by Jennifer Poindexter
Do you enjoy the fresh flavor of thyme? Would you like to have fresh herbs for culinary uses year-round? By growing thyme indoors, you can have it.
Thyme is a wonderful herb that can be easily grown right in your kitchen window. It does have certain needs that must be met for this growing process to work.
However, if you’re willing to learn, you might be surprised at how smoothly the process can go. If you’d like to grow thyme, in your kitchen, here’s what you should know.
Growing Conditions for Growing Thyme Indoors
When growing thyme indoors, it begins with choosing the right pot. Clay pots are best for growing this herb because it allows the plants to dry fully between watering.
If you don’t have a clay pot, make sure you choose one that has plenty of drainage holes to allow the plants to dry.
Thyme should be planted in sandy, well-draining soil. It also needs to be placed in a window where it’ll receive a minimum of six hours of indirect light. If you don’t have a window where the plant can receive this, consider placing it under grow lights to supplement its lighting needs.
You should also keep your home at 60-degrees Fahrenheit or above. By providing the proper growing conditions, thyme should thrive under your care.
How to Plant Thyme Indoors
When growing thyme indoors, many gardeners opt for purchasing a seedling and transplanting it. If this is your preference, begin by purchasing the plants you like.
Once at home, dig a hole in the soil of your pot, and place the plant in it. The hole should be deep enough to comfortably support the roots of the plant.
When the plant is in the hole, fill it in with the soil in the pot. Press down firmly around the base of the plant to block any air from getting to the roots. If you’d prefer to start your thyme from seeds, you can direct sow two to three seeds in your pot. This is a germination insurance policy.
Cover the seeds, lightly, with soil. Ensure the soil remains moist while the seeds germinate. The pot should be kept in a draft-free sunny location. Grow lights would be helpful during this step in the process.
After three to four weeks, the seeds should begin to sprout. Seeds sprout best in conditions which are 70-degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
If all the seeds sprout, pick the strongest one and discard the rest. Continue to provide water and sunlight to the plant as it grows.
Caring for Thyme Indoors
Thyme isn’t an overly complicated plant to care for while indoors. However, it does require more care than when growing outdoors.
The first thing thyme will need is water. A good rule of thumb is it’s better to underwater thyme than to apply too much water.
This is why I recommend using the deep watering method. Even indoors, you can use this style of watering to ensure the health of your crops.
Place the pot in your kitchen sink. Let water run into the pot until it’s flowing out of the bottom. Leave the pot in the sink to finish draining.
You should use the knuckle test before each watering session to ensure the plant has dried out completely before adding more water.
Stick your finger into the soil next to the plant. If the soil is moist to the second knuckle, don’t add any more water. If it’s dry, it’s time to have another watering session.
The next thing you should do when caring for thyme indoors is to fertilize the plant but only in its early stages of growth.
Apply a balanced fertilizer that’s diluted by half. This will help the plant adjust during its first few weeks of growth.
After this period, leave it alone. Thyme tends to thrive under neglect. If you see thyme forming fibrous stems or flowers, remove them. This will help increase production in the plant.
During the summer months, you can move your thyme outdoors to ensure it gets the proper temperatures and lighting. Be sure to harden the plant off prior to moving it outside over the summer months.
You might feel tempted to propagate thyme, as many gardeners like to grow more plants from their current plants. In most cases, this isn’t recommended with thyme because the plants don’t usually grow well.
Finally, ensure you repot your thyme every two years. When the plants begin to appear root bound, it’s time to divide them to make more plants or move the plant to a larger pot.
If you choose to divide them, remove the plant from the pot. Break the roots apart and transplant the multiple new plants per the instructions above. By performing these few tasks, you’re giving thyme a great chance to thrive under your care.
Pests and Diseases Which Can Impact Thyme While Grown Indoors
There are only a couple of pests and diseases you should be aware of when growing thyme indoors. The most common pests to impact these plants are whiteflies and mealybugs.
Whiteflies will buzz around your plant like small moths. They’ll also suck the sap of the foliage of your thyme.
You can get rid of this infestation by spraying your plants with an insecticidal soap or by applying neem oil to your plant.
The next pest is a mealybug. They’re so white they almost look transparent. These pests will suck the sap from your plant causing abnormal growth and potential death.
You can get rid of mealybugs by wiping the leaves down with rubbing alcohol, spraying the plant with soapy water, or applying neem oil.
The diseases you should be aware of are root rot and mold. Both occur due to overwatering the plant. Avoid overwatering, and your plants should be fine.
Stay alert to the things which could harm your herb, and you’ll have a greater chance of catching things early and avoiding unnecessary harm to your plant.
How to Harvest Thyme
Thyme is simple to harvest. You can harvest the foliage at any time and any size. It boils down to your personal preference.
When ready, you can pluck the leaves or use scissors to remove the leaves from the plant.
Bring the leaves indoors and give them a quick rinse. Place the leaves inside a moist paper towel and put them inside an airtight bag. Store the bag in your refrigerator.
You can use the leaves whole and fresh in the coming days, or you can dry them for later use.
Growing thyme indoors may look a little different than if you were growing it outdoors, but the same facts apply. Give it the right growing conditions, proper care, and stay alert to potential threats, and you should have a thriving plant on your hands.