Lemon Thyme(Thymus x citriodus)
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.
- 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%
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.