Thyme is a wonderful herb with a pleasant, pungent, clover flavor.There are both fragrant ornamental types as well as culinary thyme varieties which add a savory note to summer soups, grilled meats, and vegetables.Originally from the Mediterranean area, this herb is drought-friendly so it doesn’t have high watering needs. .
How to Grow and Care for Thyme
Thyme is a widely adaptable herb, able to be grown in the United States Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones 5 through 9.Different varieties of thyme have different growing habits—some send up flower stalks, others form mats, and others will cascade.Give your thyme a spot in full sun; it handles hot, dry conditions better than cool, damp soil.Plant them in a sunny, exposed spot in your garden, or in decorative planters that can be moved around throughout the day to chase the light.If you're growing a thyme plant indoors, place it on a sunny windowsill or, even better, in a room that catches a lot of rays throughout the day, such as a sunroom.Thyme plants have no special needs when it comes to temperature and humidity and can thrive through most months of the year until there is frost (at which point they will go dormant for the winter).Their largest period of growth is throughout the summer months—this is also when you'll notice their flowers in bloom, which will attract bees and various other insects.However, thyme needs good air circulation, especially in warm, humid climates, to avoid fungal diseases.Woolly thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus): A very soft, flat spreading carpet, this variety has no scent, so it's not used for cooking.Creeping thyme (Thymus praecox): True to its name, this variety grows as a low mat, only two to three inches tall, with pink, magenta, lavender, or white flowers.Plant the cutting in a container filled with ordinary potting soil mixed with sand or perlite.Set the container in a location with bright indirect light and keep the soil moist until new growth begins.After six weeks or so, the cutting will develop a root system sufficient enough to allow it to be transplanted into a larger container or into the garden. .
The flowers open in spring and summer, sprinkling the plant with tiny, two-lipped blossoms attractive to bees.Space thyme plants 12 to 24 inches apart in a very sunny area with fertile, well-drained soil with a pH close to 7.0.Before planting in-ground, improve your existing soil by mixing in several inches of aged compost or other rich organic matter.Be sure to choose strong young thyme plants from Bonnie Plants®, the company that has been helping home gardeners succeed for over 100 years.Mulching with limestone gravel or builder's sand improves drainage and helps prevents root rot.Pinching the tips of the stems keeps plants bushy, but stop clipping about a month before the first frost of fall to make sure that new growth is not too tender going into the cool weather.In the North and cold climates, cover with pine boughs after the soil freezes to help protect from winter damage.This clever container design uses a cabbage as the tall “thriller,” marigolds as the “filler,” and creeping thyme as the “spiller” flowing over the edge of a small whiskey barrel pot.Although the flavor is most concentrated just before plants bloom, thyme is so aromatic that the leaves have good flavour all the time.Thyme is also great with any slowly cooked soup, stew, vegetable, meat, or sauce. .
Thymes are relatives of the oregano genus Origanum, with both plants being mostly indigenous to the Mediterranean region. The ancient Greeks used it in their baths and burnt it as incense in their temples, believing it was a source of courage.The spread of thyme throughout Europe was thought to be due to the Romans, as they used it to purify their rooms and to "give an aromatic flavour to cheese and liqueurs". In the European Middle Ages, the herb was placed beneath pillows to aid sleep and ward off nightmares. In this period, women also often gave knights and warriors gifts that included thyme leaves, as it was believed to bring courage to the bearer. The plant can take deep freezes and is found growing wild on mountain highlands.Gas chromatographic analysis reveals that the most abundant volatile component of thyme leaves is thymol 8.55 mg/g.The fresh form is more flavourful, but also less convenient; storage life is rarely more than a week. It is composed of a woody stem with paired leaf or flower clusters ("leaves") spaced 15 to 25 millimetres (1⁄2 to 1 inch) apart.A recipe may measure thyme by the bunch (or fraction thereof), or by the sprig, or by the tablespoon or teaspoon.Depending on how it is used in a dish, the whole sprig may be used (e.g., in a bouquet garni), or the leaves removed and the stems discarded.Leaves may be removed from stems either by scraping with the back of a knife, or by pulling through the fingers or tines of a fork. Thyme essential oil also contains a range of additional compounds, such as p-cymene, myrcene, borneol, and linalool. .
Growing Thyme From Cuttings
Thyme is a popular herb grown by many gardeners for its fresh aroma, culinary purposes, and ease of care.You’ve likely used this herb while cooking before, or at least ate a dish that included thyme.It can also be used in other ways in the kitchen, such as paired with other herbs in potato or poultry dishes.Like many other herbs, thyme can easily be grown in many growing zones in the United States and throughout the world.Before we get into the specific steps, it should be noted that growing thyme from cuttings is a lengthy process.If a rooting hormone is used, it could take as long as a year until you can harvest and eat from your new thyme plant.If you aren’t ready to propagate, you can store the sprigs in your fridge, wrapped in a plastic bag.At this point, you have the option of dipping the sprig’s bare stem into a rooting hormone.If you do want to use a growth hormone for a faster and healthier root system, you can purchase either the powder or gel form at your local garden center.Then, simply dip your stem into some water and place the tip of the sprig into the growth hormone.Please note: When propagating thyme with a rooting hormone, keep in mind that most hormones (whether in powder or gel form) will require you to wait until a full year before consuming any part of the plant.If you aren’t using a growth hormone, you’ll want to establish a root structure before planting in soil.To do this, you can place your thyme plant in a glass of water, with the 2″ of bare stem fully submerged.If you notice that the leaves start to turn yellow after a few weeks, it may be due to transplant shock (much like us humans, plants don’t like sudden change).Make sure the thyme plant gets plenty of sunlight and water (keeping the top level of soil damp is great). .