A Close Look at Thyme, the Evergreen Herb

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Lawn & Garden

©2007 www.robsplants.com Thyme boasts fragrant leaves and small, attractive flowers, which make it a popular herb to grow.

Although often grown in herb gardens, thyme’s creeping habit and low-growing nature make it an ideal choice for planting in perennial gardens and as edging or between stepping stones. With hundreds of different species available, it’s important to choose the right one for your specific garden needs—some species are better suited for culinary use, while others work well as ornamental plants.

Thyme plants produce stems that are upright or trailing, with small, elliptic leaves that emit a strong fragrance. Many species of thyme are evergreen, and their pink or lavender flowers grow on short, dense spikes that attract honeybees.

Thyme requires full sun and well-draining soil, as plants can rot in soil that stays wet for too long. In northern gardens, thyme thrives throughout the summer, but in hotter and more humid climates, plants may wilt and require pruning to encourage new growth. To keep plants fuller and more vigorous, prune them frequently until August, but avoid pruning them during fall and winter garden cleanups. Propagation can be done by seed, division, or stem cuttings.

Thyme’s compact size makes it ideal for use as an edging plant, between stepping stones, or in containers. There are many different species and varieties of thyme available, such as lemon thyme, caraway thyme, mother-of-thyme, woolly thyme, and wild thyme, each with its own unique appearance and scent.


©2007 www.robsplants.com Thyme plants come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.

The scientific name for thyme is Thymus species.

Looking for more gardening information?

  • Check out our guide to growing and caring for perennial flowers, which come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.
  • Discover the many species of flowers, evergreens, and herbs that return year after year in our guide to perennials.
  • Learn how to start and maintain your own herb garden in our guide to herb gardens.
  • Get more tips and ideas for your garden in our gardening articles.

FAQ

1. What is thyme?

Thyme is a perennial herb that belongs to the mint family. It is known for its fragrant leaves and is commonly used in cooking, medicine, and aromatherapy.

2. What are the health benefits of thyme?

Thyme has several health benefits, including its ability to boost the immune system, improve digestion, and reduce inflammation. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties and can help to soothe sore throats and coughs.

3. How is thyme used in cooking?

Thyme is a popular herb in many cuisines, including Mediterranean and Middle Eastern. It is often used to flavor soups, stews, marinades, and roasted meats. Thyme can also be used to make herbal teas and infused oils.

4. How do you grow thyme?

Thyme is a hardy plant that is easy to grow in most climates. It prefers well-draining soil and full sun. Thyme can be grown from seeds or cuttings and should be watered regularly but not overwatered. It is also a good idea to prune thyme regularly to keep it from becoming too woody.

5. What are the different varieties of thyme?

There are several different varieties of thyme, including common thyme, lemon thyme, and caraway thyme. Each variety has its own unique flavor and aroma and can be used in different types of dishes.

6. Can thyme be used in aromatherapy?

Yes, thyme can be used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation and relieve stress. It is often used in essential oil blends and can be diffused or applied topically.

7. What are the side effects of thyme?

Thyme is generally considered safe when used in culinary or medicinal amounts. However, some people may be allergic to thyme and should avoid it. Thyme oil should also be used with caution and diluted before use, as it can be irritating to the skin and mucous membranes.

8. How is thyme used in traditional medicine?

Thyme has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory infections, digestive issues, and menstrual cramps. It is also believed to have antiseptic and antispasmodic properties and can be used to relieve muscle pain and spasms.

9. Can thyme be used in natural cleaning products?

Yes, thyme is a natural disinfectant and can be used in homemade cleaning products. It is often used to clean surfaces and to freshen the air. Thyme oil can also be added to laundry detergent to help eliminate odors.

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