- Plant Type: Perennial, zones 5 to 9
- Sun: Full Sun/Part Shade
- Plant Size: 12 to 15 inches tall
- Culinary Use: Leaves for seasoning, such as Bouquet garni and Herbs de Provence
Thyme is essential for a cook’s garden. Don’t let the tiny leaves of German thyme fool you—they’re packed with more aromatic oils than many larger-leaved varieties. Also called winter thyme because it’s one of the most cold hardy thymes. A small, upright plant, it is great for containers.
Plant in spring or fall. Leaves are evergreen or semi-evergreen, depending on how far North you garden. In hot and humid areas of zones 9 and 10, thyme may suffer in summer; in zone 10, expect it to grow as a cool-season annual.
Plant Spacing: 12-15 inches. Plants Per Person: 2 to 3.
Secrets to Success »
Thyme needs ideal drainage and circulation; it’s perfect for a pot, where it can have well-drained soil and good air circulation. Mulch with fast-drying limestone gravel or builders sand; this helps keep the surface dry for healthier leaves. Prune lightly in spring after the first year, cutting away any old dead stems and trim wayward new growth to shape the plant, but always cut above points where you can see new growth, never to the leafless woody stem. In areas where the ground freezes, cover the plants with a light mulch or pine boughs in winter to help protect from cold.
Harvest and Use »
Pinch off stems and leaves often, but stop about a month before first fall frost to make sure that tops are not too new and tender approaching the cool weather, which would increase chances of cold damage. You can continue harvesting in winter when plants are evergreen. Strip the tiny leaves from the stem and use in soups, beans, vegetables, and meats. Preserve by drying, freezing, or adding to oil, vinegar, or butter.
Try these garden companions »
- Rosemary, lavender, sweet marjoram, parsley, basil, lavender.
- More thyme varieties: lemon thyme, variegated lemon thyme.
- Cabbage, onions, carrots, turnips, potatoes.
- All squash, both summer and winter varieties.