Creeping Thyme as a Lawn Alternative

Updated February 21, 2017

The residential lawn requires large amounts of water, fertiliser and time to keep it looking its best. Many environmentally-conscious homeowners seek a more sustainable, easier-maintenance groundcover that is attractive, long-lasting and functional. Creeping thyme is one of the spreading groundcovers under consideration as a lawn alternative because of its evergreen foliage and cheerful flowers in late spring.

About Creeping Thyme

Creeping thyme is a perennial groundcover that grows up to 4 inches in height and about 18 inches wide. It prefers full sun locations with loamy soil but can also grow in partial or full shade, though it may not flower as well under shady conditions. The leaves are small, grow densely and are shiny in appearance. Dark pink flowers blooms in early summer. Creeping thyme is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 9, according to GardenerHelp. It is available at garden centres usually in flats or small pots. Some varieties have greyish foliage. Flowers come in a variety of colours and gives off a fresh, aromatic fragrance. Creeping thyme fills in easily because it has runners, which make it a good lawn alternative.

Planting Creeping Thyme

Creeping thyme benefits from the addition of organic matter like compost, processed manure or peat moss at the time of planting. Mix the organic matter into the soil to a depth of 6 to 10 inches, according to HumeSeeds. Creeping thyme germinates in 14 to 30 days if sowed by seed. If transplanting started plants, set them about 6 inches apart to allow sufficient room to fill in during the first growing season. Irrigate the plants generously for the first few weeks to allow a good root system to establish.

Creeping Thyme Maintenance

Creeping thyme does not need mowing and can withstand foot traffic well. It does not invade other areas and is easily confined to specific areas. Watering the plants during periods of low rainfall is all that is required. Liquid plant food or fish emulsion provides enough nutrients for this hardy groundcover. Divide during the cooler months of March, April and May for best results.

Problems of Creeping Thyme

Creeping thyme needs a thorough soaking with water once or twice weekly during dry periods, but do not overwater during normal rainy conditions. Creeping thyme can become untidy after blooming. Remove faded flowers using a bagger mower set at a height that cuts off flower tops but doesn't cut foliage too low. Creeping thyme can become flattened and worn under constant foot traffic. Set in paving stones of flagstones for walkways and other heavily-used areas.

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