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Introduce scenery from the Greek Isles to your garden with lush plantings of thyme. This sun-loving, drought-tolerant herb carpets hillsides in Greece, thriving in well-drained soil. Drought conditions concentrate the aromatic oils in thyme, so the drier your growing conditions, the better. In your garden, tucking plants into raised beds or mulching them with gravel will give thyme the conditions that cause it to thrive and be flavorful.
The flowers beckon honeybees, so add thyme near vegetable gardens to assure an ample supply of pollinators. Shear plants back after bloom, cutting off about a third of stems. With dainty proportions, thyme suits containers or the tight growing quarters between stepping stones.
Thyme introduces a savory flavor to dishes, such as roasted vegetables, soups, and sauces. It is also a key ingredient in bouquet garni, fines herbes, and herbes de Provence. Use thyme to enhance poultry, beef, pork, or seafood. This herb also adds a kick to cheese and egg creations. Thyme's oils take time to be infused into dishes; add thyme early in the cooking process to release the greatest flavor.
how to grow Thyme
Gather fresh thyme leaves as needed throughout the growing season. To dry thyme, cut stems after plants have flowered, waiting until new growth produces stems 3-4 inches long. Snip stems early in the day, after dew has dried, gathering stems into small bundles. Hang stems upside down in a dark, well-ventilated place. Check leaves for dryness; fully dry leaves crumble when pressed between fingers. Strip dried leaves from stems, and store in airtight jars.
garden plans for thyme
more varieties for Thyme
Thymus praecox 'Bressingham' is a low-growing creeping thyme that resembles wooly thyme with greener foliage. It grows 2-3 inches tall and 8-12 inches wide. It requires full sun and excellent drainage to perform well in the garden. In late spring, it is covered with hot pink blooms that age to soft pink. Zones 4-9
Thymus 'Elfin' forms a tight mat of fine foliage that tolerates occasional foot traffic, making it a perfect solution for planting between flagstones. It grows just 1-2 inches tall and gradually spreads to 8-12 inches wide. Lilac-purple flowers are produced in early summer. Zones 4-9
Thymus vulgaris is the classic culinary thyme and it sounds a savory note in dishes. Zone 5-9
Gold lemon thyme
Thymus x citriodorus 'Aureus' serves up a bold citrus flavor in its gilt-edged leaves. Use these lemony leaves to recipes calling for lemon juice, lemon zest, or lemon flavoring. Zones 4-8
Thymus x citriodorus produces rich, dark green leaves that have an intoxicating lemon fragrance. Like its variegated cousin, lemon thyme looks as good in the herb garden as it does in the ornamental border. A good container plant, lemon thyme can grow 15 inches tall and wide. Zones 5-9
Red creeping thyme
Thymus serpyllum carpets the ground with red blossoms in spring. This ground cover is a natural addition to an alpine or rock garden, or tucked between stepping stones along a garden path. Zones 4-9
Thymus argenteus offers white-edged leaves, creating a lacy appearance. Use silver thyme interchangeably with thyme in recipes. Zones 4-10
'Spicy Orange' thyme
Thymus 'Spicy Orange' is a low-growing selection that's tough enough to withstand foot traffic. The needlelike foliage is aromatic with a light orange scent and flavor. It has pink flowers in summer and grows 12 inches tall and wide. Zones 5-9
Variegated lemon thyme
Thymus x citriodorus 'Variegata' is a beautiful edible ornamental. The lemon-scented foliage is versatile in the kitchen and the plant itself makes a striking ground cover for sunny spots. When mature, the plants can grow 16 inches tall and wide. Zones 5-9
Thymus pseudolanuginosus is a fast-spreading groundcover that thyme quickly blankets an area with fuzzy leaves that stand up to moderate foot traffic. Choose this thyme for a footpath, lawn replacement, or textural standout in a rock garden. Zones 4-8