Thyme is an ancient herb plant native to Mediterranean area. The first documented use of thyme was by the ancient Egyptians. Thyme was originally used for cleansing and incense.
Thyme is Hardy Perennial which is extremely fragrant and flavorful. Thyme is a small woodland plant with heart-shaped, pale green leaves in a clump at its base, topped by dainty spikes of feathery white, lavender or pink flowers. Native to North America, thyme plants grow from 1 foot to 2 feet tall with the foliage turning red in autumn.
The Herb Thyme includes over 300 species! The most common uses uf Thyme can be divided into two groups: Culinary Thyme and Ornamental Thyme.
Common, English, and French thyme (all Thymus vulgaris), have small green leaves and an upright habit. Lemon thyme (Thymus citriodorus) also has an upright form, as well as creeping and variegated versions.
Silver thyme (T. x argenteus) is primarily an upright ornamental with pretty pink flowers.
Thymes can also make a great lawn substitute or slope retainer. The low-growing thymes include Woolly thyme (Thymus praceox), Miniature thyme (Thymus praceox minimus), Mother of Thyme (Thymus pulegioides), and caraway thyme (Thymus herba-barona).
Flowers of the herb thyme vary from deep rosy pink and red to lavender and white. (Thymus serpyllum var. coccineus) has a particularly pretty red bloom.
USDA Growing Zones 4-9, depending on species.
Thyme is a native of the Mediterranean and does best in full sun.
Thyme likes a medium fertility, well-drained, light soil.
pH of 5.0-6.0
Propagating Garden Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) by root division, is the best form of propagation of Garden Thyme. The roots of thyme plants that are three or four years old should be divided in spring. Dig up the herb plant, clear away as much soil as possible from the roots. Depending on the size of root ball, gently tear the root ball into three or four smaller pieces. Each of the pieces of Thyme should contain a portion of root and foliage. Simply plant the thyme roots and foliage in your garden or pot, water well and leave alone and let it grow. The Thyme herb plant should be ready for moderate harvesting by early July.
Growing Thyme from Seed - Garden thyme (Thymus vulgaris) can be grown from purchased seed, but starting Thyme from seed is a slow process, sometimes taking more than a full growing season to produce a sizeable harvest of thyme that is suiteable for drying and storage.
If you choose to grow thyme from seed, you will want thyme seed that is the freshest possible, and that has been properly stored under the very best conditions. To ensure the best quality thyme seed, order your herb seed from the very best online herb seed supplier available. Avoid buying thyme seeds from grocery store seed displays or big-box garden stores.
The thyme seeds should be sown in normal potting soil or compost. Thyme seeds are very small; cover the thyme seeds very lightly with potting soil or compost. Place them in a warm place of at least 60F; keep moist and the thyme seedlings will emerge within a week. As the thyme seedling grow, continue to thin the plants. When the plants are about 4 inches high the seedlings can be moved to their final position in your herb garden.
Growing Thyme from Cuttings is not recommended.
Thyme will grow well indoors in a bright, sunny window. Fertilize the thyme plants with a weak liquid plant food every two weeks from spring until fall. Keep the thyme plants moist but not wet; more on the dry side.
With most of the Thymes, too much moisture is worse than not enough. Care should be taken that thyme plants are not grown in areas that remain wet. Molds and rots can become a problem if thyme is grown in damp or humid conditions.
Thyme does not need much care in the garden; the more you care for it, the less hardy it will be. Drier, less fertile soil will produce the most fragrant and tasty Thyme at harvest.
The Herb Thyme is generally free of pests and disease although it is occasionally attacked by Aphids or Thrips. Ants will build their nest among the roots of a thyme plant that is being affected by aphids while they use the insects as a steady source of fresh food. As the ants herd and protect the aphids, their expanding nest causes a disruption and damage to the tender thyme roots.
Harvest Thyme year round from actively growing thyme plants. Harvesting Thyme in mid summer during the months of June and July will produce the best flavor. During the winter months below zone 5, Thyme plants left out of doors will go dormant. Avoid harvesting thyme while the herb is dormant.
Drying Thyme: Garden Thyme is very flavorful when dried. Lay out on racks or tie in bunches and hang in a well ventilated, darker area. The best method is to dry thyme in a food dehydrator set to 85-105 degrees F.
Freezing Thyme: Retain maximum flavor by freezing thyme on cookie sheets, then strip off the leaves and place them into plastic containers to freeze. Or, mix with water and place in ice cube trays.
In a small bowl, mash together all ingredients, including black pepper to taste. Makes about 3 Tbs.