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April 2010
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Creeping Thyme : how to grow, soil conditions and what care should be taken.

Thyme grows primarily in two different forms; “Creeping Thyme” which is a spreading form of thyme and “Bush Thyme” which grows into a more upright, shrubby plant.

Characteristics of Creeping Thyme

– One of the best low growing ground covers is Creeping thyme.
– Creeping thyme (Thymus praecox ‘Albiflorus’) is a low growing herbaceous perennial ground cover with an attractive fragrance that is a joy to the home garden.
– Small evergreen leaves are dark green in color and tiny rose-purple flowers appear in late spring.
– Creeping thymes grow 2-8” tall and 12” wide while bush thymes grow about 1’ tall and wide.
– Creeping thymes bear leaves that offer a relatively delicate texture for landscape design considerations.
– Butterflies and bees are attracted to thyme.
– Creeping thyme grows about two to four inches high and can spread up to two or more feet in width.
– The leaves are very small, but dense and cover the low growing plants.
– Foliage color varies in shades of light to dark green and the variety ‘Woolly’ thyme has attractive grayish foliage.
– The leaf color of the other varieties seems to vary with flower color, the lighter flowering varieties have lighter foliages.
– They flower in the late spring and early summer. The plants flower so prolifically, you can hardly see the evergreen leaves below.
– Creeping thyme is an easy plant to maintain, as it does not tend to take-over and can easily be confined to a specific area.

Growing habit

– At planting time, prepare the soil by mixing generous quantities of organic humus into the planting soil.
– Established plants can be dug and divided during the cooler spring months of March, April and may.
– When possible avoid fall transplanting, as the cold winter frosts can raise the plants and cause severe winter freeze damage.
– Although dividing is the most popular method of propagation, new plants can also be started from seed.

Sun and Soil Requirements for Creeping Thyme

– Creeping thyme herb plants grow best in a soil with an alkaline pH.
– It is a must that soil be well-drained, too! And far from craving fertilizer, they seem to crave poor soils, like most herb plants.
– Grow these herb plants in full sun if possible, although they will tolerate a bit of shade.


– Thyme should be mulched during the winter months to prevent frost heaving so the gravel mulch would be suitable for use all year.
– As thyme spreads and grows the inner stems can become woody and die back a bit, especially in the center.
– After the thyme is about four years old, or as needed, gently cut out any woody dead parts and replant the rooted outside parts of the plant.

Uses for Thyme

– As ground cover for weed control in landscaping.
– As fragrant plants in a landscape devoted to aromas.
– In the kitchen to season food.
– Medicinally.
– As an herb, thyme is used to flavor not only meats, but also soups and stews, olives and olive oil, breads and desserts.

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