Thyme is a valuable herb with culinary and medicinal benefits. But that’s not all! Check out these six reasons to grow thyme in your herb garden.
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The Benefits of Growing Thyme
This mediterranean plant is in the mint family. Whether you like creeping thyme, common (English) thyme, lemon thyme or French thyme, you will find a variety to suit your needs. It is cold-hardy, and drought tolerant.
The following are some of the benefits you’ll get from growing it in your herb garden.
1: It is easy to grow.
This herb does not take a lot of care. I gravitate toward plants that don’t need much attention, how about you?
Harvest it often to keep it naturally pruned. Otherwise, cut the woody stems back by half each fall.
2: It is good medicine.
Thyme is often used in natural remedies. As an antiviral herb, it is especially helpful with common cold symptoms, coughs, and bronchial infections. Check out my sage and thyme elixir, which is easy to make at home.
It is also a strong antiseptic for cuts, scrapes, acne or sore muscles.
You can buy the essential oil or look for natural products with the active ingredient thymol in it. Or try making your own thyme infused oil (from Herbal Academy), which can be used as a culinary oil in the kitchen, directly on the skin as a moisturizer or disinfecting ointment, or in a salve.
For all of these reasons, it is one of my favorite herbs to grow in the medicine garden.
Would you like to grow food in your front yard without sacrificing curb appeal? Check out my mini guide, The Permaculture Inspired Edible Landscape.
3: Thyme is a delicious culinary herb.
This mediterranean herb can be used both fresh and dried in the kitchen. It is popularly used in a dried poultry herb blend or in herbes de provence seasoning blend.
My favorite: roast potatoes with thyme. Mmmm.
For something different, try making calendula and thyme shortbread cookies or black cherry preserves with thyme.
4: Thyme attracts beneficial insects and pollinators.
This flowering herb attracts a wide variety of pollinators and is especially favored by lacewings, a beneficial insect, for egg-laying habitat. Lacewing larvae are voracious predators of aphids, whiteflies, cabbage moth caterpillars, and many others.
For this reason, I enjoy planting thyme around the edges of the vegetable garden and underneath my fruit trees.
5. It is a pest repellent.
This herb’s strong scent confuses pests sniffing out their favorite crops to devour. This is another reason why I like to plant it around the perimeter of the vegetable garden and underneath fruit trees.
Speaking of pests, it’s also deer resistant. Hurrah!
6. Thyme reduces erosion.
Reducing soil erosion is an important goal in our gardens and landscapes, since we export 3 tons of topsoil per acre per year in America alone.
Recently, I discovered how this herb can reduce erosion quite by accident!
I decided to move a one-year-old plant to a different part of the garden. Imagine my surprise when I dug it up and discovered its 2-foot-deep roots (see picture above)!
The roots have a deep, fibrous growth habit that is perfect for growing on erosion-prone slopes.
Ready to get growing?
As a perennial herb, starting it from seed is a slow practice. However, if you’re short on cash and don’t want to buy seedlings, growing from seed is easy. Plus, you can be sure your plants were grown without chemicals.
I love this 12-herb set of non-GMO seeds, which includes thyme, or try an heirloom variety.
Here are more details on growing, harvesting, and using thyme.
How do you use this multifunctional herb?
yes, I agree with you that there are many benefits of growing thyme, but it seems not easy to grow healthy and great thyme, at least for me, do you have any hacks to share
There are many reasons why it might not grow well for you. It is a mediterranean herb – it doesn’t like water-logged soil. A raised bed, sloped area, or placing it in a pot are some alternatives. It will do fine in USDA hardiness zones 4-9, but if your weather is colder, it might need some deep mulching to make it through the winter.
I love using thyme for its antimicrobial properties – makes a great addition to homemade mouthwash. I haven’t tried the sage-thyme elixir, but I do make a garlic-ginger-thyme-sage honey that kicks a cold every time! Also, a strong thyme-sage tea for gargling – cures a sore throat!
That honey sounds amazing for colds! I’ll have to try that.
would love to know how you make the garlic-ginger-thyme-sage honey, if you wouldn’t mind sharing.
Emma Cooper says
I love the way that thyme can be used as a creeping herb among pathways, giving you lovely fragrance as you walk!
Me, too 🙂
Delphia Brewer says
I am just started this year with herbs. I never used anything more than onions and garlic in my cooking. I love the smell of basil fresh and dry as well as rosemary. I cant hardly wait for my spring garden. I plan to add a green house next to my east side of the house to start my plants in.
Lesley Dobis says
I use thyme as a living mulch at the base of my blackberry bushes
Great idea 🙂
Kika Murphy says
I had a 60cm plant in the pot, so I decided to split into ten plants with roots attached and planted in the garden, they are happy plants!
Jessica Kleiderman says
I have a healthy huge three-year-old thyme plant. I’d love to have more thyme plants around the garden but can’t afford to buy starts. Can I dig it up, divide it and replant?
Yes, dividing herb plants like thyme is a great way to get more plants! I suggest dividing it in early spring or fall when the plant is dormant for best results.
I have tried year after year to grow thyme without success. I’ve always tried in pots though. Should I just bite the bullet and put it in the ground?
In my personal experience, thyme doesn’t do as well in pots because it has roots that like to grow down, down, down. It doesn’t like to be confined. So I plant in the ground. To plant in pots, you’ll likely need to try a bigger, deeper pot.
Gail A Marchand says
I want to use thyme as a ground cover between stepping stones and possible lawn replacement. Currenly I have it growing in large patches in my lawn, I believe it was in droppings from geese or deer. My question, has anyone had experience using it as a lawn replacement and what has been your success?
Creeping thyme is most often used as a lawn replacement, but if it’s simply growing in grass, the lawn will look splotchy b/c the creeping thyme is so short. Likewise, culinary thyme grows taller but isn’t walkable.