Friday 17 March 2017

Propagating Thyme

We use a lot of Thyme in our cooking, so I try to make sure we have plenty of it in the garden. This has proved harder than I expected. I find that it is very susceptible to insect damage - I think from thrips. Whatever it is, they eat away the surface of the leaves, stripping them of the glossy dark green part that contains all the essential oils, and leaving them brown, dry and unappetising.

I am reluctant to spray edible plants like herbs with too many chemicals, so I have been forced to accept that in my garden Thyme needs to be grown as an annual, not a perennial. Most years I buy a few potted Thyme plants and put them either in bigger pots or in the border. This is one of last year's plants:

They get cropped until they succumb as described above, then are replaced by new ones. This can be expensive, but fortunately this year it probably won't be necessary - because of these:

Last Autumn I realised that my most recent batch of purchased Thyme plants had self-seeded after flowering, so I potted-up some of the seedlings and kept them over the Winter in my coldframe. They are now quite decent little plants.

I have planted some of them in the border over by my fruit trees.

I wonder how long they will survive???


  1. Thyme is such a useful herb, improving nearly any dish. Have you tried insecticidal soap to control the thrips, which is the potassium salt of fatty acids? It's virtually nontoxic and should wash off easily in water.

    1. No, I haven't tried it, but I really should...

  2. I love thyme but I can't get the plants to last once it gets hot here, they just die off. I have taken to buying a plant or growing some from seed and harvesting it before it gets too hot and has a chance to die.

  3. Maybe you have cracked the secret of perpetual thyme.

  4. I share your enthusiasm for thyme and would never be without it in the kitchen garden. Does the damage occur in the autumn/winter or spring/summer? It is a Mediterranean herb and although it might not look at its best the flavour is reputed to be best when grown under dry conditions in poor soil!


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