Just like so many herb plants, thyme can grow well at home if you know the right ways in growing thyme. At least there are 4 growing methods you can opt for to get fresh thymes every time you need to season your cooking and get better tasted cuisines.
Knowing Thyme Better
Thymus vulgaris or thyme is a woody perennial that grows low and performs well in sunny and dry condition. This is one best herb that can grow easily in Texas. This herb can grow almost every time. There are so many varieties of thyme you can plant, such as:
1. Woolly thyme
This is a very soft and flat spreading thyme that doesn’t have any scent. Since there is no scent, woolly thyme will be useless for cooking.
2. Golden lemon thyme
Another variety you can choose in growing thyme is the one that has lemon scent. Golden lemon thyme comes with the minty thyme quality. This herb plant will have golden colored variegated leaves.
3. Creeping thyme
The height of this herb plant is just about 2 to 3 inches. It has flowers in magenta, pink, white, or lavender color. This kind of thyme is used as the planting thyme ground cover.
4. Caraway thyme
Here is another low growing variety of thyme. Caraway thyme has caraway scent and pale pink colored flowers.
No matter which type of thyme you’ll choose in growing herbs at home, you need to learn the various methods so you’ll find the right method to apply to your resident.
How to Grow Thyme
First of all, you need to learn the most famous growing thyme method: growing herbs outdoors in your garden soil. Then you can learn 3 other ways such as growing this herb from cuttings, in water, and indoors.
1. Growing Thyme Outdoor
When you decide to grow your thyme outside, make sure you grow it with some other perennial herbs or other plants that are drought tolerant. In order to prepare the ground to grow this herb, you can fertilize the soil with the organic matter such as compost. Then take these steps to start growing thyme.
- It is much easier to grow thyme from the plants you get from any garden center. Planting thyme from the seeds can be done but the growth is slow and the germination may be uneven.
- To start growing herbs as beginners, you need to plant thyme plants from indoors from 6 to 10 weeks right before your area’s last spring frost.
- Plant the young thyme any time but make sure the temperature of your garden soil is 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Plant the young plants in the well-drained soil. Add 9 inches of space between each plant.
- Your plants must grow between 6 and 12 inches tall. If you are interested in growing herbs and spices, combine thyme with tomatoes or cabbage.
Instead of growing herbs from young plants from the garden store, consider getting some thyme cuttings to start growing your own thyme.
2. Growing Thyme From Cuttings
There is a complete growing herbs guide you can take to grow thyme from the cuttings. To take the thyme cuttings, you can clip 3 inches sized cutting from thyme stem’s very tip. Then apply the rooting hormone right on that exposed stem portion. Plant the cutting in vermiculite or sterile sand.
- Take thyme cuttings from some stalks. Make cuttings about 10 inches tall. Use garden shears that are sharp, clean the shears with the rubbing alcohol before you cut every plant. Alcohol will prevent any disease from spreading.
- Cut the stem right below the leaf then remove two leaves sections at node. Don’t pinch off thyme leaves and don’t tear the leaves away from thyme stalk. Doing it is going to ruin thyme’s node and introduce disease.
- Once you have prepared the cuttings, continue growing thyme by placing the stems to the planting medium. Use the sand or soil mix inside the plant tray. You can also use the fresh water to grow thyme without soil.
Follow the steps to grow thyme in the garden above to continue growing your thyme cuttings in the garden. If you want to try planting thyme hydroponically, keep reading to study the steps.
Leveraging hydroponic technique is extremely helpful, especially if you have limited space to grow herbs. By planting thyme vertically, you can also grow some other herbs such as rosemary. To grow thyme with hydroponic technique, there is a growing herbs kit you must prepare.
- Prepare the nutrient formulation for hydroponic.
- Make sure that the hydroponic system’s daytime temperatures are between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Growing thymeand other herbs hydroponically will be easier if the temperatures at night can be 10 degrees Fahrenheit so that the outdoor conditions can be simulated.
- Many herbs you grow hydroponically love well watering technique but they don’t like the constantly wet feet. Great drainage and some oxygen exposure are necessary.
- Indoor conditions that are hot and dry will make your herb plants weak and become more susceptible to whiteflies, aphid damage, and spider mites.
- One of the plants that grows in water is thyme. Consider growing herbs mason jars if you want the simplest medium for your hydroponic herb garden.
Do you need to use led lights to encourage the growth of hydroponic thyme and other herbs? If you decide to use lighting, use the fluorescent fixtures with high output and 6500K tubes. Pick lighting that can run cooler compared to the other halide lamps. Place the lighting between 6 and 12 inches from herbs.
4. Growing Thyme Indoor
Here is another alternative to plant herbs if you have no backyard or garden to grow herbs but you’re also too busy to open the bookand learn about complicated hydroponic techniques. You can learn not only how to grow thyme but also how to grow basil and other herbs indoors to create herb gardens.
- Thyme really loves the sun and would love to be placed or planted in the spot that can get full light access almost all day long. Windowsill that is bright and gets 8 hours of sunlight every day will be the best place to grow your thyme. Combine with other plants to become a special window garden.
- If you own a house that is shaded, you may be wondering about can thyme grow in shade. Simply place your herb plants under the fluorescent grow lighting that will help encourage the growth of your thyme.
- To grow thyme, herbs, and even vegetables indoors successfully you need to choose the best soil mixture. Make sure the soil mixture is well draining and really dry since too wet soil is going to make the thyme roots rot. Use sandy mixture to grow thyme.
- Make sure that the humidity around your thyme is at a minimum level. Do this by placing your thyme plants in the room that is less humid. Bathrooms and kitchens have high humidity so find the other rooms to grow thyme.
- Thyme is extremely easy to grow since this herb prefers soil which has low nutrients. This means you don’t need to fertilize thyme plants frequently. Also, it is important to grow this herb plant inside a container or pot by itself instead of growing peppermint with thyme.
If you really want to fertilize your thyme plant, consider feeding the soil with the liquid fertilizer that has been diluted on the grow season. If you are going to use thyme to season your cooking, fertilize your thyme plants with organic fertilizer.
To help you growing thyme more successfully, here are some tips you must keep in mind:
- Avoid watering your thyme deeply unless your thyme soil is completely dry.
- It is important to prune your thyme plants in summer and spring in order to contain plant growth.
- If you are growing this plant in winter or you live in a very cold area, lightly mulching the soil around your thyme plants will really help especially after the garden ground freezes.
- You must divide the 3 and 4 year old thyme plants or replace them since the older plants have less flavorful leaves and are woodier than the young ones.
- Take some thyme plants cutting from the plants you grow outside in the garden and then plant them in your best pot to get many more thymes when.
Companion & Pests
When growing thyme, consider growing some other plants with this herb. Among so many plants, these are the most recommended companion plants to grow along with garden thyme:
1. Crops in cabbage family
Brassicas such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, and kale are all able to attract aphid, flea beetles, cabbage moths, cabbage loopers, and cabbage worms. Thyme will be a great companion plant for brassicas since it will repel the insect pests and attract ladybugs to fight aphids.
When you plant thyme between the strawberry rows, your herb plant is going to smother the weeds. Thyme plant will also provide the ground cover so that the garden soil will stay moist.
Thyme is one of the natural repellents that will fight against hornworm that attacks tomato plants. By planting thyme close to tomatoes, the herb plant will boost the defenses while enhancing the flavor of your tomatoes.
Thyme is one of the best herbs to grow to improve the flavor of your potatoes. Grow thyme, basil, and chamomile close to your potato plants. Thyme is also able to attract many beneficial insects such as the parasitic wasps that will protect your plants from pests such as Colorado potato beetles.
Rosebush is the best target for aphids and blackflies. If you love your rosebush, make sure you grow thyme close to it since thyme is a brilliant companion plant to protect your rosebush from those pests.
Shallots and thyme must grow together in your garden. Why? Because growing thyme close to shallots will enhance and improve the flavor of shallots.
To accompany your blueberry bush, grow some thyme plants close to the bush. Thyme plants are going to attract the honey bees that can help pollinate your bush. Blueberries also require soil acidity in higher levels and thyme can grow in any pH level so they can grow together harmonically.
One famous problem of eggplant is the garden moths. Fortunately, thyme can be the organic deterrent that will protect your eggplant and help it grow healthily.
While your thyme plants are protecting the other plants in the garden, make sure you help by protecting the thyme plants. Take a really good care of your thyme plants so they won’t be attacked by root rot and gray mold, the common problems of most thyme plants.
Harvest & Storage
After growing thyme, you must learn the right way to harvest thyme plants and store them so you can use them many times.
- Harvest the thyme plants right before your plants start flowering. Simply cut off 5 to 6 inches of the plants’ top. Then leave the woody and tough parts in the ground.
- The best time to harvest thyme plants is in the morning. If the thyme leaves are clean, you should never wash them. Washing clean leaves means removing thyme’s essential oils.
- You can gather 2 crops or more during one harvesting season.
- Always trim your thyme plants every time they become leggy.
After harvesting your thyme plants, it is time to store them in the right ways.
- Store your fresh thyme by refrigerating it. Make sure you wrap it lightly in the plastic before you put it in the fridge. The fresh herbs will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
- You can also dry the thyme before storing it. Hang your thyme sprigs upside down in the dark, warm, and well ventilated area. If you don’t want to hang them, simply place them on the tray and wait for them to dry. Drying herbs in oven can also be an option.
- Once your thyme is dried, store the dried thyme inside the airtight container. Only crush the thyme when you’re ready to use it. If your thyme is in great condition when you dry it, your dried thyme will hold its flavor up to 2 years.
- The last storing method you can choose is freezing your thyme.
Which method will you use to store your thyme?