Growing Thyme

The common name for Thymus,a genus of aromatic herbs or shrubby plants of the Mint Family, long cultivated and valued as both ornamentals and sweet herbs. They have small lavender or pink flowers and are planted in the rock garden and the border for ornament, or in the herb garden, to be used for seasoning. They grow easily and are easily increased from cuttings or seed.

To achieve optimum results, plant the seed indoors in early spring. Thyme is very hardy and will grow under most conditions. It prefers full sun and a soil that is light and sandy, or loamy. Thyme requires minimal fertilization unless the soil quality is of extremely poor quality, or when grown via the hydroponic method.

 Thyme propagates easily from tip cuttings or crown division. Since it grows slowly, especially early in it’s life, weed-control is essential. Mulching with straw is helpful.

Thyme is harvested in mid-summer, just prior to flowering. Secondary growth will occur for the balance of the year, and this growth should be left to grow, or winter hardiness will be sacrificed.

Growing Thyme

Growing Cultures

Outdoors, containers, hydroponics.

Plant Height

Thyme plants grow to a height of 12 to 18 inches (30 – 45cm).

Plant Spacing

Thyme plants should be spaced 18 to 24 inches (45 – 60cm) apart.

Preferred pH Range

Thyme will grow in a pH range between 6.5 (neutral) and 8.5 (alkaline) with a preferred pH range between 6.5 and 7.0.


Sow thyme seed indoors in sunny location or under plant grow lights six weeks before last frost. Thyme propagates well through stem cuttings.

Seed Germination Period

8 to 20 days.

Seeds Per Gram (Approximate)

3,300 to 4,000.

Soil Requirements

Light, well-draining, poor to fertile.

Alternative Growing Media

Soilless potting mixes, perlite, vermiculite, rockwool, coco peat, Oasis foam.

Time From Seed to Saleable Plant

Sow in plugs 12 to 14 weeks before sale. Seeds to finished plugs, 6 to 8 weeks; plugs to saleable plants, 4 to 6 weeks.

Sun & Lighting Requirements

Thyme grown outdoors prefers full sun.

USDA Hardiness

4a to 8b.

Water Requirements

Average water needs. Water on a regular schedule, do not overwater.

Potential Pests & Diseases

Whitefly, spider mites. Minimal disease issues.

Special Notes

Drought resistant and ideal for xeriscaping. Suitable for containers and indoor cultivation. Attracts butterflies, birds, or bees.