How to Grow and Care for Thyme
Thyme is an aromatic herb that is popular in the culinary world and will excite your taste buds with its amazing flavors. Thyme was a favorite in my home as a child, my father loved cooking with this herb and to this day I have carried on this tradition by using thyme in many of my species.
This perennial evergreen herb is in the mint family Lamiaceae and is native to Eurasia being cultivated throughout the world. In ancient times thyme was associated with strength, courage, and bravery. The Greeks and Romans would burn bundles of thyme to purify their homes.
As a sign of respect, the Romans would exchange sprigs of time, for more on how you can include thyme in your home garden to flavor your rice, stews, baked and stem foods continue reading.
Thyme Planting location
When growing thyme locate an area that loves the full sun because thyme thrives in the heat.
Thyme soil requirements and planting depth
A soil that’s loamy, sandy, and well-drained is ideal, with a soil pH that’s Acidic to alkaline. Sow the seeds ¼ inch deep. Once the seedlings reach 2 to 3 inches tall thin 12 inches apart. The rows should be given a space of 16 to 24 inches apart.
Thyme water requirements
Thyme is a drought-tolerant herb so allowing the soil to dry out completely and then soaking will help your time to thrive.
Thyme fertilizer requirements
Each Spring with an all-purpose diluted fertilizer, fertilize your thyme. This half-strength fertilizer will prevent your time from growing too much foliage causing the fragrant oils to be diluted
Growing thyme in a pot
When growing thyme in a pot the pot should be clay because a clay pot will allow the soil to dry out between watering. Thyme is drought-tolerant, other container types can be used but clay is better.
The container should have drain holes for water drainage, a good mixture of sand peat moss, perlite, and potting soil will provide the proper drainage. Once you have installed your thyme place the pot in an area that gets the full sun. For watering and fertilizing follow as stated earlier.
Growing thyme indoors
When growing thyme indoors follow installation procedures as stated above, once planted bring your thyme indoors and place the pot near a south or western facing window for the plant to receive 6 hours of indirect sunlight.
Thyme garden pests
Keep an eye out for these pests.
- Spiders mites
Mealybugs are garden pests that have a white waxy covering, mealybugs dose damage by sucking the plant’s sap from the leaves and stems that encourage sooty mold. Their excrement is known as honeydew also attracts ants. Infected plants become weakened, the use of organic pesticides or predator insects such as parasitic wasp, lacewings, or ladybugs will bring control.
Aphids are the easiest insect pests to kill, aphids are either black, greenish, peached colored, or red. Aphids are among sucking insects that extract the plant’s fluids and lives on the undersides of the leaves. Infected leaves turn yellow then brown follow by leaf drop. A strong spray of water, the use of insecticidal soap, or using natural means (predator) insects such as wasp and beetles will bring control.
Deers will eat your thyme to the ground, if deers are seen in your garden try using a deer repellant.
These tiny insect pests are either yellow, black, red, or brown, spider mites suck the plant’s sap and are known to transmit toxins that cause white dots on the foliage or leaves. Other symptoms include webbing on the plant, the leaves turn yellow dry, and stipple. A miticide may be needed if a strong spray of water fails. Predator insects such as parasitic wasp, lacewings, or ladybugs will bring control also.
Common diseases of thyme are as followed.
- Root rot
- Botrytis blight
- Powdery mildew
- Alternaria Leaf spot
Overwatering contributes to root rot, the key is knowing your plants watering needs giving them that amount. No more no less, if root rot is served then the only alternative is to uproot and discard plants.
This disease is caused by a fungus, the center of the plant along with the older leaves rots. Yellowish-brown spots that are irregular appears on the leaves, the stems develop water-soaked spots. The fungus is gray and fuzzy, when touch fungus emits a cloud of spores.
Control measures include providing good air circulation, removing infected plants, and properly disposing of, decrease humidity around the plant by using pea gravel as a mulch.
Powdery mildew appears as a white powdery substance on the leaves and the stalk. This fungal disease encourages distorted blossoms and chlorotic leaves. Moderate temperature and humid weather are favorable for this disease. Provide good air circulation by properly spacing and pruning plants. A fungicide may also be applied in the more extreme case.
Alternaria Leaf spot
The symptoms of this disease include small round reddish brown spots with white to grayish centers forming on the upper surface of the leaves. The lesion mat encircles the stem causing wilt, in very humid warm wet weather the disease worsens.
Do not work around wet plants, avoid getting water on the foliage, remove infected plant parts, and use fungicides as a last resort in the more extreme cases.
Damping-off occurs because of too much moisture, this disease is caused by a fungus because of soggy soils and when the air temperature is above 68 degrees. Too much nitrogen fertilizer also contributes to this disease, damping-off is common when starting plants from seeds, when the seedlings emerge it looks healthy, and then out of nowhere it wilts and dies.
When growing especially from a container wash with soap and water, avoid overcrowding of seeds, provide good air circulation, avoid overwatering, ensure that seeds are moist, and avoid over-fertilizing seeds.
The ideal time to harvest thyme is just before it flowers, remove the top five to six inches of growth. The best time to cut time is during the morning after the dew dries. The woody tough part of the plant can remain.
How to dry thyme?
Thyme can be used fresh or dry but if you desire to dry time you can tie in a bundle hang upside down, the use of a dehydrator is the quickest way to dry time. Place the thyme in the dehydrator at 100°F for 1 t0 2 hours until completely dry.
Oven drying thyme involves placing the thyme on a single layer of parchment paper-lined baking sheet and dry slowly in low heat 100°F for 2-4 hours.
How to store thyme?
Once your thyme has dried place it in an airtight jar or container in a low light area because light and moisture will cause thyme to lose its flavors.
The final word on thyme plant care
There you have it how easy is that? growing thyme is that simple, you can begin to grow this highly prized ancient herb from your home garden. So go for it you will be so happy with the results as your garden and home are filled with the aroma of thyme. What are you waiting on go for it and be amazed as you flavor your favorite recipes?
About the author
Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.