Growing herbs such as thyme in your garden or backyard can be a rewarding experience. Whether you’re an experienced gardener looking for a new challenge or just getting started, learning how to plant and care for these seasonal herbs can be a fun and rewarding endeavor. In this article, we will provide some helpful tips on how to properly plant thyme and other seasonal herbs so that you can enjoy their fragrant blooms and flavorful leaves year-round.
Where to plant
Thyme does well in hot weather, enjoys full sun, and doesn’t require ongoing maintenance. Thyme can be grown in gardens and containers. It can be planted close to rosemary because their demands are very similar. Given how much the bees adore thyme, you may also let a few of the plants bloom.
Thyme, like mint, can be difficult to grow from seed. Either layering or propagating from cuttings yields the best results.
- From cuttings: From the very tip of a stem, cut a three-inch cutting, cover the exposed stem with rooting hormone, and plant it in either sterile sand or vermiculite. Within six weeks, roots should start to show. Transfer to a tiny pot, wait for the root ball to develop, then move to a bigger pot or your garden.
- By layering: Take a long thyme stem, leaving four inches of the tip free, and gently fix it along the soil with wire or a U-shaped stake. Make certain that the pinned portion is in contact with the ground. Within a month, the stem will begin to develop roots. Cut the freshly rooted plant off from the parent plant and move it to another area of the garden or into a big pot.
When to plant
No matter the technique you use for propagation, you should only sow young thyme plants once the ground temperature reaches 70°F, or approximately two to three weeks before the last frost.
Tips on growing seasonal herbs
Growing herbs is a great way to add flavor to any dish. In addition, you can enjoy the benefits of having fresh herbs right in your own home. Some several tips and tricks can help you successfully grow seasonal herbs all year long.
What you should do
- Do research: Know the type of herb you want to grow and make sure it is suitable for the season and climate of where you live. Depending on the type of herb, different temperatures can affect their growth rate or cause them to decline quickly. Some will thrive in cool climates while others back away from it in hot climates. Others, though, require a lot of heat to survive.
- Provide enough sunlight: Consider whether you want an indoor or outdoor plant; some herbs need more direct sunlight than others and may not survive indoors for long periods of time. Although most herbs need at least six hours of sunlight every day to develop, many can also be grown successfully in partial shade. Those that enjoy colder temperatures can burn, wilt, or bolt in the afternoon’s heat, therefore they really prefer shade during those times.
- Water properly: Once you have selected an appropriate herb for your environment, be mindful of watering requirements; over-watering can cause root rot while under-watering can starve the plant of essential nutrients.
- Fertilize less: Herbs don’t consume a lot of food, thus they don’t need a lot of fertilizer in their normal maintenance. But infrequent applications, particularly for those in containers, can support robust growth.
- Pruning: Depending on the herbs you cultivate, you’ll need to prune them in a certain way, but for the most part, trimming regularly promotes branching. Additionally, it’s an excellent technique to extend the season once they start to bloom. Remove or pinch off blossom stems as you see them to keep the plant’s attention on leafing.
What you should not do
- Garden invasion: In a garden, herbs like oregano and mint can become quite invasive. Try growing these herbs in pots and burying them in the ground to protect the remainder of your garden plot. These herbs’ roots can be further contained by a pot, which can prevent them from spreading out and taking over the rest of your garden.
- No soil prep: A well-prepared garden with new soil can be quite effective. It is not advisable to use soil that has lost all of its nutrients and cannot provide you with herbs. Your herb won’t feel at home in spent soil that hasn’t been worked, hasn’t had compost added, or hasn’t been worked to uncover fresh soil. A better solution is to work some digested compost into the soil in your garden after turning it over.
- Starting with a seed: You can pick up your own starter plants for the same cost (or less) as a packet of seeds. By doing this, you can start with a healthy plant instead of being disappointed when no plants sprout in the spring.
- Using the wrong pot: If it’s the wrong one, plants that prefer dry circumstances may get root rot, and plants that require water may constantly be thirsty. Herbs that like drier circumstances fare well in terracotta pots, but plants that don’t like dry conditions do better in plastic or glazed ceramic.