Creeping Thyme like plant for the shade?

harmonyfarmsJuly 10, 2006

I love creeping thyme and the fact that when it's near a walk it has a nice smell. I have an area in the front that has Clarissa Holly's as foundation plants. I just replanted some variegated liriope in front of it. I would like to plant something like creeping thyme in front of the liriope. Then there will be a pine straw path which goes around to my garden. There is a lot of shade so I didn't think that thyme would work.

Other thoughts?

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My thyme grows in dappled shade, cuz that's all I've got, but I don't think it would do well in full shade. Golden creeping jenny and sweet woodruff do well for me in full shade. I like your combo.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 8:51AM
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aisgecko(7b Raleigh)

Mazus Reptans is also a low growing creeper that can handle shade and has cute purple flowers in the spring. Another thought is golden oregano, but it's not as aromatic as thyme. I'm not sure how much shade it can handle but it grows in a nice thick mat in my part-sun herb garden. I can't seem to get creeping thyme established there, though it might be drainage issues rather than shade. Maybe if I added some sand to the soil around the stepping stones I could get it going. Blue star creeper is another that is said to handle some shade but I have never tried. Granite has previously posted a picture of her gorgeous creeping thyme and blue star creeper path in bloom that makes me drool! Good luck! -Ais.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 9:13AM
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There are some sedums that grow just fine in part shade. All are evergreen. The one I like the best has long blooming small yellow flowers on stalks towering over (up to only about 4") this low growing prolific dark green sedum in the spring. Sedum sexangulare looks like a miniature conifer forest to me. Another one is Sedum lineare that prefers some shade since it cooks in the full sun. It has pale green pointy leaves with white striped edges that would match the variegated Lirope. It doesn't exactly form a flat mat though. Others are: Sedum requieni - a look-alike to Creeping Thyme without the fragrance but I think it needs mostly sun; Sedum makinoi (needs part shade) can be finicky; and Sedum orysifolium 'Taitogome' (sun or shade) which is a true mat but is a very pale green (with white flowers early summer) - that one is my second favorite and might blend nicely with your Liriope.

Blue Star Creeper is an evergreen that might also be acceptable in part shade. It does need some sun to bloom - which is off and on from Spring to Fall. Its redeeming factor is that is has very pretty leaves - but it can get out of control by doing its job -- being a ground cover. Spectacular in bloom - especially 'Dark Blue'. It is sold as either Laurentia or Isotoma as the scientific name.

Mazus repens is a partly evergreen matting groundcover that has lovely tiny pale lilac flowers every so often. There is also a white form. This one forms a loose trailing mat of medium green and is easily controlled, however I let it wander where it wants to especially around and over pebbles and stones.

Nancy the nancedar

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 9:13AM
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aisgecko(7b Raleigh)

Hee, I was writing my post at the same time as Nancy apparently. -Ais.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 9:15AM
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In my shady yard - thyme will grow but doesn't have that full and dense look. The other problem is that I can never count on it to be there. It rots out every other year or so depending on the weather.

My golden oregano works wonders - but it doesn't stay golden during the heat of summer and looks different whether grown in the shade or sun. Both looks are pleasant. Not much aroma.

I have the tiny leaved Lysimachia japonica 'Minutissima' (Miniature Moneywort). Cute little yellow flowers. Handles deep shade and moderate foot traffic. But it is very slow growing in the ground (fast growing in a pot) and gets buried by everything - leaves, other plants etc. because it is so short.

Sedums can give you the look you want - they just won't have the thyme smell. I have that chinese large paddle-leaved sedum and it grows anywhere - deep shade, part sun, full sun, you name it.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 11:33AM
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byrdlady(7b NC)

I just posted this picture under a sedum question but this sedum does well in both shade or sun. I have used it all over including my planting baskets. It is a fairly common low, growing variety.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 3:15PM
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Byrdlady - Great use of Sedum mexicanum.

Nancy the nancedar

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 3:29PM
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byrdlady(7b NC)

Thanks for the name of the sedum Nancedar!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2006 at 2:48PM
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Tammy Kennedy

another thought is pennyroyal. it has a mint smell because it's a mint, but cannot be used culinarily. it creeps if stepped on fairly regularly, and gets to about 4-6" if not. another thought is creeping jenny. it won't be nice gold in the shade, but the little round leaves make a neat mat. they are both rampant spreaders where happy, so beware. i have blue star in partial shade and it's happy and well behaved. if you can find it, there's one that looks a bit like a miniature creeping charlie/henbit that is adorable. little purple flowers, likes moisture- trying to recall the name... cymbalaria muralis; kenilworth ivy. (thank goodness i keep a list of stuff i can't remember that i have!). you know what else could work that none's suggested? the fine leaved ajuga- chocloate chip, i think. again, they are invasive, but could work if kept in check. check the steppables website to get some more ideas- they have lots of strange stuff. good luck! tammy

    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 10:41PM
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For something that tolerates foot traffic, shade, and smells amazing, try corsican mint (Mentha requienii). It is a bright green like baby's tears (Soleirolia soleirolii) but seems more tolerant of dryness. It is very low-growing, feels wonderful underfoot, and makes my guests very happy because of the bright and minty scent.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 4:11AM
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