All About Thyme: Planting, Growing, Harvesting, Recipes, & More

THE ONE SHEET: THYME

There are over 350 different species of Thyme and its history dates back to around 3000 BC in Persia. The Egyptians used it as a symbol of happiness and good fortune, while the Greeks believed that Thyme would drive away any evil spirts or curses. Today Thyme is a favorite herb used in culinary dishes around the globe, is easy to grow, and is a fragrant perennial evergreen herb that grows in the mint family’s genus.

This fragrant herb gives food an instant flavor boost, but is also celebrated for its many health benefits when eaten fresh, dried, or steeped in tea.

Best outdoor temperature for growing thyme? 

The ideal growing temperate for thyme is around 68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The thyme plant is susceptible to freezing temperatures, so when temperatures drop below 32 in your area, remember to be watchful and move your garden to a protected area if a freeze is coming. Thyme plants will go dormant for winter after a frost. Plant your thyme in a sunny spot that gets 6-8 hours of s sunlight daily. Thanks to their Mediterranean origins, thyme plants thrive in full sun.

What is the best way to harvest thyme? 

For the most flavor from your thyme, trim cuttings in the morning after the leaves are dry from any dew or moisture. When you are ready to harvest thyme, you can pinch or tear off leaves or stems. Take young fresh sprigs or leaves when you are harvesting. Avoid cuttings of the woody parts of the plant. Don’t take more than 1/3rd of the plant at any given time. Thyme thrives from come-and-cut again harvests of a sprig or two. This light-cutting method will stimulate growth into a full and bushy shape.

How much light does thyme need to grow? 

Thyme thrives in the sunlight. In order to grow, this plant needs about 6 or more hours of direct sunlight, so make sure you place it in a sunny spot.

Should I water thyme every day? 

As mentioned above, thyme loves the sun. You may assume that due to all of the sunlight it requires, it needs watering to match that, however, the answer is surprising. Thyme is an ideal herb for dry environments, as it does not require very much watering. Generally, watering is required only every 10 to 15 days. 

Let’s talk taste. 

Thyme is a staple in culinary kitchens and cocktail carts for a reason. It is an earthy, lemony, and even minty flavor that makes it a delicious pairing in many different cuisines ranging from Italian to Middle-Eastern to French. Fresh thyme presents a slightly pungent, spicy but still sweet, savory/clove-like flavor.

What is the best way to plant thyme?

The easiest way to grow herbs like thyme is by taking transplants from a trusted source, like Gardenuity, and planting them in a container garden or in your home garden. We love planting herbs in grow bags, as it keeps them in a controlled environment and allows for ease in moving your plants in and out of the house, depending on weather conditions. 

What are good growing companions for thyme? 

Thyme gets along well with rosemary, marjoram, sage, oregano, and lavender. 

Three recipes with thyme?

Is thyme good for you? 

Thyme is a plant that has been recognized for centuries for its medicinal properties. It boasts anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that make it ideal for many diagnoses. Here are just a few of the many things thyme is good for:

  • Improves acne
  • Extraordinarily high in Vitamin C
  • Boosts immunity
  • Relieves stomach pain
  • Anti-fungal properties
  • Natural pesticide
  • Fights high blood pressure
  • Fights breast cancer
  • Mood booster
  • Relieves a sore throat

Where Does Thyme Get It’s Name From? 

The name thyme is derived from the Greek word “thymos”, which translates to fumigate. This is a great and relevant translation, as thyme adds an earthy aroma and flavor to many of our favorite dishes and cocktails. Furthermore, thyme can be used as incense to calm the mind, as well as relieve pain in the body. Thyme was long associated with courage, bravery, and strength on the battlefield.

What is one thing you might not know about thyme? 

Thyme has been said to have been discovered as far back as 2750 BC, which was discovered by deciphering Sumerian cuneiform tablets, which suggested that thyme was dried and pulverized with water, pears, and figs in order to be used as a poultice. Generally, people grew thyme in gardens and gathered it in the countryside.

The ancient Egyptians used thyme as an embalming fluid, and in ancient Greece, thyme served as incense in temples and as an addition to bathwater. It is also said that the ancient Roman people offered thyme as a cure for people who were wistful or shy. The philosopher, Hippocrates, who lived from around 460 BCE to 370 BCE, suggested that thyme be used as a treatment for respiratory diseases. 

A little more about the benefits of Thyme

Thyme is great for your skin. This fragrant herb is highly efficient at warding off the bacteria that can cause acne as it assists in keeping healthy skin by getting rid of the bacteria. Thyme essential oil can be used as a toner to tighten older skin by diluting it with a little water. It also promotes hair growth by promoting the development of hair by increasing bloom flow to the scalp. With its antimicrobial qualities, thyme oil is found to be beneficial in treating dandruff and preventing hair thinning.