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Common Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

by Marie Vonow
Edible (34)      Herb (6)      Perennial (4)     

Thyme Plant
Common Thyme

Name: Common Thyme - Thymus vulgaris

Description: Common Thyme is a woody, low growing plant. It has small, oval shaped grey-green leaves. The flowers are white or mauve and attract bees.

Thyme leaves can be used fresh or dried but use sparingly as the flavour is strong. Thyme is good in soups, stews, pasta and pizza sauces and stuffing for poultry. This herb is nice in egg, poultry, pork and fish dishes. The flowers are also edible.

Thyme was grown in the Mediterranean region in ancient times and was used as an antiseptic and incense.

Size: Common Thyme grows about 30cm (12in) high, is bushy and tends to sprawl.

Conditions: Thyme enjoys well drained soil in a sunny position. Being a Mediterranean herb it grows best in areas where the summers are hot and dry and winters are wet and cool. It can be difficult to grow in tropical regions as it is prone to rot and mildew in conditions that are too wet. Apply a small amount of slow release fertiliser in spring to encourage growth.

Thyme grows well in pots or garden beds.

Thyme Growing In Pot
Thyme can be grown in a polystyrene box

Propagation: The easiest way to grow thyme is from seedlings bought at plant nurseries.

Thyme seeds can be planted in a tray of seed raising mix but may take a long time to grow. Transplant once the seedlings are about 10cm (4in) high.

Thyme can also be grown from cuttings or by dividing the plant and transplanting sections which have roots on them.

Thyme grows well in the company of most plants, especially those in the sage, onion and cabbage families.

Prune hard after thyme has flowered if it is straggly and woody. In frosty areas protect thyme with a good layer of mulch during winter.

Thyme Seedlings
Thyme grows easily from seedlings

When to Plant: In temperate zones thyme seeds can be planted between August and March and in cool zones from September to February. In tropical and sub tropical zones seeds can be planted year round.

In temperate climates new plants can be grown from cuttings taken in autumn. Thyme can be divided at any time of the year but not in very hot weather.

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