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March 2011
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Lemon Thyme – Thymus x citriodorus

Lemon Thyme is a perennial that grows up to one foot height. It belongs to the genus Thymus x citriodorus and family Lamiaceae. It looks like English thyme and smells like lemon and tastes like lemon and hence the name. It is used in place of lemon juice, lemon zest or lemon flavoring. This is also used for marinating fish or chicken. It has glossy green foliage and is part of traditional Knot garden.
It has culinary uses and can be grown in container. It is best grown in patios or windowsills. It is a fragrant plant. Its flowers are pink in color and the plant needs full sun to grow well. It grows well in Zones 4-11. It is an evergreen perennial and is water conserving. Its leaves are oval to lance shaped and the flowers have whorls that are interrupted and leaf like bracts appear on them.
It has therapeutic and healing properties because of its compounds. It is an aromatic, decongestant, relaxant herb with a strong lemon scent. Its tea cures respiratory problems, including asthma, in children. Its inhalation can relieve melancholy and epilepsy. Its essential oil has thymol which is an antioxidant, antibacterial and antifungal agent. It is used as an expectorant and for loosening phlegm to cough up and relieve the respiratory tract. It relieves diarrhea and fever too and is an antiseptic agent for fungal infections like athlete’s foot. It is used to treat dry coughs, whooping coughs and used as a sedative too. It is known to repel cabbage root flies when grown near brassicas It treats laryngitis, indigestion, gastritis and diarrhea and enuresis in children and externally it is used for treating tonsillitis, gum diseases, rheumatism, arthritis, digestive disorders, sore throats and fevers.
It is a native of the Mediterranean. It is also used as a ground cover and as a potted plant.

Growing conditions for Lemon Thyme

• Plant thyme in full sun and in well-drained soil.
• It grows well in Zones 4-11.
• They need neutral or alkaline soil.
• These plants can be propagated from new clumps and roots too.
• Establish new clumps and transplant them.
• The roots can be grounded after last frost in spring.
• Plant in holes dug that are 3 to 4 inches deep and across.
• Break the root plugs of 1-2 inches across.
• Soak the roots.
• From stem cuttings, take stems that are 3-4 inches long.
• Plant them in the soil and cover in 1/3 of the stem after dipping them in rooting hormone.
• Transplant them after 4-6 weeks in spring.

Care for Lemon Thyme

• Fertilize it for it to grow well.
• Use organic fertilizer but do not over fertilize and the flavor of the thyme might be lost.
• This plant needs full sun and well drained soil.
• Do not place the plants deeper when growing.
• The plants should be 6 to 9 inches apart.
• Mulch around and not on the top of the plant.
• Mulch with 3 inches of organic compost.
• Water well until the soil is moist.
• Trim back the plants in spring.

Photo of this plant.

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