Both the foliage and the flowers of thyme provide an aromatic herb for culinary use. The low-growing plants, with their silver-green leaves and clusters of light lavender flowers, are also an attractive addition to the home herb garden. Thyme is a perennial flowering herb plant that produces for four or more years with only a minimal amount of care and maintenance. The herb also grows well in pots placed outdoors or inside near a bright window.
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Things you need
Plant thyme in full-sun beds. Choose areas with well-drained soil, as the plants cannot tolerate overly wet conditions.
Water the plant when the top 2 inches of soil dries. Thyme typically requires irrigation only during extended dry periods. Potted thyme requires more frequent irrigation -- usually once a week for indoor plants, and once every one to two days for outdoor planters.
Harvest the thyme once the plants begin to flower. Cut 6-inch sprigs of foliage and flowers with a pair of shears. Use the herb fresh or dry it for later use.
Cover the thyme with a 2- to 4-inch layer of pine straw mulch once the ground begins to freeze in late fall or early winter. Remove the mulch once new growth begins in spring. Thyme may not require mulching in mild climates.
Prune back thyme in spring once you remove the mulch cover. Cut back the plant by up to half of its height to encourage tender new growth.
Tips and warnings
- Creeping thyme varieties make an attractive ground cover or rock garden plant.
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