By Jennifer Poindexter
Do you need a durable, low-maintenance plant for groundcover or use around a walkway? You’ve come to the right place. I have a wonderful idea that many gardeners will love. Have you considered growing creeping thyme? This is a gorgeous flowering plant.
It’s dense and durable. Most importantly, this plant is low-maintenance and edible. If I’ve piqued your interest, let’s discuss how you can go about growing this magnificent plant around your home or garden:
Growing Conditions for Creeping Thyme
As if having a durable, dense plant isn’t wonderful enough, creeping thyme is even a perennial. It grows well in planting zones four through nine.
When the plant isn’t blooming, it’s an evergreen which means it will add beauty to the planting area year-round.
This plant only grows to be approximately three inches tall, is deer-resistant, can survive being walked on repeatedly, and pollinators love it too.
The only real specifications this plant has for growing is it prefers full-sun and well-draining soil. However, even if you can’t provide these elements, the plant will still grow.
If you have an area of your yard or garden which could benefit from this dense and hearty ground cover, you should try it.
How to Plant Creeping Thyme
Creeping thyme is an easy plant to propagate. There are three methods frequently used to get this plant growing in a variety of areas.
The first method of propagation is via division. This is the easiest method. When your plant is well-established, you can dig it up, and use a spade to cut all the way through its root system.
You’ll then transplant the two new plants in a setting, with proper growing conditions, until they become established and require splitting in the coming years.
The second method for propagation is via cutting. You’ll usually propagate cuttings during the summer months because this is the season of new growth for creeping thyme.
Remove a piece of the plant with budding growth on it. Dip the cutting in rooting hormone and plant it in a pot with well-draining soil.
Water the cutting until it has established roots. Be mindful to keep the soil consistently moist without drowning the cutting. You’ll then transplant it into a desired area and care for it as you would any creeping thyme plant.
The last method of growing creeping thyme is via seed. Start the seeds indoors prior to the final frost date. Place them in a grow tray with quality soil.
Keep the seeds evenly watered where they’ll receive adequate warmth and light. Once the seeds have sprouted, continue caring for them until the final frost has passed and the plants are sturdy enough to be transplanted.
When transplanting, ensure you place each seedling one foot apart. This will make sure that they have adequate grow room as they mature.
These are three basic methods for growing creeping thyme around your home. Pick the method that seems easiest for your situation and try your hand at raising this perennial.
How to Care for Creeping Thyme
Creeping thyme is a low-maintenance plant. By following these few basic steps, your plants should thrive.
As with any plant, creeping thyme has water requirements. It’s important to use the knuckle test to determine when your plant needs more water.
The idea is to keep creeping thyme consistently moist without leaving the plant in a soggy state. This is also why well-draining soil is advised.
If the soil remains soggy, the plant will develop root rot which could kill it. Instead, stick your finger into the dirt surrounding your plant.
When the soil is dry to the first knuckle, add water. If the soil is still wet, hold off on watering. Test the soil again at a later date to determine when the soil is fully dry and ready for watering.
Deep watering sessions are also recommended. This allows you to add more water at one time and water fewer days of the week. This ensures water reaches the roots but avoids overwatering.
The only other needs this plant has are fertilizing and pruning. If you plant in nutrient-rich soil, you shouldn’t need to fertilize.
However, if you’re planting in soil that’s lower-quality, consider adding a delayed-release fertilizer one time per year.
When it comes to pruning, you should prune during the spring months. The idea is to cut the plant back to maintain a compressed appearance. Prune again after the plant has bloomed. This pruning is for shaping purposes.
If your plant develops a wooded appearance, this is the older portion of the plant shining through. It could mean it needs more pruning or that it’s time to replace the creeping thyme because it has run its course.
Performing routine maintenance on your plant will keep it healthy and thriving for longer periods. In turn, this will add abundant beauty to the planting space. Take the time and provide basic care for this plant. You’ll be glad you did.
Garden Pests and Diseases for Creeping Thyme
Are you great in the garden? Maybe you’re inexperienced or have a hard time keeping things alive. Either way, you’ll be happy to know that the only battle you’ll face in the garden with creeping thyme is maintenance.
Outside of caring for the plant properly, there are no other threats. Deer hate this plant, and it’s resistant to other pests as well.
Disease won’t even bother this plant. If you need a gorgeous, flowering plant that will add beauty all year long without much fuss, creeping thyme could be right for you.
How to Harvest Creeping Thyme
Creeping thyme is also known as Mother of Thyme. It’s a sprawling variety of the common herb used in the kitchen. If you’d like a different variety of thyme to use for culinary purposes, this could be your chance.
Thyme is part of the mint family and shares a similar flavor profile. Harvesting this herb is simple. When the plant isn’t blooming, use a pair of sharp scissors or shears to cut pieces of the stem away from the base of the plant.
You can also pinch the leaves off the stems, if you need smaller amounts of the herb. Once you’ve harvested the herb, tie the stem cuttings together. They can be hung upside down in a dark location until fully dried.
From there, pull the leaves off the stems, crush, and store in a jar with a lid. If you’d prefer a faster drying method, you can place the stems in the oven on a low heat or dry them in a dehydrator.
The leaves can also be used fresh in the kitchen. Be sure to wash the leaves thoroughly before use for sanitation purposes.
As a quick recap, this plant is dense. It can handle being walked on excessively, deer hate it, pests despise it, disease steers clear of it, but pollinators love creeping thyme.
The plant is an evergreen which blooms during certain parts of the year. It’s also a perennial plant in many planting zones.
To top it all off, this herb can be used in the kitchen. It not only adds beauty to your grow space but also to your food.
Did I mention it was low maintenance, too? Whether you’re searching for a versatile plant or an easy plant to grow for beginner gardeners, creeping thyme might be the right choice for you and your grow space.
More About Creeping Thyme
i would like to know if there are any other plants you can mix with the red creeping thyme as ground cover for low maintenance yard care. we have such poor grass with way too many weeds and trying to find away around this as we are all getting a tad older and busier.