide additional nutrients to your plant. You can also add some mulch or hay to help the soil retain moisture and reduce the risk of weeds.

Pruning and Trimming

The best time to prune and trim a thyme plant is in the spring, right after the last frost. Pruning should be done lightly, taking no more than one-third of the total foliage. This will help to keep the plant healthy and full.

When trimming the thyme plant, it’s essential not to take too much off at once, as this can cause severe damage to the plant. It’s best to start by removing a few small thyme sprigs outside the plant rather than tearing anything off or cutting large chunks of foliage.

You should also be careful to make sure that the foliage remains in an upright position. This will ensure the plant looks attractive and can easily absorb nutrients from the soil.

Finally, you should also trim away any dead or decaying leaves or stems that appear on the thyme plant. This will help to keep the plant healthy and disease-free.

Overall, a little pruning and trimming can go a long way toward keeping your thyme plant healthy and looking its best. It’s important to be gentle, take off only small amounts of foliage at once, and ensure that the plant remains upright for maximum nutrient absorption. 

Harvesting Thyme

Trick the top stems about an inch or two above the growth. It’s essential to avoid trimming too much as this could damage the plant. If you’re harvesting a large amount of thyme, cut off only a few stems at a time so the plant can continue to grow. Once the branches have been cut, strip off the leaves and store them in an airtight container.

When harvesting your thyme, cut individual stems and not entire branches. This is because thyme has the highest concentration of essential oils near the top of the stalk, so snipping stems near the top increases the herb’s flavor.

Thyme can also be harvested in the late summer in preparation for winter. The best way to do this is to cut the whole plant back to just a few inches above the soil line and hang it upside down to dry. Once completely dry, store the thyme in an airtight glass jar in a cool, dark place.

Problems with Thyme Plants

One of the most common problems with thyme plants is dehydration. Thyme plants need adequate hydration to grow healthy and strong, so it’s essential to check on them regularly and give them the water they need. If the soil is dry and the leaves start to droop, get a spray bottle and give the plant a spritz or gently water it into the soil.

Another common problem for thyme plants is too much sun exposure. Thyme loves lots of sunshine but can be damaged from too much of it. If the plant leaves start to yellow or curl, it might be a sign that it’s getting too much sun. Move the pot to a shadier spot and keep an eye on it to ensure it’s not getting too much heat.

Pests can also be a problem for thyme plants, so it’s essential to regularly check the leaves, stems, and soil for any signs of infestation. If you find pests on your thyme, try to identify the bug and look up how to handle it. Sometimes, you may decide to apply a natural pest-control method, such as a neem oil spray, or you may need to get a professional to take care of it.

The disease can be another issue with thyme plants. While rare, thyme plants are susceptible to fungal and viral infections that can cause discoloration, wilting, and even stunted growth. If you notice a problem, remove and dispose of the affected parts of the plant, and clean the tools you use to avoid spreading the infection. If the problem persists, contact a professional for advice.



Thyme is an excellent addition to any garden. With its fragrant scent and various health benefits, it is no wonder why many people are growing it in their gardens. From soil preparation and planting to watering, feeding, pruning, trimming, and harvesting, there are many different parts of the process that you need to consider. With these tips in mind, you can easily take care of your thyme plants and have a successful harvest. So what are you waiting for? Grow thyme today and enjoy its many rewards!


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