Fresh thyme, which ranks as a top favorite in the realm of fresh culinary herbs, is amazingly easy to grow and maintain. While thyme varieties span a gamut of heights, aroma, color and growth patterns, the planting methods and routine care practices are basically the same for all types.
Since all members of the Thymus species are winter-hardy perennials, only an initial first-year planting is required to ensure long-term season-after-season harvest and growth.
You can secure thyme plants for your home herb patch (container or in-ground garden settings both work well) three different ways. You can start your plants from seed; purchase starter plants from a local nursery; or create some of your own starter plants from mature thyme plants via a clump-division process.
Before you embark on the mission of creating thyme plants by growing them on your own from seed, be cautioned that this is the least advisable option because the germination period is long (1-12 weeks) and the germination success-rate is low. If you choose to try this method, read seed packet instructions carefully and cross your fingers.
Regardless of how you obtain your starter thyme plants, from seed, from a garden center or nursery or by clump division (simply dividing a mature thyme plant into small clumps/root intact), you will want to space them 4-8 inches apart in a garden spot or container that provides loose, fast-draining soil and captures at least 4-hours daily sunlight.
Water thyme as needed (whenever leafy growth is not soft at-touch), preferably at ground/root level. Avoid fertilizing as hyper-fertile soil diminishes thyme’s aroma and flavor.
Snip off top fresh leaf-growth as needed for use in your cooking and allow 2 weeks between harvests for fresh same-plant re-growth.