Thymus vulgaris

Scientific name: Thymus vulgaris


Common names: “Thyme” “English thyme” “common thyme” “wild thyme”

Plant Type: Semi-evergreen subshrub or perennial


Zone: 5-9

Light: Full sun only

Exposure: Sheltered, may require some winter protection

Soil: Sandy-gravely soil, no clay

Moisture: Well drained – dry, drought tolerant but enjoys some watering


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Plant Size: 6-12″ H & W

Leaf and Stem shape: Small narrow opposite grey-green aromatic leaves on woody stems

Flower:  Tiny, tubular, lilac flowers on the stem ends in late springImage result for thymus vulgaris

Pruning: Prune and harvest regularly throughout the growing season to promote new growth, can be cut back hard even by 1/3 – 1/2 once or twice a year, prune to shape and to improve air circulation, stop pruning by late summer in colder climates

Maintenance: Medium, weeds tend to grow in the centres of a patch and will outcompete the thyme unless pulled

Landscape use: Herb garden, pathways, xeriscaping, Mediterranean garden, container, wildlife garden

Propagate: By seed, cuttings and division

Pests & Disease: Will rot out in wet conditions

*Deer resistant, attracts bees and butterflies

Comments: Grows excellently in a microclimate raised bed, growing them in pathways is a wonderful idea but should only be considered in well draining sites where no puddles collect, as wet conditions will bring in wet loving weeds which will easily out-grow and shade out the thyme, when thyme has the best flavour is just before the flowers open, the fresh buds have the highest concentration of essential oils

Cultivars: There are many different species of thyme to choose from, for culinary uses there are summer, winter, and French thymes, also lemon thyme, oregano scented thyme, caraway thyme and some cold resistant varieties

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