How to Grow Creeping Thyme Plants

An easy-to-grow thyme variety known as “Mother of Thyme” is creeping thyme.

It can be used as a grass substitute or to create a living patio with stepping stones or pavers. Let’s take a closer look at how to care for creeping thyme.

Creeping Thyme Facts

Low-growing perennial Thymus praecox is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 4-9 and doesn’t require much care.

This evergreen creeping thyme variety, which rarely grows taller than 3 inches (7.5 cm), forms low, dense mats that spread randomly and quickly cover large areas as a ground cover.

Another type of creeping thyme is T. serpyllum.

This kind of herb is also edible and has an aromatic and flavorful aroma and flavor similar to mint when crushed or used in teas and tinctures.

Ground cover thyme can be harvested in a variety of ways, including by snipping the leaves from the plant and hanging them in a dark, well-ventilated room to dry.

The best time to harvest creeping thyme is in the morning when the plant’s essential oils are at their height.

Another creeping thyme truth is that it is deer-resistant, making it a good landscape choice for places frequented by deer.

Creeping thyme can also endure being tramped on by rowdy children (thus making it kid resistant! ), making it an excellent choice for planting in areas with a lot of human traffic.

Honeybees love flowering creeping thyme, and it’s a great addition to a honeybee-friendly landscape.

When the thyme is in full flower, the pollen from the blossoms will be used to flavor the honey.

How to Plant Creeping Thyme

Creeping thyme’s compatibility with a wide range of soils and light exposures makes it an easy plant to grow.

Despite the fact that this ground cover needs well-drained, light-textured soil, it may thrive in a variety of light- to full-shade conditions.

Roots of the creeping thyme plant are subject to edoema and root drowning if the soil is kept too damp.

There should be alkaline to slightly alkaline pH in the soil for creeping thyme plants to thrive.

You can cultivate creeping thyme ground cover by cuttings or divisions, or you can buy mature plants or seeds from your local nursery.

Early June is the best time to take creeping thyme cuttings. Sow seeds in the spring after the risk of frost has passed when growing creeping thyme indoors.

Space your plants 8 to 12 inches (20-30.5 cm) apart so that they can spread naturally.

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Maintain a compact appearance by pruning the creeping thyme ground cover in the spring, and then again after the little, white blooms have faded if more contouring is desired.

Pruning

The most difficult part of effectively growing creeping thyme in your yard is repeated pruning.

In the early spring, cut back the stems of creeping thyme so that the plant is ready for the growing season.

Re-prune when the flowers have died back, which is normally at the end of the summer months.

After the first frost in late September, half-prune the woodiest, leggiest stems. Pruning this way in the spring fosters robust, new growth.

Propagating Creeping Thyme

Thyme is a prolific seeder and a willing transplanter. You may revive an older thyme plant by dividing it and obtaining stem cuttings.

Division, stem cuttings, and seeds are all viable methods of propagating creeping thyme.

In the late spring or early summer, the optimal time to divide or take cuttings is.

By Division

A sterile sharp knife or spade is required for division propagation.

Planting in a new container necessitates that the pot is thoroughly cleaned and that the soil is well-drained.

A minimum of three inches of growing space on both sides and below the plant is recommended when choosing a pot.

Before dividing the plant, take sure to water it thoroughly.

  • Using a shovel, dig around the plant in a circle about 3 to 4 inches from the center, and then remove the root ball from its container.
  • Cutting across the center of the plant is the best way to divide it, as long as you preserve as much of the plant’s roots intact as possible. As long as your plant has healthy roots, you can make several cuts. The soil around the roots can be removed by tapping or shaking it off.
  • The plant should be placed in the middle of the pot, with the dirt at the bottom. The plant should have the same soil depth as before. Add soil to the root ball on both sides. The plant should be supported by compacted soil. Until you can see water dripping from the bottom, keep adding water. The dirt should not look to be drenched. It’s best to put it somewhere that gets a lot of suns.

By Stem Cuttings

Sterilized scissors or pruners, a clean pot, and rooting hormone are all you need to successfully reproduce your plant by cutting off its stem.

Cut the stem 4 to 6 inches long, depending on where you cut it. Leaves should be raked up to a depth of two inches.

Plant the stem cutting in the center of a small container filled with fresh potting mix after treating the cut end with rooting hormone.

Locate a bright area for the plant to thrive. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged by watering it regularly.

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Once the plant shows signs of growth, it can be placed in the garden.

How to Grow Creeping Thyme From Seed

Using a quality seed starting mix, you can start thyme from seed indoors before the last frost.

Make sure the mix has a bare layer of additional mix covering the seeds before planting them.

Light is required for the germination of these seeds. Maintain a 65- to 75-degree Fahrenheit temperature range for keeping the water evenly moist.

To moisten the soil, spray it with a water bottle. Within 14 to 21 days, the seeds should sprout.

Seedlings can be transplanted once they have grown 3 to 4 inches, or you can plant them in the ground once frost has passed.

Potting and Repotting Creeping Thyme

Thyme should be given room to grow by planting only one specimen per pot when transplanting.

Window boxes can be planted about one foot apart in containers that are several feet long.

As long as the container has enough drainage holes, any container can be used as long as it is porous.

Take out the plant’s root ball and divide it when it’s too big for the pot.

The smaller division can be replanted in the original container with new potting soil.

The remainder of the division can be replanted in the garden or replanted in a similar container with fresh potting soil.

Overwintering

Thyme is semi-evergreen in colder climates, which means that it will retain most of its greenery and keep its leaves for the most part, but it may lose some of its branches and die back some.

mulching your plants is the best way to keep them safe in USDA zones where temperatures drop below freezing.

Apply it on a day when the temperature has dipped below freezing.

As a result, the soil will remain at a more stable temperature, enhancing the plant’s ability to withstand fluctuations in temperature that can be harmful to plants.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Thyme creepers are vulnerable to mites in hot, dry summer weather. These pests can be effectively treated with insecticidal soap.

Aphids and spider mites on indoor plants are both possible and can be treated with insecticidal soap.

Wet, dense soils can cause root rot in creeping thyme. It will be necessary to get rid of any plants that are infected. 1

How to Get Creeping Thyme to Bloom

Bees love the blossoming creeping thyme, and the pollen from this plant is often used to flavor honey.

The flowers, which have a balsamic or citrus scent similar to the leaves, are also aromatic. Flowers can be white, pink, or purple, depending on the variety.

Thyme flowers do not require deadheading. Unlike other flowering herbs, the flavor of the leaves will not be diminished if the plant bears flowers. It’s possible to eat the flowers as well.

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In spring or summer, it blooms for about three to four weeks. Thyme plants typically don’t bloom in their first year of growth.

It is possible to use a diluted half-strength liquid fertilizer if your plant is already established and not flowering.

In general, thyme doesn’t need enriched soil, but it may be just what the plant needs to encourage flower development.

You can ensure that your thyme will continue to bloom for many years to come by removing the oldest, most woody stems at the end of the growing season.

Common Problems With Creeping Thyme

Creeping thyme is a low-maintenance plant. There are few diseases or pests it can’t resist, and it’s only vulnerable to a few minor issues.

Stems that are made of wood

Age and late season growth can make thyme spindly and leggy. End-of-season pruning of woody herbs encourages new growth for the next season.

During the end of the fall season, after the first frost has passed, or in the early spring, it only needs a little attention.

Pruning should be postponed until after the plant has completed its first growing season. Since you run the risk of damaging healthy new growth by pulling out dead, woody stems, cutting is preferable to removing them.

Yellowing and browning leaves on drooping stems

Yellowing or browning leaves can occur if a thyme plant receives too much water, has poor drainage soil, or is exposed to too much humidity.

Make sure your soil is fast-draining and that there are plenty of holes for water to drain through.

Root rot, a common disease in soil that is too wet for the roots, can be prevented if these parameters are corrected.

Sterilized scissors or pruners can be used to remove dead roots if you pull your plant out of the pot and notice it has black, rotting roots.

Replant the roots in a new pot filled with well-draining soil after they have recovered from their shock.

Thyme plants can become leggy, wilt, or have yellowing leaves if they have too much nitrogen in their soil.

Fertilizers with a high concentration of nitrogen should not be used.

The Plant Withers and Dies

It’s possible that your thyme plant, which typically lives for four to five years, is nearing the end of its lifespan if it begins to turn brown and appears to be drying out and dying.

These include frostbite and root-rot diseases like the one caused by the lack of sunlight.

If the plant’s stems appear to be dead after a harsh winter, cut them back in the spring and it may regrow on its own.

If you want to keep this sun-loving plant happy, make sure you place it where it gets at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.

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