German Thyme

(Thymus vulgaris)

Thyme is an easy and practical herb to grow. Highly aromatic, it enhances meat dishes, eggs, cheeses, soups, and sauces, and it is a primary component of both Bouquet Garni and Herbes de Provence. Use it to elevate the flavour of good ole’ beef stew, too. This tiny-leaved thyme is among the most aromatic, more so than larger-leafed varieties. You may also hear it called winter thyme, because it is one of the most cold hardy of all the different thymes. The leaves are evergreen to semi-evergreen, depending on the how far North it is growing. In the warm, humid climates of zones 9 and 10 it may suffer in the summer; in zone 10 it is best to lower your expectations and just consider it a cool season annual.

Thyme is well suited for containers because of its size and the fact that it demands perfect drainage. Give it excellent drainage in a pot and good air circulation. Because it is low-growing and has thin stems and a wiry habit, don’t crowd it because vigorous neighboring plants might choke it out. Upright-growing rosemary is a good companion.

  • Type Perennial in zones 5 to 9
  • Planting time Spring, fall
  • Features Tiny, strongly aromatic and flavourful evergreen leaves
  • Light Full sun to part shade
  • Soil Well drained, on the dry side
  • Plant spacing 12 to 15 inches apart
  • Plant size 12 to 15 inches tall
  • Garden use Herb garden, flower border, containers
  • Culinary use In Bouquet Garni; aromatic dishes

Some Bonnie Plants varieties may not be available in your local area, due to different variables in certain regions. Also, if any variety is a limited, regional variety it will be noted on the pertinent variety page.

Categories: , SKU: 715339012425
At a glance
Nutrition Information

Light requirements Full sun is ideal, but plants can grow in part shade.

Planting Space 12 to 24 inches apart, depending on type. Check plant tags to confirm correct spacing.

Soil requirements Plants grow best in sharply-drained, slightly alkaline soil with a pH of 7.0. Lime soil if needed. Improve drainage and add lime by working limestone gravel into planting areas.

Water requirements Keep soil moist after planting until plants are well-rooted. Once established, plants in beds survive on rainfall. In containers, irrigate whenever soil is dry. Mulch with limestone gravel or builder’s sand to improve drainage and prevent root rot.

Frost-fighting plan German Thyme is perennial in zones 5 to 9; lemon thyme, in zones 7 to 9. Established German Thyme plants can survive hard frosts (under 28º F). Use a frost blanket to protect newly planted seedlings from late spring frosts or prolong the fall growing season. In coldest zones, cover plants with pine boughs after soil freezes to help protect from winter damage.

Common issues Fungus diseases occur in humid climates. In zone 10, thyme is an annual due to high humidity and fungal diseases. Root rot is common in poorly drained soil. Watch out for spider mites.

Growing tip Cut thyme back by one-third in spring, always cutting above points where you can see new growth, never below into a leafless woody stem.

Harvesting Pick leaves at any point in the growing season, although flavor is most intense just before plants bloom. You can also harvest through winter in places where thyme is evergreen. Pick individual leaves, or snip leafy stems to the length you desire.

Storage Keep a few stems in water at room temperature to enjoy fresh clippings for a week. To store in your refrigerator, wrap dry, unwashed stems in a damp paper towel, and stash in a tightly closed plastic bag. Place in a door compartment, which is warmer. Use within 7 to 10 days. For longer storage, dry leaves.

For more information, visit the Thyme page in our How to Grow section.

Nutrition Facts

1 teaspoon, fresh:
  • Calories: 1
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Dietary fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Vitamin A: 1% DV
  • Vitamin C: 2%
  • Vitamin K: 0%
  • Vitamin B6: 0%
  • Folate: 0%
  • Potassium: 0%
  • Manganese: 1%

Nutritional Information

A member of the mint family, thyme is native to Southern Europe and the Mediterranean. With its gray-green leaves and pungent minty, light-lemon aroma, thyme is a staple in most every herb garden. Cooking with thyme adds Vitamins A and C to dishes, which helps with vision and immune functions. Seasoning foods with a combination of thyme, basil, and oregano may ease the discomfort of a sore throat, and thyme is often added to hot teas to reduce chest or respiratory problems. As an oil, thyme has been touted for its antiseptic activities.

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