Thyme is among the most useful herbs to have in the backyard. Or, you can even grow them indoors if you make the environment suitable for them. But, even if you smooth out these details you might end up planting your thyme at the wrong time.
If you are wondering when to plant thyme, you should do so in Spring.
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What Time of the Year to Plant Thyme?
You can plant your thyme in spring once the chances of frost have gone or if temperatures aren’t that low, plant them sooner than the last frost.
Spring is the best time to plant your young thyme plants as they need plenty of Sun and warm temperatures.
They can tolerate some cold but not extreme cold and especially frost and snow that arrives in the fall to early spring.
Thyme prefers sunlight and heat and it is pretty much assured of these conditions when spring arises or just 6-10 weeks before the last frosts of spring.
Don’t be in a rush to plant your thyme if you are going to expect more extreme frost in a bit of time! As they will probably succumb to the excessive cold and lack of sunlight.
Can You Grow Thyme in Winter?
Thyme is relatively quite a cold-hardy herb compared to other herbs. However, you cannot grow it in the frost and snow season as this exceeds its tolerance towards cold.
But, if you plan to plant thyme indoors, chances are it will survive when you give it enough artificial light (using a grow light). This grow light will also help in providing higher temperatures which will favor thyme growth indoors.
You will have to bring your thyme in if you live in an area where the weather is always cold and overcast. Thyme will always prevail when growing in the sunniest time of the year.
That said, your thyme will always be best grown in seasons that have warmer temperatures and high sunlight.
How Long Does Thyme Take to Grow From Seed?
It can be difficult to grow thyme from seed, and this technique is generally not chosen for growing thyme.
Germination of thyme seed can take between 14 to 28 days. Even then germination can be much slower and you are assured of uneven growth!
You can obtain thyme seeds by harvesting them from your own thyme plants or buying the seeds from a garden supplies store.
Also, you can begin by sowing your seeds onto sterilized growing media on the surface with little or no soil on top. After they have germinated and taken root you can transplant them in little pots when they are 2 to 3 inches in height.
How Long Does Thyme Take to Grow From Cuttings?
The far quickest way to grow your own thyme plant is through cuttings. You can source these cuttings from your own thyme plant, a neighbor, or a plant nursery.
Take your own cutting by cutting off a 3-inch stem from the tip of the thyme branch. Remove the bottommost leaves of the cutting before planting.
There should be plenty of green growth on them, and the end of the clipping should be more mature and rigid.
You can dip the cutting into the rooting hormone though this is not necessary. Plant the cutting in a container, with potting soil mixed with sand or perlite.
Make sure that you are using sterilized materials. Water it well and do not cover the container in a plastic cover as good airflow is essential. Be sure to put your thyme in an area that receives a lot of bright indirect light.
Ensure that the soil remains moist until growth is visible and the plant is stronger.
In about 6 weeks the thyme seedlings should have a good root structure and can be repotted to a larger container. If you are planting your thyme outdoors, space them 12 to 24 inches apart as they can become quite bushy.
Can You Plant Thyme Indoors?
Yes, thyme can be planted indoors and grown like most other indoor herbs. This is especially easier if you have a hydroponics setup and a miniature thyme variant.
You can easily grow your thyme along with other hydroponic herbs such as Cilantro, Sage, Mint, Basil, Parsley, and Oregano.
The main requirements for growing these herbs indoors are sunlight, water, and a good growing media since the soil will be completely absent.
Best Thyme Growing Conditions
In order for your thyme to thrive you should mimic the conditions where it originates from, which is the Mediterranean region. Continue to read as we go through the conditions necessary to grow thyme successfully, wherever you live.
One thing about the Mediterranean region is that it is hot and provides plenty of sun to thyme plants. If you are planting it outside, be it in the garden or in a container, it should be placed in a spot that gets full sun.
If it’s an indoor plant, place it in a sunny location such as a window ledge or sunroom. Thyme planted in a container has the advantage that you can change its location, as the sun changes its position. Light is an important factor that thyme requires to grow well.
This might sound like strange advice but thyme does not need to have the best soil! Thyme is actually quite tolerant towards a wide range of soils. While this plant is not strict about its fertility requirements.
But if you need an exact example of what soil to plant thyme in, loamy and sandy soils that drain well make the best-suited ones. Thyme does not like moist, wet, water-retaining soils. The reason is that excess moisture encourages root rot in thyme.
When planting your thyme in a container you can put it in a clay pot that can absorb any excess moisture. So lastly any soil will do except moisture-retaining soil that has high clay content.
Once your thyme plants are well established you should water once a fortnight or once every other week. When you water you must water until the plant is completely wet.
Water until the water runs out of the drainage holes at the bottom. After this, you should only water it when completely dry again.
Do not worry if you miss watering your thyme for a few days, thyme is a drought-hardy plant. On the other hand, younger plants or seedlings will need some Tender Loving Care. Water more often until they have settled down and have a good root system.
4. Humidity and Temperature
Thyme has no special requirements when it comes to temperature and humidity. They will do well throughout the year, even battling through some cold spells. That is until there is frost!
You can grow thyme outdoors in USDA zones 5 to 9. But below zone 5 you should consider bringing in your thyme for the winter, as it may not survive.
Thyme does not really need any fertilizer, but if you want you can in spring give thyme an organic fertilizer. Alternatively, feed your thyme a diluted half-strength fertilizer in spring to provide it with enough nutrients to initiate a growth spurt.
Wherever in the USA, you live you’ll want to know when to plant thyme so that it shows optimal growth and you get to harvest adequate amounts regularly
You are best off planting thyme in spring, a few weeks before the last frost is due for the season. That said, you can grow thyme indoors or outdoors depending on whether conditions are favorable or not.
You can choose to grow your thyme from seeds or from cuttings. However, you can choose which one to use based on how fast you want your thyme to grow!
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What season is best to plant thyme?
Late Spring after all frost has passed or just before the last frost of spring is expected is the best time to plant thyme. Additionally, if frosts are not common, you can even plant your thyme in early fall.
Does thyme come back every year?
Thyme is a perennial herb, meaning that it can come back year after year if conditions are suitable. This is an advantage but it can become a problem since thyme can spread rather rapidly to take up a lot of territory in your garden if not controlled properly.
Does thyme spread easily?
Yes, thyme does spread very easily in your garden. It can actually be a very invasive plant that can become very difficult to control and manage. Thus growing thyme in a smaller pot and harvesting regularly can be the best option to prevent thyme from overtaking the garden.