Thyme is a hardy perennial with small pink or lavender flowers, and properly planting and caring for thyme can yield a very healthy and useful herb. It is used to flavor foods, but also makes a good ornamental plant in borders. Plant thyme in light sandy or loamy soil and watch it continue to perform year after year.
The thyme plant grows well in USDA zones 4a to 8b. Plant in full sun and harvest in the summer before the flowers open. Start seeds in the early spring indoors six weeks before the last frost. Be aware that thyme takes a long time to germinate. If you choose to start thyme from seeds, fill a shallow container with soil or soil less potting mix. Scatter the seeds over the soil, the sprinkle lightly with more soil. Water well and cover with plastic. Germinate in warm place for several weeks. It can take anywhere from one to twelve weeks for plants to germinate.
You can also start thyme from divisions of established plants. Dig up an existing plant, divide it, and replant the mother plant. Plant the new plant in its permanent location.
When the thyme is four inches tall, it can be planted in the garden. Space the plants 18 to 24 inches apart. Poor soil actually benefits the flavor of thyme and under watering is also beneficial. Thyme is an excellent herb to grow for xeriscaping or for low water environments. If you live in an area with cold winters, mulch the thyme well in winter. Be sure to remove the mulch in the spring. Mulch throughout the growing season to help curb weed growth.
Harvest thyme in the summer, just before it blooms. It will produce secondary growth for the rest of the year but this should be left intact to allow for winter hardiness.
Thyme can be grown in containers and indoors as a house plant. Outdoors, it attracts butterflies, bees, and birds to the garden. But whether outdoors or indoors, you will enjoy the many benefits of growing thyme.