How to Grow Thyme – A Beginner’s Guide

thyme plant growing in garden
Thyme, which are known botanically as Thymus Vulgaris, are a type of herbs that can easily be grown at home. Continue reading to learn the basics of growing thyme as well as common mistakes to avoid along the way.

Best Time to Plant Thyme

This will depend largely on your local climate, but as a rule of thumb, begin to plant the thyme seeds spring once chances of frost have passed. This is the best time to ensure that the seedlings survive the weather.

To check when thyme are most likely to thrive in your area, see the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. If you live outside the US, do a quick search for ‘plant hardiness zone + [city]’.

How to Plant Thyme the Right Way

There are a number of things to consider that will help you avoid some of the common mistakes of growing thyme in your home garden.

Often overlooked, your soil can have a huge impact on how well your thyme grow. Generally, your soil should be  well-drained, preferably alkaline, soil. Soil PH levels should be around 6.0 to 8.0.

6″ apart. 8″ apart. The seeds should be sowed at a depth of about  .25″. For each plant, be sure to sow at least a few seeds to ensure that at least one of them will germinate.

Begin thinning your thyme seedlings thin or transplant plants to 8 inches apart when they are 2 inches tall.

How Much Sunlight is Needed to Grow Thyme

The amount of sunlight is another key to a successful harvest. Too much sunlight will dry out your thyme. Not enough sunlight will stunt your its growth or even kill it.

Ideally, your thyme should be getting full sun, which means as much sunlight as you can possibly give it, or at least 6 hours or more.

How Much to Water Thyme

As you’ve figured by now, a lot can have an impact on how well your thyme do, and the amount of water is no different.

Ideally, the soil should be damp to touch; not soggy or bone dry. If the leaves on your thyme begin to change colors or start to look droopy, you need to adjust how much water you’re giving it.

Unfortunately, if you give it too much or too little water, you can kill it, so it’s best to just keep an eye on it and water as needed.

How Long Does it Take Thyme to Germinate and Grow?

Now the fun part begins and you get to watch your thyme grow.

It takes approximately 8-20 days to germinate, and a total of 80-85 days from seed to harvest.

When to Harvest Thyme

The best time to harvest your thyme is  just before the plant flowers .

Thyme can grow up to about 6-12 in. tall.

What Can Thyme Be Used For?

Food Use: Especially flavorful in clam chowder and other soups, stews, and meats.

Flavor Profile: Pungent with a subtle, dry aroma and slight minty flavor.

Can Thyme Grow in Pots and Containers?

Yes, you will ideally need a 12″+ containerfor each plant. This can help control weeds and keep your plant from growing out of control.

It also gives you the flexibility to move your thyme around if you need to adjust sunlight or bring it indoors to avoid harsh weather conditions.

Are Thyme Safe for Bees?

Yes, thyme are safe for bees.

According to, bees pollinate human food crops that make up about 90% of the world’s nutrition.

Given their importance in our ecosystem and food supply, I feel it is important to note that growing thyme is bee-friendly.

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