Thyme isn't just an herb to grow for adding flavor to food, it can also add plenty of color and texture to your garden. This tough and rugged perennial often forms dense mats of foliage that are topped with attractive blossoms. There are also some wonderful low-growing varieties that can be planted between rocks and paths, where they'll release their delightful fragrance when brushed past. Some varieties can even be used as a lawn substitute. Many cooks plant thyme near the kitchen so they can easily snip a stem or two when cooking, and you can even grow them indoors in a sunny window to enjoy the flavor year-round.
Blossoms of the thyme plant come in several colors such as white, pink, and even red. Though tiny, the flowers are much loved by honeybees and other beneficial insects, so plant thyme near fruit and vegetable plants to bring these pollinators to the party. The foliage is typically green, but can also come in shades of gold, silver, and gray. There are also some mostly ornamental varieties that are grown for their fuzzy foliage.
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Thyme Care Must-Knows
This tough Mediterranean herb is native to areas with rocky, poor soil and needs extremely well-drained soil to thrive because it is prone to rot in soil that is too moist. Once established, thyme is a drought-tolerant plant and will not require much supplemental watering. Because thyme prefers dry conditions, it makes a superb choice for a rock or container garden.
In order to grow the most flavorful thyme, give it full sun. As your thyme grows, some rejuvenating pruning will be needed as the plant becomes woody with age. This pruning can be done after it blooms: Cut it back by about 1/3 to encourage a new flush of fresh growth.
The best time to harvest thyme is in the morning, just after the dew has dried. When using thyme in dishes, it is best to use only the leaves because the stems are generally too woody and tough.
If you are planning on drying thyme for use in winter months, it is best to cut and hang the stems upside down in small bunches. Let thyme dry fully in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area. Then store it in an airtight container in a dark, cool place.