Family Lamiaceae Plant Type Herbaceous perennial Mature Size 2-6 in.wide (depending on type) Sun Exposure Full sun Soil Type Well-drained, loose, rocky, sandy Soil pH Neutral Bloom Time Summer Flower Color Pink, white, purple Hardiness Zones 4 to 9, USDA (depending on variety) Native Area Europe.It loves loose, sandy, rocky soil, and even loam if it drains well.For the most part, thyme planted in the ground or maintained at a steady, non-sweltering temperature should only need watering every 10 days; however, potted thyme outdoors in blazing hot temperatures will need watering once daily.If you live in a humid area and your plant is losing leaves, or the foliage is looking rough, trim off the affected stems and improve air circulation.Also, add sand or gravel around the plant's base to prevent contact with moist soil.If the soil is poor, you can compensate by providing a delayed-release fertilizer once at the beginning of the growing season.However, several types of creeping thyme are low to the ground and spread efficiently.Prune back creeping thyme vines in the early spring to prepare the plant for the growing season ahead.In late fall, after the first frost, prune the leggiest, woodiest stems by half.Dividing thyme and taking stem cuttings gives your older plant a new lease on life, encouraging new growth.You can propagate creeping thyme via three methods: division, stem cuttings, and seeds.You will need a healthy, non-flowering stem with new leaf growth on it, sterilized scissors or pruners, fresh well-draining soil, and a clean pot.Place the cutting in a sunny spot, wait and watch new roots develop.Keep the water evenly moist in a warm, bright spot about 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.Once the seedlings have 3 to 4 inches of growth, you can transplant them into a new container or plant them in the ground once the threat of frost has passed.Once the plant grows too big for the container, remove the root ball and divide it.You can replant the smaller division back into the container it was in, giving it fresh soil.The best way to protect plants in lower USDA zones like 5 and under is by giving them a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch after the cold weather has set in.As thyme ages and grows late in the season, it may start to get spindly and leggy.It simply requires some attention at the end of the fall season after the first frost or early spring.A thyme plant that gets too much water has poorly draining soil, not enough drainage holes, or is exposed to too much humidity can get yellowing or browning leaves.Also, excess nitrogen in the soil can cause a thyme plant to grow leggy, wilt, or get yellowing leaves.Thyme lives about four or five years, so if your plant starts to turn all brown and looks like it's drying out and dying, it may be reaching the end of its life.Other causes can be a severe frost, a lack of sun, or a fungal disease like root rot.If a harsh winter left stems looking dead, cut them back in the early spring, and the plant may rebound on its own.This sun-loving plant needs at least 6 hours of direct sun to be happy; make sure it's situated appropriately.Sedum requieni, also known as miniature stonecrop, is a small-leaved, low-growing filler or ground cover that often gets confused for thyme.You can immediately tell the difference between the two by breaking off a piece and smelling the leaves; stonecrop is not fragrant. .

How to Grow Creeping Thyme (Thymus praecox)

Thymus praecox A sweet smell of earthy, herby goodness wafts through the air, welcoming you into the garden.Have no fear, Thymus praecox, aka creeping thyme, can handle a little foot traffic, releasing its sweet perfume in return, making it an excellent choice for planting in a walkway or between stepping stones!An exceptional, pollinator-friendly ground cover, T. praecox works well to connect different spaces in a garden, as a border plant, in between stone paths, in a rock wall, or as a lawn substitute.Also known as mother of thyme, T. praecox is one of about 350 species in the Thymus genus — all aromatic herbaceous perennials native to the temperate Mediterranean climate found in parts of Europe, North Africa, and Asia.The essential oil, derived mostly from common thyme, T.

vulgaris, is used in modern-day soapmaking, cosmetic and dental hygiene products, candy, and chewing gum.Creeping thyme, not to be confused with its more culinarily-inclined cousin, T. vulgaris, is edible as well, offering a light herbal option to be used in the kitchen.Most notably in the garden, creeping thyme’s greatest function is to work as an aromatic, pollinator-attracting ground cover.These are excellent companion plants for vegetable gardeners to utilize, and they can serve to smooth out any harsh corners in hardscaping.You can elect to sow seeds or plant starts; both options will lead to lush, green growth in no thyme (ha!Sprinkle seeds on top of the soil or covered lightly to a depth of 1/16 of an inch at most, and maintain consistent moisture for germination.Make sure to give them a good watering after broadcasting seeds so they don’t get whisked away by the wind, or a curious critter.The most important (and most challenging) thing to remember with direct seeding is keep the planting area consistently moist.Grow it in sandy, rocky, or otherwise poor soil in areas that receive six or more hours of sunlight each day.While not the most intuitive of garden advice, it’s actually better to underwater this plant than it is to overwater, as T. praecox is susceptible to root rot.Three to four years down the road, the original parent part of the plant will grow thin and should be divided as described above to encourage healthy, new growth.Avoid this by thinning out or transplanting divisions to other parts of your garden, so that each plant has ample space to grow.‘Albiflorus’ features snow-white flowers and bright green, aromatic foliage that spreads quickly to form a dense mat.With a mature height of just two to three inches and a spread of one to two feet, it is ideal for planting in between paving stones or in rock gardens.If planted in an area with poor drainage or a section of the garden that is overwatered, T.

praecox may be susceptible to root rot.The dense, creeping nature of this species makes it an excellent ground cover and living mulch.In a garden setting, this species looks best planted in a walkway, in between stepping stones or pavers, as creeping thyme is tolerant of moderate foot traffic and releases a pleasant aroma when its leaves are lightly crushed.Finally, as I mentioned previously, though this is not the traditional culinary variety (T. vulgaris), the leaves of T. praecox are still edible and will provide a tasty flavor to any stew, sauce, or salad. .

Pink Chintz Creeping Thyme, Thymus Pink Chintz

A) Strip off the old turf grass with a sod cutter and kill off any remnants of lawn around the edges; OR.B) Kill the existing lawn, by spraying it with a one-time application of systemic glyphosate 14 days or longer prior to planting.(While repeated, widespread use of glyphosate can be damaging to the environment, healthy soils are capable of breaking down any residual chemical from a one-time use.Be sure and bury the edges of the plastic sheeting and place heavy rocks across the middle to anchor it and hold it down when the wind blows.Note: Letting the lawn go brown by withholding water will not kill Kentucky Bluegrass.Thyme lawns are best suited to smaller areas of up to a few hundred square feet because of higher maintenance considerations.Just as importantly, we have found thyme lawns to be most attractive in smaller, more intimate areas like courtyards and patios where the edges can be interplanted with taller growing perennials and ornamental shrubs.Buffalo or Blue Grama grasses are best suited for covering large expanses in your yard.Thyme lawns tolerate some foot traffic but are not suitable for a kids' play area.Once the plants begin to root out and grow, watering frequency can be cut back to a good soaking once every 7 to 10 days.However, to keep your lawn looking tidy after blooming, it can be mowed using a bagger mower to remove the faded flowers and to help the stems fill in any bare spots.A light raking in the Spring can be helpful in removing dead stems and foliage after a harsh winter.Then top dress with a thin 1/2 inch of finely textured compost or well rotted manure to help the plants spread to fill in bare spots and reinvigorate the whole lawn for the coming of summer. .

Can You Plant Creeping Thyme With Mulch?

Creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum) is a hardy herb often grown in the home garden for use in cooking.Since creeping thyme likes drier soil and doesn’t usually benefit from consistent moisture, you wouldn’t mulch it during the growing season.During the winter months, however, a several-inch mulching with a substance like leaf mold can prevent frost heaving, where ice builds up beneath the ground and distorts soil, sometimes displacing roots, as well as damage during cold snaps.Because it is a woody perennial, it will eventually grow tough bases and stems, at which point you can cut it back to promote more delicate new growth. .

Thyme, the Fragrant Ground Cover

Photo/Illustration: Jane Grushow On early summer evenings, I follow the bees and butterflies to carpets of white, pink, and lavender thyme flowers that blanket pathways and rocky nooks in my garden.Thymes are diminutive perennial herbs that grow either upright as small, erect shrubs or low as creeping mats.Suitable for any dry, well-drained spot—such as patios, walks, rock gardens, stone walls, or pond borders—they cascade, drape, and mound in soft mats.Ground-hugging ‘Pink Ripple’ thyme spreads among taller plants in the perennial border, showcasing its lovely, lemony scent for passersby.Photo/Illustration: Jane Grushow.Photo/Illustration: Lee Anne White/Positive Images For the past 20 years, I have grown many thymes at my Pennsylvania herb farm, and I add new ones every season.My favorites are the creeping thyme cultivars, which present a wealth of choices for unusual, aromatic ground covers.Perennials such as betony, bee balm, sage, allium, pincushion flower, artemisia, yarrow, and iris make interesting companions.The allium pokes up through the low, glossy mat of thyme and among the fuzzy betony leaves, where its whiplike foliage contrasts nicely.In another part of my border, a creeping thyme flows around some dwarf iris and ‘Moonshine’ yarrow, creating a composition of wildly different foliage textures.A top dressing or mulch of sand or gravel helps to thwart frost-heaving of the plants in winter and diverts water away from the stems and leaves.In areas with high rainfall, planting thymes on rocky slopes helps alleviate drainage problems, but it is also important to select the right cultivar for your conditions.In fact, dry conditions improve plant vigor, and poor soil increases aromatic oil production, making thymes more fragrant.Unless you have a site with excellent air circulation, avoid thymes with woolly or hairy foliage, since they are most susceptible to humidity-induced rot.Take the cuttings in the fall, root them in damp builders’ sand, and the new plants will be ready for the garden the following spring. .

Thymus serpyllum (Creeping Thyme)

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Creeping Thyme Seeds

Used often as borders on flower beds and in between pavers on walkways, this is a groundcover that can handle moderate foot traffic.Creeping Thyme is not generally susceptible to disease or insects but can provide a barrier for veggies and ornamental plantings.Creeping Thyme prefers well drained soil with a neutral pH (between 6.5 and 7.5) in an area where it receives good sun, but can also tolerate partial shade.A light dose of delayed release fertilizer can be useful if you are planting in poorer soil, but good soil preparation (mixing in a 2-3 inch layer of manure, compost or other organic material prior to planting) should negate the need for fertilizer.Creeping Thyme will grow between 2-3 inches high and each established plant can spread to approximately 1 foot wide. .

When should I plant creeping thyme?

Start seeds when growing creeping thyme indoors or they may be sown in the spring after the danger of frost has passed.Since creeping thyme likes drier soil and doesn't usually benefit from consistent moisture, you wouldn't mulch it during the growing season.Dig or pull up a small patch of creeping thyme in the spring, making sure it has healthy roots and green growth.If you want to get a jump start on the Creeping Thyme ground cover plants, sow the seed indoors 6 - 8 weeks before the last frost. .

Thymus serpyllum 'Elfin' (Creeping Thyme)

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