Growing Thyme Plant:
How to Grow Thyme Organically

Growing thyme is relatively easy as long as you’ve got well-drained soil and a spot with plenty of sun. Taking from their Mediterranean heritage, cantaloupes actually prefer very little water.

Growing Thyme: Plant Snapshot (Thymus vulgaris)

Growing Thyme
  • Family: Labiatae (Mint family)
  • Annual or Perennial? Perennial – ready to harvest approximately 105 days after planting.
  • Recommended varieties: English thyme (German thyme), Lemon thyme, Silver Edge thyme, Wooly thyme
  • Cold tolerance: Usually hardy in most regions – this includes in the mountains, in regions at or near the base of a mountain range, and in coastal plain regions.
  • Required Sun: Full sun (at least 6 hours each day)
  • When planning vegetable crop rotation, group with crops from this family: Lamiaceae (Mint Family): Basil, marjoram, mint, lavender, oregano, perilla, rosemary, sage, savory
  • Companion plants (see Companion Planting Charts for more info):
    • Companions: Cabbage
    • Avoid: None
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Growing Thyme Plant: Planting the Seed

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Thyme can be grown from seed, but we only recommended it for more experienced gardeners. If you do start from seed, plant outside after the last hard frost or start indoors a few weeks earlier and transplant.

Whether you start it from seed, division or a started plant, plant thyme in well-drained soil and be sure that it will get plenty of sun (at least 6 hours per day).

Thyme requires very little watering once it is established.

Snapshot: Planting Thyme Plant

  • Planting depth: about 1/16 inch (1.56 mm)
  • Spacing in rows: about 6-12 inches (15.2-30.5 cm)
  • Germination soil temperature: 60 to 70 degrees F (15.6 to 21.1 degrees C)
  • Days to germination: 16-28 days
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Growing Thyme Plant: From Germination to Pre-Harvest

Where to Find Growing & Plant Care Supplies...

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Thyme prefers hot, sunny locations, and its aroma will be strongest if it is grown in well-drained soils that have low nutrient levels. Your biggest risk with thyme is overwatering, so as long as you don’t have clay soil you should be good to go.

Snapshot: Growing Thyme Plant

  • Preferred soil pH (see soil pH tester for more information): 5.5 to 7.0
  • Growing soil temperature: 60 to 70 degrees F (15.6 to 21.1 degrees C)
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Growing Thyme Plant: Harvesting Time

Harvest the thyme leaves when the plant is large enough by cutting the leafy tops and the flower clusters when the first blossoms open and dry. This can be done all summer long.

Snapshot: Harvesting Thyme Plant

  • Time to harvest: About 12 weeks
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Storing Thyme Plant and Freezing Thyme Plant

Thyme is best when used fresh, but it can be stored long-term after drying. To dry, harvest the sprigs in early fall, tie them together and hang them upside-down in a shady area that is warm and well-ventilated. Then store the leaves, either fresh or dried, in a tightly-lidded container.

Thyme leaves also keep well when frozen.

Thyme seeds will last about 3 years.

Snapshot: Storing Thyme Plant & Freezing Thyme Plant

  • Storage temperature: See below
  • Storage life (refrigerator): At or below 43 degrees F (6 C), about 12 months
  • Storage life (frozen): For unlimited storage life, freeze in airtight container at at least -0.5 degrees F (-18 degrees C)
  • Seed longevity: About 3 years
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Growing Thyme Plant: Pests & Diseases

The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Thyme Plant. For more information about preventing and controlling them, see Organic Garden Pest Control.

Pests

Thyme does a good job at warding off pests. It also attracts several beneficial insects which can be a big help for the rest of your garden as well. There are only a couple of pests that may go after it...

  • Aphids
  • Spider mites

Diseases

  • Botrytis rot
  • Rhizoctonia (root rot)
  • Other fungal
  • diseases
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YOUR Experience & Advice About Growing Thyme Plant

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