Thymus are a genus of low growing hardy perennial herbs.
They are evergreen and bloom from the end of spring to early summer. The plants carry small pink, white or purple flowers.
Some common names for Thymus include Thyme, Silver edge thyme, and Mother of thyme.
Wild / lemon thyme (Thymus pulegioides)
Thyme is usually grown as a herb. The leaves of thyme can be harvested at any time when fresh thyme is required for cooking.
Silver-edge Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Common Garden Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris) by Wallygrom.
Thymus vulgaris (Common Thyme), photograph by Forest and Kim Starr; CC.
Thymus serpyllum (Breckland Thyme / Sand Thyme / Breckland Wild Thyme / Elfin thyme), photograph by Andreas Rockstein; CC.
Thymus praecox (Creeping Thyme / Mother of Thyme / Wild Thyme), picture by Joan Simon; CC.
Common Names: Thyme: Golden; Lemon; Creeping; Hungarian. Mother-of-Thyme.
Scientific Name: Thymus citriodorus; T. Coccineus; T. praecox; T. pseudolanuginosus; T. pulegioides; T. serpyllum; Thymus vulgaris English - Thyme.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: Low growing up to 20 inches (50 cm). Sub-shrub.
Native: Europe. Asia. North Africa.
Growing Region: Zones 5 to 9.
The seeds of thyme and other Thymus species should be sown on the soil surface in late autumn or about three weeks before the last frost.
Thyme is able to grow in sunny and partially shaded areas that have good drainage, and loves a light and dry soil.
If starting off indoors then sow Thymus seeds about eight weeks before the last frost. It should take the seeds about two or three weeks to germinate at 12 to 20 degrees centigrade (55 - 70°F).
Once ready transplant seedlings into the garden following the last frost of spring with a spacing of 20 to 30 cm (8 to 12 inches).
Bumblebees like Thyme, Photograph by Wallygrom.
It is fairly easy to care for Thyme and other members of the Thymus genus (a member of the Lamiaceae family).
If you are growing it for cookery purposes then it is best to cut back the plant by half once flowering has finished. This will help to maintain a strong flavour in the thyme leaves. Also it is best to change the plants every three years or so to help maintain flavor.
It is a good idea to bring thyme indoors for the winter so that the leaves can be used throughout the year. Pot the thyme into a sandy soil, and grow on the window shelf. Water occasionally, and allow the soil that thyme grows in to dry out between watering.
If you require more plants then thyme can be propagated from cuttings took following flowering, or by dividing the plant in the spring.
If you plan to dry Thyme leaves, then cut off the stems just before the plant flowers.
Hang the stems upside down in a dark place to dry; once dry strip the thyme leaves from the stems ,and store in a Tupperware or similar container.