Creeping Thyme: Flowering Herb And Ground Cover

Creeping thyme is a kind of ‘should have’ crops you see in shiny way of life magazines, with comfortable pink floral carpets cascading over cottage backyard partitions or sprawling throughout a gravel backyard overlooking the ocean, creating an altogether dreamy and aspirational ambiance. Excellent news! It’s very straightforward to recreate this have a look at dwelling. Learn on to find find out how to create your personal little slice of flowering creeping thyme heaven that spreads rapidly by way of your entrance yard.

This fragrant herb, though edible, is used primarily as a backyard panorama software or as a floor cowl, filling gaps between stepping stones and crevices in dry-stone partitions. It may even be used as an alternative choice to a grass garden, rising just a few inches tall, capable of stand up to average foot site visitors, and offering a spectacular imaginative and prescient of pink when in bloom.

There are a lot of advantages to rising the inexperienced leaves and typically white flowers of creeping thyme in your backyard. Low upkeep rising and together with a superb fragrant floor cowl are among the advantages. Each the flowers and leaves are edible, and in contrast to many different herbs, creeping thyme crops don’t lose their taste when in bloom and when the flowers die. Creeping thyme can also be a magnet for pollinating bugs, particularly bees and butterflies, which provides scrumptious taste to the ensuing honey.

Good Merchandise At Amazon For Rising Creeping Thyme:

Fast Care Information

Creeping thyme generally is a very efficient groundcover choice. Supply: Rachel Ford James
Frequent Title(s) Creeping thyme, mom of thyme, wild thyme
Scientific Title Thymus praecox, Thymus serpyllum
Days to Harvest 90-180 days 
Mild Full solar
Water Each 10-14 days.  Drought tolerant
Soil Properly-drained 
Fertilizer Balanced liquid fertilizer
Pests Aphids, spider mites
Illnesses Gray mould, root rot

All About Creeping Thyme

Thymus serpyllum in flower
When flowering, creeping thyme develops a pink to purple mat throughout its foliage. Supply: pellaea

There are two key types of thyme with a low rising behavior that provides rise to the widespread title ‘creeping thyme’: Thymus praecox, also referred to as the mom of thyme, and Thymus serpyllum, generally known as wild thyme. There’s loads of protection irrespective of which thyme selection is chosen. The thymus genus is a part of the mint household, Lamiaceae, and originates from southern Europe and Asia.  

Creeping thyme is a short-lived woody perennial coated in foliage, lasting round 3 to five years earlier than turning into unproductive and spindly. It has a sprawling progress behavior rising to 3-4 inches tall above the bottom (7-10 cm) and 6-18 inches (15-46 cm) unfold. First-year progress is sluggish, however as soon as established, blooming thyme will attain most unfold in round 3 years.

The gray/inexperienced tiny oval-shaped leaves are barely bushy and extremely fragrant. Tender new stems have the perfect taste and strongest aroma. Flowers that butterflies love seem as clusters of small purple/purple, white flowers, and pink or pale pink flowers on the finish of stems in late spring and mid-summer. The inexperienced leaves can be utilized to taste cooked meals resembling soups, casseroles, and stews and the flowers will be added as a garnish to salads so as to add coloration and curiosity. Thymus praecox – or purple creeping thyme – grows barely taller (4 in) than Thymus serpyllum (2.5 in) and has deep, wealthy purple/purple flowers. Most different thyme, together with wild thyme, have white to vibrant pink flowers.

Creeping thyme smells great and is a floor cowl that spreads by way of rhizomes rising throughout the soil floor. This, along with its dense rising behavior, out-competes and smother weeds making it an excellent different to a grass garden, particularly while you plant begins in staggered rows. It’s also non-toxic, making it secure for the entire household, together with pets.

Planting Creeping Thyme

Rising these thymes is simple. They are often began indoors by planting seeds after which transplanted outdoors in late spring or early summer season. It can be divided from a mature plant or grown utilizing shop-bought garden-ready inventory. If you wish to create a creeping thyme garden, then your finest and most economical choice is to plant seeds. 

Begin seeds indoors in early spring for planting out in spite of everything danger of frost has handed. Measure the rising house and calculate the variety of creeping thyme crops you’ll have to cowl this space primarily based on the final word plant unfold, which is 6 to 18 inches (15-46 cm) every manner, relying on the variability. If you wish to obtain full protection sooner, then house crops extra densely. It’s additionally a good suggestion to sow seeds for transplants every year to fill any gaps.

Giant wholesome crops will be divided in spring or fall and planted into new backyard areas or shared with associates and neighbors. Plant creeping thyme in a heat, sheltered sunny spot with well-draining soil. Should you’re rising in containers, add not less than 30% horticultural grit or sand to the compost combine to assist with drainage. Thyme doesn’t wish to have moist ft! In case your soil is heavy, add in plenty of natural matter to lighten the soil.


Mounded thyme growth habit
Many creeping thyme variants have a mounding progress behavior. Supply: YorkRegionGovt

As soon as established, creeping thyme may be very low upkeep. Listed here are some tips about rising creeping thyme to maintain yours trying good all yr spherical.

Solar and Temperature

Creeping thyme likes to develop in full solar with a minimal of 6hrs direct daylight per day. This wonderful floor cowl is hardy in USDA zones 4-9, though frost safety could also be mandatory for colder areas. This consists of white creeping thyme too. A deep mulch of chipped bark across the base of the plant will shield the roots from freezing over winter. 

Water and Humidity

A younger plant ought to have an everyday watering schedule in its first yr to assist roots set up. Established plantings must be watered as soon as each 10-14 days to maintain this drought-tolerant plant in tip-top situation. Don’t go away creeping thyme dehydrated for too lengthy, as these dense mats could not get well in the event that they dry out an excessive amount of. Water deeply utilizing a watering can or hose with water directed on the soil. Don’t over-water, particularly within the cooler months, as moist roots can result in rot and dying of the plant. No watering is required over winter until you’re dwelling in very popular climates. Water container-grown creeping thyme when the pots are fully dry. 


If you’re rising creeping thyme, the soil must be well-drained, gentle, not overly fertile, and ideally barely alkaline. A rock backyard or rocky soil is a wonderful place for this plant. Enough drainage is significant, particularly while you’re rising in pots. Purpose for a 30:70 mixture of compost and drainage supplies like grit or perlite to make sure water can drain away from roots rapidly. Place bricks or pot ft beneath containers to assist with drainage. Creeping thyme will develop fortunately in poor soil resembling rock partitions and rock gardens.


Usually, thyme doesn’t require common fertilizer. In reality, nitrogen-rich fertilizers will produce leggy weak crops. A fall or spring mulch ought to retain moisture and hold crops rising all year long, or use a balanced liquid or delayed-release fertilizer in spring to develop creeping thyme floor cowl lawns. Fish fertilizer utilized on to the bottom cowl works nicely too. 


Pruning is important to rising creeping time. It stimulates new progress to keep up wholesome crops, though strive to not overly prune within the first yr to permit time for crops to ascertain. In subsequent years prune in late fall or early spring to take out any weak, spindly progress. Prune once more to take away spent flowers in mid to late summer season. It’s finest to make use of hand or electrical shears to present a pleasant even end to floor cowl carpets of creeping thyme. For lawns, set the mower blades to a minimal peak of three inches. Any decrease and also you danger slicing into the outdated wooden that will not rejuvenate.  


Thyme will be propagated from seed, stem cuttings dipped in rooting hormone, division, and layering, however as a result of low rising behavior of creeping thyme, the perfect propagation strategies are from seed and division.  Creeping thyme doesn’t produce lengthy sufficient stems to take profitable cuttings with out slicing into outdated wooden, and creeping thymes will naturally layer with none help.

Start rising creeping thyme seeds indoors in early spring for planting out after the final frost has handed. Sow a couple of seeds into small pots crammed with general-purpose soil, cowl flippantly, water, and go away by a heat, vibrant window. Germination can take as much as 28 days and is commonly inconsistent, so persistence is required at this level. Skinny rising seedlings to the two or 3 strongest and develop on till they’re able to be planted out as floor cowl.

To divide your creeping thyme, choose a pleasant, wholesome plant with plenty of stems rising from the bottom. A one- to two-year-old plant works finest and can reside longer than older specimens. Dig up your complete plant, being cautious to not injury the foundation ball. Gently tear or reduce the plant in as many items as you require ensuring that every piece has satisfactory roots connected. Plant every new piece into its new rising place between stepping stones or as a floor cowl, and water nicely. 

Top view of thyme plants
A shot trying straight down into creeping thyme. Supply: jeremylukehill

Harvesting and Storing

Though creeping thyme is used extra for decorative functions, the leaves and flowers will be eaten, so it might be a disgrace to waste these prunings!


Creeping thyme will be harvested as and when wanted all through the rising season. Watch out to not over-exhaust the plant by slicing into the woody stems. Merely snip off the contemporary progress with a pair of scissors. Wash the foliage gently with chilly water to retain as a lot of the important oils and taste as potential.


Freshly picked thyme will be saved within the fridge wrapped in damp kitchen paper or in a zipper lock bag for per week to 10 days. Sprigs of contemporary thyme will be frozen individually on a tray, and as soon as frozen put right into a freezer bag and used to taste soups and stews.

Stems will be laid flat on a mesh tray to dry in a darkish, heat, well-ventilated room to dry. This could take a couple of weeks. As soon as they’re fully dried, crumble the herbs and retailer them in an hermetic container for as much as 18 months.


Thyme creeping out onto concrete
The creeping tendency of Thymus serpyllum can prolong out onto concrete or pavers. Supply: Krista76

Creeping thyme is comparatively pest and disease-free, however like most crops, there are one or two issues to look out for, which we’ve got coated under.

Rising Issues

Many individuals love creeping thyme as a result of it smells great, it has resistance to break from foot site visitors, and it has pretty early summer season blooms. However one of many points individuals have when rising creeping thyme is a lack of flowers. This may be attributed to timing, because the blooming season could not have arrived. It may additionally relate to the truth that virtually each thyme selection (even widespread thyme) blooms take a few years to look. 


Aphids (Aphidoidea) assault the younger new progress on creeping thyme leading to distorted leaves and stems.  They are often handled biologically by way of the discharge of useful bugs that feed on them, resembling ladybug larvae (cococinella septempunctata). Alternately, spray with an excellent natural insecticidal cleaning soap or neem oil.  Squishing aphids with fingers or a fast blast of water can assist scale back numbers.

Spider mites (Tetranychidae) are tiny reddish brown arachnids that reside in massive colonies on the underside of leaves. They thrive in sizzling, dry environments, much like the popular rising situations of creeping thyme.  Proof on crops will be seen as a high quality webbing between stems and a speedy decline in plant well being. Keep away from spraying with pesticides as these mites have constructed up a resistance to many merchandise in the marketplace. Chemical substances also can kill pure predators resembling lacewings and ladybugs.  Take away and destroy the worst affected stems and whole crops if mandatory to stop additional unfold.  Just like aphids, a fast blast of water can assist scale back numbers.


Gray mould, also referred to as Botrytis cinerea, is an airborne illness that may have an effect on any a part of the plant throughout delicate, damp climate. Signs embrace wilting stems, brown leaves, and gray/brown fur on each stems and leaves. Take away and destroy affected crops to stop additional unfold.  Good plant husbandry can assist within the prevention of botrytis, resembling dealing with crops with care when harvesting, clearing away leaves or different decaying particles round crops, watering solely when mandatory, and offering satisfactory spacing to permit good air circulation.

Root rot, also referred to as Rhizoctonia, is a fungus attributable to an excessive amount of watering, poor drainage, and excessive humidity. It primarily impacts crops within the cooler months of spring and winter when they might be sitting for lengthy durations with waterlogged roots. A brand new plant is particularly inclined. The primary indicators of the illness are a scarcity of vigor, adopted by wilting stems and yellowing leaves.  With the primary indicators of root rot, cease watering and permit the soil to fully dry out, and take away any mulches that would stop extra water from evaporating. The place a plant is badly affected, fastidiously dig it up and examine the roots. In the reduction of any roots that seem mushy or brown to a wholesome level. Replant it in a brand new place, with good drainage, or if grown in a pot, a brand new pot with new soil.  If many of the roots are affected, it’s finest to destroy the plant.  Discard any contaminated soil from pots and deal with affected areas with an natural copper-based fungicide.  Disinfect all instruments to keep away from transmitting the illness elsewhere within the backyard.

Continuously Requested Questions

Thymus serpyllum flower head
Thymus serpyllum develops lovely, however small flower heads. Supply: conall

Q: How rapidly does creeping thyme unfold?

A: Vegetation are sluggish to develop of their first yr however unfold rapidly as soon as established, reaching a most unfold of roughly 18 inches inside 3 years.

Q: Does creeping thyme come again yearly?

A: Creeping thyme is an evergreen, short-lived perennial lasting roughly 3 to five years when grown in appropriate situations.

Q: Is creeping thyme invasive?

A: Creeping thyme isn’t an invasive plant. Self-seeding varieties are simply managed, and mature crops solely unfold to round 18 inches throughout.

Q: Does creeping thyme like solar or shade?

A:  As a plant of southern European/Mediterranean origin, all thyme crops choose to develop in full solar however will tolerate partial shade.

Q: Is creeping thyme poisonous to canines?

A:  Creeping thyme is completely secure for all pets.

Q: Will creeping thyme take over grass?

A:  Though it’s a slow-growing plant, creeping thyme will out-compete different crops like grass and weeds.

Q: Does creeping thyme develop within the shade?

A: Vegetation require a minimal of 6hrs direct daylight, so they’ll tolerate partial shade.

Q: Does creeping thyme repel mosquitos?

A: All thymes are believed to repel mosquitos, particularly lemon-scented varieties.

Q: Is creeping thyme edible?

A:  Each the leaves and flowers of creeping thyme are edible.

Q: Does creeping thyme want water?

A: All thyme crops are drought-tolerant, however don’t go away them dehydrated for too lengthy as this will injury the well being of the plant.

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