There are more than 400 species of thyme, but cooking thyme is most often grown in a kitchen garden. Although not reliably hardy over the winter, it may be grown as an annual. Cooking thyme may be started from seed or by dividing another cooking thyme plant. This standard kitchen herb has attractive, green foliage and edible, lavender flowers. Harvest cooking thyme by cutting two to three inches of stem tips. Use the herb fresh or dry.
The intensity of lemon thyme’s fragrance can vary between individual plants, but the scent is lemony and spicy. This thyme is used in rock gardens or borders as well as the herb garden. It is considered non-aggressive and may be started from stem cuttings or by dividing another plant.
Creeping thyme is perfect for rock walkways and for use around stepping stones. It may be used as a turf substitute in some landscapes where foot traffic is light. Creeping thyme is also known as mother-of-thyme and will form a dense, low, evergreen mat. This plant blooms profusely in early summer but does not compete well with other plants.
Thyme will perform best in soil that drains well. It will tolerate dry conditions in full sun to partial shade. Mulch thyme in the winter after the first of the year to prevent frost heaving and winter damage. Water it once a month during dry periods in the winter.
For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s).
- Fall and Winter Watering
- Mulches for Home Grounds
- Vegetable garden: Soil Management and Fertilization
- Xeriscaping: Ground Cover Plants
- Ground Cover Plants
- Rock garden Plants