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Tips on how to Develop a Creeping Thyme Garden

For those who’re bored with consistently mowing, watering, and spraying your garden, a creeping thyme garden is an eco-friendly, low-maintenance, and delightfully aromatic various. Creeping thyme is an fragrant floor cowl associated to the Mediterranean kitchen herb all of us adore. It eagerly colonizes any sunny yard, making a cushiony garden that naturally out-competes weeds.

As a grass substitute, this quick-spreading herb grows low to the bottom, forming a dense carpet of greenery. The tiny blue-green leaves supply a stunning show all summer season lengthy, and in the event you don’t mow, it produces bee-magnetizing fuchsia flowers all through the summer season.

Better of all, this floor cowl is hard, drought tolerant, and remarkably low upkeep. However earlier than you rip out your grass, let’s dig right into a step-by-step information on easy methods to develop a creeping thyme garden the suitable manner.

Does Creeping Thyme Make a Good Garden?

This captivating lawn features a carpet of creeping thyme adorned with charming flowers. The blossoms, in various shades of lavender, create a mesmerizing mosaic, enhancing the lawn's visual appeal.
This easy-to-maintain plant thrives with out mowing or fertilizers, conserving weeds at bay naturally.

This is likely one of the finest garden alternate options as a result of it’s extremely drought-tolerant and low-maintenance. The gorgeous herb stays inexperienced all summer season, even when neighboring turfgrass has turned brown and dormant

This low-growing perennial groundcover doesn’t require common mowing or fertilizer. Its vigorous progress chokes out weeds, so no herbicides or weeding are mandatory.


A close-up of the creeping thyme lawn reveals a stunning tapestry of light purple flowers. Each delicate bloom adds a touch of elegance and color to the lush green backdrop, creating a captivating natural composition.
This floor cowl attracts pollinators and outperforms high-maintenance turfgrass, making it an eco-friendly selection.

Whenever you put creeping thyme head-to-head with high-maintenance turfgrass, this humble herb wins in virtually each class besides worth. The sort of garden is…

As soon as established, this Mediterranean herb tolerates and even enjoys dry soil. It might probably usually subsist on pure rainfall besides throughout the hottest, driest months. Even then, it requires minimal supplemental watering throughout sizzling climate in comparison with a conventional grass garden.

This garden various requires much less mowing, irrigating, spraying, and fertilizing than turfgrass. It grows vigorously with out a lot assist, so you possibly can lay again by the pool or get pleasure from your favourite summer season hobbies whereas realizing your yard continues to be inexperienced.

The bluish-green leaves and vibrant purple or pink flowers add decorative worth to your panorama. With its lush textured foliage, thyme will be reduce low for a manicured look or develop upwards in a cottage backyard type.

Some just like the scent of fresh-cut grass, however the delectable aroma of thyme, when crushed or walked upon, is much more romantic.

Thyme is a hardy perennial in USDA zones 4-9, however it might want some winter mulch in harsher chilly climates.

When moist, thyme tolerates fairly a little bit of strolling and feels good beneath your naked ft.

This fast-growing herb chokes out weeds and prevents undesirable crops from taking maintain in your yard, which means no herbicide or hand-weeding is normally mandatory.

For those who forego mowing and permit your thyme garden to flower, bees and butterflies go wild for the beautiful purple blossoms. You’ll be able to get pleasure from the fantastic thing about native bugs and reap the advantages of pollination in your close by vegetable backyard.

The sturdy scent of thyme makes it a preferred companion plant for a lot of edible and decorative crops. Rising it close to your gardens may also help deter pests like aphids, flies, and mosquitoes.

In case your garden was once a dinner buffet for neighboring deer, you’ll be glad to know that these forest herbivores strongly dislike the scent and style of thyme.

Whereas a typical garden might require mowing each 1-2 weeks, thyme can go a month and even all summer season with out being mowed. The plant naturally grows simply 2-3 inches tall. For a extra manicured look, you possibly can mow each 3-4 weeks, however your yard will nonetheless look nice in the event you don’t have time to crank up the mower.

Thyme is a light-feeding plant that doesn’t require common fertilizer. An excessive amount of nitrogen may cause leggy or weak crops. Compost and a spring software of slow-release fertilizer are normally lots to maintain your new garden pleased.

What Are The Downsides?

A close-up view of the creeping thyme lawn showcases its exquisite flowers and finely textured leaves. The vibrant light purple blooms, nestled among the verdant foliage, provide a harmonious blend of colors and textures.
A thyme garden could also be costlier to ascertain and require extra preparation than turfgrass.

No plant is ideal, so you could marvel what the catch is. A thyme garden is costlier than turf, and it might take extra labor to prep the bottom and get it established. The drawbacks embody…

The seed is pretty costly in comparison with grass. Rising from plugs (seedlings) shouldn’t be very cost-effective until your yard may be very small. You want loads of seeds to ascertain a big space. Topsoil or compost is useful when sowing.

This groundcover is slow-growing in its first 12 months and wants some endurance to get established. Nevertheless, as soon as anchored within the soil, the crops unfold quickly.

Changing a grass yard to a thyme garden requires a good quantity of labor to get began. Luckily, you solely should do it as soon as, and a lot of the work will be accomplished in a single afternoon. We’ll cowl the main points of getting began beneath!

You’ll be able to’t repeatedly stomp throughout thyme like you possibly can with grass. This plant does higher when it may develop freely round pavers or stepping stones. It has a tougher time recovering from heavy foot site visitors when dry.

In case your children or pets usually play within the yard, you could have to preserve thyme mowed so the flowers don’t appeal to too many bees. Whereas bees are typically busy offering ecological advantages, they will sting when startled.

This herb enjoys semi-regular mowing or pruning and may develop into woody if it doesn’t get reduce at the very least twice yearly. Because the crops age, they could develop into spindly or woody on the base. For those who mow or in the reduction of half of the plant’s progress within the spring, it rejuvenates the foliage and retains your garden wanting recent.

2-3 years down the road, even with common mowing, you might be prone to nonetheless have just a few woody crops; these might must be eliminated & changed with youthful crops to maintain the garden recent and scale back the woody progress behavior.

Tips on how to Plant: 6 Easy Steps

A close-up view of the creeping thyme flowers reveals their intricate beauty. The delicate light purple blossoms exhibit a graceful charm, adding a touch of enchantment to the green surroundings.
These crops set up finest in fall or spring, avoiding intense summer season warmth.

Creeping thyme is cold-hardy in zones 4-9. Fall or spring are one of the best occasions to ascertain this perennial garden various. Younger crops have a tough time in intense summer season warmth.

If seeding within the autumn, begin 6-8 weeks earlier than your anticipated exhausting frost. In frigid northern zones, late spring is extra fascinating for sturdy institution. 

1. Smother the Grass

Amidst the vibrant green grasses, a lawnmower efficiently trims the blades with precision. The neatly cut grass creates a tidy and manicured appearance, enhancing the overall aesthetic of the lawn.
To seed thyme efficiently, the labor-intensive step of eradicating present grass is essential.

Earlier than you possibly can seed thyme, you’ll have to take away your garden grass. That is probably the most labor-intensive step, however it should dramatically enhance your thyme garden success.

You have got just a few choices for smothering or eradicating the turf. I extremely suggest mowing earlier than you begin. Put your garden mower on the bottom setting to chop the grass as brief as doable.

Layers of newspaper or cardboard are an straightforward natural solution to smother the grass and weeds. Lay the sheets out in an overlapping style. If utilizing a newspaper, keep away from the shiny magazine-style pages. Break down bins and guarantee all tape is faraway from the cardboard. Furnishings shops are an ideal useful resource for giant sheets of cardboard.

To forestall blowing away, instantly saturate the newspaper or cardboard with a hose. Then shovel compost or topsoil excessive. You’ll be able to seed instantly or depart the paper to smother the soil for 1-2 weeks earlier than planting. As a bonus, the sheet mulching provides natural matter because it decomposes and attracts many useful soil organisms like worms and fungi.

If you wish to get right down to the native soil instantly, use a shovel and rake to dig up the sod and take away it. Take away the total chunks of sod and eliminate them within the trash or yard waste bin. You can even hire a sod cutter out of your native ironmongery shop to make it straightforward to chop the grass into strips and roll them up.

For the least labor-intensive technique, strive occultation or tarping. Use a big silage tarp that’s opaque in coloration (not see-through). Ideally, the tarp ought to be black or darkish inexperienced and marked for panorama or agricultural use. Lay your tarp over the grass for a number of weeks earlier than seeding. Safe the sides with sandbags, easy rocks, or bricks, and add a number of weights within the middle.

Go away the tarp in place for 2-3 weeks to smother the grass. The shortage of daylight will kill any crops beneath, making a clear planting floor in your thyme seeds. When you have loads of perennial weeds or aggressive grasses like quackgrass, you could wish to carry the tarp every week, water the realm, depart it off for a day to encourage re-sprouting, after which cowl the crops once more. This helps exhaust the foundation power of weedy perennials. You’ll be able to repeat as many occasions as wanted till the house is naked.

Though tilling shouldn’t be good for soil well being, a one-time tillage occasion may also help you get your thyme garden established quick. You’ll be able to hire a rototiller from most garden and backyard shops. Put it on a shallow to medium setting (no have to until tremendous deep) and chop up the grass on a sunny day. Go away the grass clippings to decompose in place. You’ll be able to seed instantly or wait 2-3 days for the grassroots to completely die again within the solar.

2. Take a look at Soil and Apply Compost

A soil pH meter is inserted into the dark, rich soil, measuring its acidity. In the background, an array of thriving green plants in the garden provides a lush and vibrant backdrop for this scientific endeavor.
Take a look at your soil and regulate its pH utilizing appropriate supplies if wanted.

Together with your garden’s grass accessible, it’s time to amend and put together for seeding. Creeping thyme is tolerant of a variety of soil situations so long as they’re well-drained. Like its Mediterranean cousins, rosemary and lavender, this plant is prone to root rot and actually dislikes waterlogged soils. 

Heavy clay would require extra in depth amendments. Sandy loam and even gravelly and rocky soil is extra appropriate for a thyme garden substitute.

A impartial to alkaline pH between 6.5 to eight.0 is right for a thyme garden. Take a look at your soil with an at-home soil check earlier than planting. Most turfgrass lawns are already at an acceptable pH, but when your soil is just too acidic, add dolomite lime, wooden ash, baking soda, or crushed oyster shells to boost the pH.

Compost is the secret sauce to a speedy thyme garden institution. This herb is understood to be very sluggish to start out, however in the event you give it a pleasant well-drained compost-rich soil, the seeds germinate and take off rather more simply. Compost improves the soil construction, moisture retention, and fertility for an exquisite and long-lasting natural garden.

Relying on the dimensions of your yard, you possibly can dump store-bought luggage of compost or have a truckload of compost delivered to your property. Ask the dump truck driver to drop the compost as near the garden as doable so you possibly can simply wheelbarrow it round and rake it out easily.

A 1-2” thick layer is right, however deeper is okay. For those who can’t discover high quality compost, topsoil is another choice. The thicker the higher layer, the sooner your thyme will anchor in. This additionally helps kill any remaining grass or weeds beneath.

If the soil beneath your turfgrass is exceptionally compacted or heavy in clay, broad forking can considerably enhance aeration and drainage. The lengthy, sharp tines of this distinctive instrument assist incorporate oxygen into decrease soil ranges so microorganisms can create higher soil construction. The holes supply extra space for compost to seep in so thyme roots can simply attain downward.

Broadforking is a little bit of a exercise, however you solely have to do it as soon as to your yard. This historic instrument may be very straightforward to make use of and is a good funding for any gardener. Lookup a YouTube video prematurely to get your method proper.

3. Select Your Selection

Thyme is available in many types and cultivars for various tastes and climates. All of those crops create a low-growing, dense carpet of fragrant leaves, however some are higher suited to particular aesthetics.

Elfin Thyme (Thymus serpyllum)

An exquisite Elfin Thyme features dainty flowers and tiny leaves. The charming blooms, in shades of pink and lavender, create a delightful contrast against the petite, emerald-green foliage.
This dwarf selection options shiny pink tubular flowers and kinds a dense mat.

This dwarf selection is called ‘Elfin’ for its tiny leaves and compact progress, maxing out at a mere 1-3 inches tall. Good for anybody who hates mowing! The tiny tubular flowers are shiny pink and beloved by pollinators. The plant kinds a good mat of leaves preferrred for big expanses of garden and gaps between rocks or pavers. 

Crimson Creeping Thyme (Thymus coccineus)

 The Red Creeping Thyme flourishes with light purple flowers gracing the lush green foliage. This striking combination of showy blossoms and vibrant leaves evokes a sense of natural beauty and vitality.
This selection spreads horizontally with stems that anchor in place and develop new roots.

Arguably the preferred groundcover selection, this plant has stems that develop horizontally. As soon as the stem touches the soil, it anchors in place and grows new roots from the stem.

The engaging purple flowers seem in late spring and summer season. The fast-spreading behavior tolerates heavier foot site visitors and emits a pleasant basic thyme scent when walked on.

Wooly Thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus)

A close-up of Wooly Thyme reveals its small, oval-shaped leaves covered in a dense layer of fine, soft hairs. The leaves are a vibrant green color with a slightly silvery hue, and they form a lush carpet-like texture.
Wooly thyme’s vigorous, spreading stems are excellent for partially shaded lawns or rock backyard borders.

This pleasantly silver-hued thyme has beautiful little whorls of leaves with a fuzzy texture. The vigorous stems root as they unfold throughout the soil, by no means rising greater than 2” tall. Its delicate look is good for {a partially} shaded garden or alongside pathways and rock backyard borders.

Magic Carpet Thyme (Thymus serpyllum ‘Magic Carpet’)

A close-up of Magic Carpet Thyme showcases its delicate, tiny pink flowers in full bloom. The flowers are clustered along slender stems and create a mesmerizing carpet of color. Each bloom is a symphony of soft pinks and purples.
This selection will certainly impress anybody passing by with its putting magenta summer season garden.

This dwarf cushiony selection is extra-short, darkish inexperienced, and magenta-flowered. It has lemon-scented leaves that type dense mats wherever allowed. This selection will dazzle passersby if you’d like a show-stopping magenta-blanketed garden in the summertime.

Lime Thyme (Thymus x citriodorus ‘Lime’)

A close-up of Lime Thyme highlights its distinctive leaves, which are small and oval-shaped with a bright lime-green coloration. The leaves have a glossy appearance.
Do not forget that this cultivar requires extra frequent mowing because it grows barely taller.

This shiny inexperienced hybrid is prized for its vibrant coloration and citrus-scented leaves. The low-growing mat produces pastel pink flowers in late spring. ‘Lime’ presents a beautiful lime-green hue between rock pavers, however it completely despises moist soil. It grows a bit taller than different varieties (as much as 6”), so it requires extra mowing.

Creeping Thyme Combine

A variety of thymes in full bloom is shown. One has light purple flowers, creating a soothing lavender-like hue. Another has pure white flowers that contrast beautifully with the lush green leaves. The third boasts vibrant green leaves that add a lively touch to the garden.
Purchase a combined thyme seed pack from a good provider to create a charming array of thyme varieties.

Buy a thyme combine from a seed provider for a various patchwork show of eye-catching varieties. These usually embody a mixture of white, pink, and purple-flowered varieties with barely completely different foliage. Shake the bag completely to make sure even distribution.

4. Sow the Seeds

 A large bowl overflows with small, black thyme seeds
Direct seed for an economical garden substitute.

Direct seeding is probably the most economical choice for institution. Alternatively, buy flats of plugs or begin your individual seedlings indoors. Nevertheless, this may be considerably costlier and time-consuming. Solely transplant if in case you have a small garden!

Most lawns have already got sprinklers in place, so that you would possibly as nicely straight sow the seeds and water them with the present irrigation system.

Most residential lawns within the U.S. common 5,000 to 10,000 sq. ft. To calculate the sq. footage, measure the size and width, then multiply them. You don’t must be ultra-precise, however it helps to order the correct quantity of seed so that you don’t run out.

The final sowing price advice is ⅛ pound of thyme seed per 5,000 sq. ft. A big garden will require ¼ to ½ kilos of seed or extra. When unsure, order barely extra seed than you assume you want.

Sow seeds 6-8 weeks earlier than the primary fall frost or 1-2 weeks after the final spring frost. The climate ought to be cool however not too chilly. Keep away from seeding your thyme garden in additional sizzling climate.

Plant seeds about ¼ inch deep and calmly press into the soil together with your palms or ft. You don’t wish to cowl them with an excessive amount of soil, or they received’t have the power to sprout from deep underground.

Sow roughly 2-4 seeds per sq. foot. If transplanting, plant wholesome seedlings 8-12” aside. Once more, there is no such thing as a want for ultra-precise calculations right here. Simply ensure the seeds are evenly distributed throughout the soil floor. If you would like the garden to fill in shortly, sow extra densely.

Broadcast (scatter) them by the handful or use a hand-powered seed spreader for extra even protection. For those who unintentionally drop too many seeds in a single spot, don’t fear! You’ll be able to rake them out or enable them to develop additional thick.

The typical germination time is 14-21 days. For those who don’t get any rain, your new garden will want water 1-3 occasions per week throughout the institution interval. The soil mustn’t dry out throughout germination.

5. Water Constantly

A close-up of Elfin thyme showcases its petite yet captivating features. The blooms are tiny and pink, nestled among small, glossy green leaves that form a dense mat. Delicate, slender stems support the charming blooms.
As soon as the crops are well-rooted, they develop into proof against drought and require much less moisture.

You need to present constant moisture throughout the institution part, which usually lasts 3-4 weeks. Examine on the thyme each day and make sure the soil doesn’t dry out. That is probably the most water your garden will ever want. However whereas doing this, you must also make sure the soil doesn’t develop into soggy or waterlogged.

When completely rooted, the crops develop into drought-resistant and don’t want practically as a lot moisture. This normally begins taking place in weeks 3 or 4. As soon as seedlings emerge and begin filling out, guarantee at the very least 6” between crops for optimum progress. When you have a large yard, crouching down and pruning each part is pointless. Simply make certain there aren’t any thick areas the place seedlings are crammed in opposition to their neighbors. 

You additionally have to take away any main weeds early on. When the thyme finishes spreading, it should choke every little thing else out with out subject.

After the primary month, you possibly can in the reduction of watering to as soon as weekly or much less if there may be rain. The crops will inform you if they’re thirsty by wilting barely or slowing progress. If you’re overwatering or the soil isn’t correctly drained, the crops might flip yellow. On this case, it might assist to broad fork or wait till the soil dries and the crops are higher established.

6. Prune or Mow 1-3 Instances Per Season

A hand skillfully trims a thyme twig laden with leaves using pruning shears. The process is precise and controlled, ensuring a tidy and healthy plant while offering a bounty of fresh thyme leaves for culinary endeavors.
For those who seeded within the fall, you received’t have to do something till the next spring.

Lastly, the straightforward half! After all of the work of creating your new garden, you possibly can sit again and calm down till it grows to a number of inches tall. These yards solely want mowing or pruning just a few occasions per 12 months. Don’t begin mowing till the crops attain 2-3” tall and seem lush and wholesome. For those who seeded in fall, you received’t have to do something till the next spring.

Set your garden mower on a excessive setting for a extra manicured garden to keep away from reducing the thyme too brief. Mow as soon as within the spring and once more in the summertime if the crops develop shortly. This can create probably the most dense, cushiony carpet of shiny bluish-green leaves.

If you wish to benefit from the vibrant thyme flowers, mow within the early spring and keep away from mowing once more till the tip of summer season when the blossoms start fading. Fall mowing may also help forestall woody progress the next 12 months. After that, this plant will deal with itself for years to come back! 

This herb lives for 3-5 years however eagerly self-sows, so the garden can thrive for ten years or extra! It sometimes doesn’t require any main upkeep as soon as established.

Last Ideas

An alternate garden is an unimaginable selection for eco-friendly landscapers and gardeners who wish to spend much less time weeding, watering, and mowing grass. Creeping thyme has the benefit of being drought-tolerant, aromatic, and pest-deterrent. It’s naturally low-growing, so that you solely have to mow a few times a 12 months. 

The important thing to institution is correctly smothered grass and compost software. I like to recommend laying newspaper, protecting it with compost, broad forking, and broadcasting the seed about eight weeks earlier than your anticipated fall frost. Keep steady moisture for the primary month, and watch your thyme fill in all through autumn and winter. The garden can take as much as one 12 months to achieve its full glory, however you must have a pleasant cushion of herbaceous progress by the next spring.



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