Thyme – fragrant ornamental thyme – and culinary thyme varieties, can add a savory note to summer soups, grilled meats, and vegetables with its pungent, clover flavour.
Thyme is a low-growing hardy perennial, a fragrant herb, with small, fragrant leaves and thin, woody stems, with culinary varieties being evergreen.
There are over 50 varieties, all with different fragrances and flavours, the herb being drought and pollinator friendly – if you let thyme plants flower, bees love this herb.
Thyme can grow in the ground or in a container, with new leaves emerging in early spring, thriving in full sun and needing well-draining soil.
It hates having ‘wet feet’ – so water deeply only when the soil is completely dry.
Prune the plants back in the spring and summer, to contain growth, in early spring fertilise with organic matter.
Every three to four years the plant will need to be divided or replaced, as older plants are woody and the leaves are less flavourful.
Take a cutting, by clipping a three-inch cutting from the very tip of a stem, apply rooting hormone on the exposed portion of the stem, and plant it in either sterile sand or vermiculite.
Roots will emerge within about six weeks. Transfer to a small pot, let the root ball form, and then transfer to a larger pot, or directly to your garden.
Harvest thyme is just before the plant flowers, simply cut off the top five to six inches of growth, leaving tough, woody parts.
Always leave at least five inches of growth, so that the plant will continue to thrive. Trim thyme, whenever it gets leggy and try not to wash the leaves, as it will remove some of the essential oils. Burning thyme can help rid insects in your house.