This long-lived perennial is a mainstay of American cuisine
Days to Maturity: 90 from direct sow
Welcome one of the easiest, longest-lived, and most rewarding herbs of all into your garden. English thyme is a mainstay of any self-respecting herb garden, of course, but it’s also a useful plant elsewhere in the garden. A pest repellent, it’s a natural way to keep the veggies and flowering plants looking good. Low-growing and dense, it fills in empty spots in the border nicely. Compact, it fits on the kitchen windowsill without constant pinching. It even makes a fine decorative (and fragrant) edging for any sunny spot.
Thyme is essential in French cooking and has become a mainstay of American cuisine as well. Where would Thanksgiving stuffing be without it? (Not to mention Simon and Garfunkel’s hit song “Scarborough Fair”.) English thyme is the variety most commonly used in cuisine, as the small, gray-green leaves are packed with flavor and easy to harvest by letting the stems dry (after cutting from the plant) for a few days, then simply stripping the leaves.
This plant is a woody perennial (technically a shrub), which will bring you four to five good years of foliage before it should be replaced. (The leaves begin to lose their flavor as the stems grow woodier with age.) If allowed to go to flower, it is a marvelous bee attractant, but if you want to use the foliage in cooking, pinch off the buds as soon as you see them, because the flavor deteriorates when the plant blooms. Thyme is a very pretty flowering plant, however, so we recommend that you also plant a stand of spreading, magnificently flowering Mother of Thyme in the garden to satisfy the bees as well as your own desire for blooms.
Expect this thyme to reach 12 to 18 inches high and about 24 inches wide. The stems are closely packed and short, standing almost straight up. Thyme will wend its way around existing plants in the garden without choking them out, making it a nice choice for filler in a garden that has a few bare areas. And it’s evergreen above zone 6, so it makes a nice winter companion in warmer climates to the ornamental cabbages and kales, the snapdragons and pansies.
Early each spring, cut this plant back to about half its size. This will greatly improve its vigor and branching. Don’t simply shear it—you want to remove the topmost portion of each branch but leave growth on every stem. This simple treatment will result in much more dense, attractive, and healthy plants all season long.
Thyme can take a while to sow, but it isn’t difficult, just a procrastinator. Sow the seeds uncovered in your Bio Dome or seed flats at about 65 to 70 degrees. They should sprout within the month. (Yes, plan ahead.) Once sprouted, they thrive in high light, and may be transplanted into the garden or outdoor container as soon as they have two sets of true leaves. They need full sun, good soil drainage (add gravel or perlite to the soil if this is an issue), and a level of richness to the soil on a par with what you would give a tomato plant. Beyond this, they are famously easy, and it’s such a pleasure to have a perennial returning season after season to the herb garden—not to mention a fragrant, attractive herb fighting off the flea beetles and cabbage pests in the vegetable patch.
(P)Pkt of 100 seeds
Item Form:(P)?Pkt of 100 seeds
Zone:4 – 8
Bloom Start to End:Early Summer
Days to Maturity:90
Seeds Per Pack:100
Plant Height:12 in – 18 in
Plant Width:24 in
Additional Characteristics:Easy Care Plants,?Edible,?Flower,?Bloom First Year,?Fragrance,?Evergreen,?Herbs,?Cut-and-Come-Again,?Pest Fighter,?Rose Companions,?Pruning Recommended
Bloom Color:Dark Rose
Foliage Color:Gray,?Dark Green,?Olive Green
Harvest Season:Early Fall,?Early Summer,?Late Summer,?Mid Summer,?Late Spring
Light Requirements:Full Sun
Moisture Requirements:Moist,? well-drained
Resistance:Heat Tolerant,?Humidity Tolerant,?Pest Resistant,?Cold Hardy
Soil Tolerance:Normal,? loamy
Uses:Cuisine,?Containers,?Ornamental,?Outdoor,?Border,?Ground Cover,?Winter Interest
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