Often evergreen, these drought tolerant compact plants are a must-have, whether in a kitchen garden, patio pots or edging paths and mixed borders. Especially popular in southern European and Mediterranean cooking, their unique floral aroma and delicious flavour makes a perfect addition to a huge range of savoury dishes.
Sow indoors February to May. Sow thinly 0.5cm deep into small pots of compost. Water well and place in warm, light position, away from cold draughts and out of intense, direct sunlight. Keep the compost just moist and be careful not to overwater, the compost should almost dry out before it is watered again. Seedlings should start to appear in approximately 14-28 days but be patient as germination can be slow. Carefully transplant the seedlings to individual pots when they are large enough to handle. In late May to July, acclimatise plants to outside conditions. Place plants outside in a sheltered spot during the day and bring them inside again at night when temperature fall. Do this for a week or two, until the plants have hardened off. Plant out to a sunny growing position, spacing them 25cm apart. Once established, an occasional liquid feed will help stimulate new leaf production.
Thyme is best sown indoors.
Top Tips About Seeds
- Once the seed packet has been opened, the seeds can be stored in an airtight container until required for further sowings.
- Thyme seeds are best used fresh so be sure to use them up and start again with a new packet if you sow more in future years.
Growing in Containers
Thyme plants are perfect for patio pots, whether by themselves or in mixed containers. They will perform best in a sunny location.
When plants are their small leaves are still relatively few in number so they are at risk of being outcompeted for sunlight by more vigorous weeds, so be sure to keep them weed free. Otherwise Thyme plants are extremely robust and trouble free once established.
Fresh leaves can be picked as required through much the year. Thyme leaves are also perfect for drying because their small size means they dry very quickly and they are rich in aromatic oils which helps them retain a great deal of their flavour.
Ideas on how to use your Thyme
Trim back mature plants vigorously after flowering to stop them getting woody and leggy. The ideal time to do this is when having a BBQ, burning the branches will give add delicious flavour to the food being cooked. The leaves can also be used in pot pourri and in muslin bags to keep wardrobes and sock drawers smelling fresh and fragrant.