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Thyme Varieties

Picture of Thyme plant

Thyme may be planted at any time. That is correct. In the mint family Lamiaceae, of which thyme is a part, there are approximately 300 thyme types. For generations, they have been appreciated for their scent, taste, and beautiful habit. With such a diverse range of thyme cultivars, there is a suitable specimen for almost any temperature or setting. Continue reading to learn about the many varieties of thyme plants you may cultivate.

Types of Thyme

Lemon Thyme

Lemon thyme has a subtle citrus scent and bright chartreuse-tinged leaves. This lemony-earthy herb, one of the most aromatic culinary thymes, brings out the natural tastes of fish and poultry while also adding beauty to your herb garden. This plant not only appeals to culinary interest but also attracts beneficial insects and pollinators.

Throughout the summer, whorls of lavender-pink blossoms attract hoverflies, ladybugs, and parasitic wasps, making this herb a perfect companion plant for your vegetable garden. Lemon thyme, like other thymes, prefers full sun and grows well in medium, dry, well-draining soils.

Lemon thyme’s compact, fragrant character allows it to function as a beautiful border plant along your garden beds or to border a walkway, growing to approximately six to twelve inches tall by 12 to 18 inches wide.

It can withstand modest foot activity and, if trodden on, will send soft citrus wafts into the air. Fun fact: this scent works as a defensive mechanism to keep animals from nibbling on the leaves.

Woolly Thyme

Woolly thyme, the woolliest of all thymes, creates a dense mat of small, densely hairy leaves that cover the ground. The leaves have little scent and are unfit for culinary purposes. Tiny pink tubular blooms bloom in the summer. Plants only reach a height of approximately an inch and a width of about a foot.

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Woolly thyme grows nicely in any dry, well-drained location. Woolly thyme’s creeping, cascading behavior is ideal for patios, pathways, gardens, stone walls, and pond margins. It may also be planted between pavers and flows beautifully over stone walls.

The growth is creepy and spreads with dense grey leaves. Woolly thyme flowers seldom, so if you don’t like flower-loving bees, this is the thyme for you.

Creeping Pink Thyme

Pink Creeping Thyme has glossy, dark green leaves that are covered with light pink flowers that emerge from rose-pink buds in early summer. With thick woody stems, this cultivar is very xeric. It is drought-resistant or tolerant (xeric).

When steeped or crushed for teas or tinctures, creeping thyme has a flavor that resembles mint. Another interesting fact about this variety is that, despite its amazing odor, it is animal resistant, making it a perfect landscaping contender in areas where deer might try to eat plants. Creeping thyme can also endure being stepped on by children, which makes it a great option for planting in areas that receive heavy foot traffic.

Elfin Thyme

Elfin thyme is a low-growing herbaceous perennial subshrub with a thick mounding habit that grows one to two inches tall. This small herb is deciduous in cold areas, although it retains its leaf all year in milder climes. In the summer, bees are drawn to the flowers that bloom on the aromatic green to greyish blue leaves. This creeping thyme species is native to Europe and is heat and drought-tolerant and rabbit and deer resistant, making it a charming addition to a natural garden setting.

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A growing elfin thyme’s somewhat fuzzy or hairy leaf looks great among stepping stones, meandering through a rock garden, or even as a forgiving replacement for grassy lawns. These little fellows can withstand high foot traffic and continue spreading while being tromped on, filling the air with their beautiful smell.

Juniper Thyme

The plant reaches a height of 6-8 inches and a width of 6-12 inches. It is utilized as a decorative groundcover as well as a culinary herb. The leaves have a strong spicy flavor and are aromatic. It belongs to the Lamiaceae, or mint, family. Juniper Thyme is another name for it.

Lebanon, Syria, Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey are all home to this herbaceous perennial. It may be found on rocky slopes and mountain steps up to 10,000 feet.

Well-drained and full sun soils are ideal for Juniper Thyme. It thrives in rocky or sandy soils. It’s low-maintenance and drought-resistant. In the spring, the shrub might require some mild pruning.

The plant spreads and becomes naturalized. It is said to be difficult to divide for propagation. The leaves are small, hairy, and linear or lanceolate in form. From early to mid-summer, small purple to pinkish-lilac blooms appear.

Juniper Thyme is a bee and butterfly magnet. It is resistant to deer and rabbits. This low-growing shrub can be used as a groundcover or as a container plant. A pollinator garden, rock garden, or garden border might benefit from it.

Lavender Thyme

Lavender Thyme is a small, low-growing thyme with tough leaves and stems. It has a strong thyme aroma with a trace of lavender, and it has a very clean scent.

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It would make a wonderful rockery plant or filler where there isn’t a lot of walking because it grows to approximately three inches tall and isn’t entirely flat. Its bright green hue and dense blossoms brighten up everything it grows around.

This plant is frequently seen in plug trays. These trays accommodate 128 identical plants. They’re an inexpensive method to fill a lot of space. Each cell is 3/4 inch by 1 inch.

Italian Oregano Thyme

Italian Oregano flowers grow in the early spring.  The thyme grows to a height of around 12 inches. It will blossom for four weeks before ceasing to exist. It’s vital to cut it back 6 or 8 inches once it’s finished blooming to stimulate new, usable growth.

Silver Thyme

Silver thyme is a bushy-growing variety of Lemon Thyme that may be used as a decorative perennial as well as a culinary herb. Plants develop a short, shrubby cluster of small green leaves with silvery-white variegation. Summer brings clusters of lilac-pink blossoms. Silver thyme is one of the finest for cooking due to its exceptional smell and flavor.

Once planted, it is drought resistant. Early spring pruning should be done lightly, but no lower than 4 to 6 inches. It’s not easy to split. Butterflies are drawn to flowers.

Caraway Thyme

Caraway thyme is a creeping perennial that grows to a height of 4 to 10 inches and spreads out to a width of 12 inches. The leaves are lanceolate, dark glossy green, and hairy. The leaf has a pungent caraway scent. Pink flowers with four petals and a pronounced lower lip can be found. They bloom late in the spring and early in the summer, and they attract bees and butterflies.

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Caraway thyme thrives in mediocre soil with little water and plenty of sunshine. The plant’s scientific name comes from its use as a seasoning for cuts of meat in England. It is grown in gardens all around the world. Because caraway thyme is hard to grow from seed, it is commonly acquired as young plants in tiny pots

The essential oil of caraway thyme has antibacterial, deodorant, and disinfecting properties. It’s also used in fragrance, as a mouthwash, and as a folk remedy.