When plants first go into the ground,
the ground around them actually wicks water away from the plant. So, it is
necessary to keep the root balls moist until the roots become symbiotic with the
soil around them. Mulching when first planted helps to retain moisture and get
the plants off to a successful start.
Normally, Thymes don't require fertilizer or
pruning, especially if your are practicing good organic gardening principles,
like the mulching mentioned above.
Thymes can take partial shade or full sun and
most are hardy to about Zone 5. The Thymus praecox arcticus varieties are
reported by Jo Ann Gardner in her book Herbs
to be hardy in Zone 4.
Most Ground Cover Thymes, but not all, bloom
for about three to four weeks between mid spring and mid summer. A really nice
combination is Caraway Thyme, which blooms early, and
Coconut Thyme, which blooms when
the Caraway Thyme is finished. Just don't plant these too close to each
other or you will end up with all Caraway Thyme. Plant in drifts or sections of
all the same plant. If there is a front put the lower growing Coconut Thyme ( or
any of our other ground cover thymes) there. Caraway is the earliest so almost
any other ground cover thyme can be planted for a later bloom.
Which ones to choose?
Obviously if they bloom for only a short period
of time it is unwise to get too caught up in the color or length of bloom of a
certain thyme. Most
thyme flowers range in color from white to dark pink. Some like Woolly Thyme, do not bloom
at all and make a good choice if bees are to be avoided. It is better to
consider the leaves and the colors they provide, and, of course, how big the
Slower growing thymes for in between
stepping stones include Elfin Thyme,
Pink Chintz Thyme, Mint Thyme,
Woolly Thyme, White Moss
Thyme and Highland Cream Thyme.
is the smallest and has a greenish
gray leaf. It is the logical choice for those two inch spots. It also makes
sense to purchase a plug tray for those small spaces. A plug tray contains 128
small plants whose root balls are about 3/4 of an inch. Just pop them in and keep them moist.
Click here to learn more
about plug trays.
Pink Chintz Thyme and
Mint Thyme are close on the heels of Elfin with similar color
and woolly texture but spreading out further.
Woolly Thyme and White Moss
called Creeping White Thyme) are also slower growing and do well between stones
where space is cramped. Woolly Thyme is the most silver leaved of all the
while White Moss is a lovely chartreuse.
Highland Cream Thyme
is our variegated stepping stone filler. Leaves of soft cream and green make
this tiny thyme a must have for brightening up dark stones.
Faster growing, wider spreading thymes include Pink Lemonade Thyme,
Pink, Caraway Thyme,
Lemon Frost Thyme,
Reiter's Thyme, Hall's
Woolly Thyme and Coconut
Thyme. However, these will mound if there is a plant or wall nearby to
Caraway Thyme has the added interest of red
stems. In fact, Caraway
Thyme is the only culinary Ground Cover Thyme in the bunch. Its Latin name,
herba-barona, alludes to its medieval use to freshen other wise questionable
barons of beef.
Thyme, which smells great and makes a great
container plant, is taller
reaching between 3 and six inches.
Thyme is more of a mounding thyme and
can reach 10 inches. It is variegated green and gold in the spring and fall and
green in summer. It has a refreshing Lemon Scent, but is not culinary.