Creeping Thyme

rettApril 17, 2007

I saw a photograph in a magazine of creeping thyme cascading down a retaining wall. It was absolutely beautiful. Has anybody grown it? Will it creep much in one year's growth, or will it take several seasons before it really spreads?

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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

I use a lot of creeping Thyme over low rock walls, for me it takes two or three years to really look like anything. Sometimes, depending on the winter it dies off on me, but I love it, so I keep planting more.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 11:29PM
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Steveningen(sunset 17, CA)

It does fantastic for us here in Northern California. Our friends used it for a little Japanese garden and the stuff really took off in the third season. It's worth the wait.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 12:43AM
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memo(Zone 4B Nebraska)

I have some here and there as edging along my brick sidewalk. I interplant with Wave Petunias and Alyssum and it looks great. They all sort of spill over the edges of the bricks.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 2:25AM
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memo : that sounds so you have any pictures ? I am trying to get ideas together for the brick. Thanks for all your lovely comments . Caroline

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 3:54AM
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I use creeping thyme to border my biggest perennial bed. It creeps in this zone, very well.....I usually just take the shovel and chop it back when it gets out of hand. Its easy to control this way. The bees and butterfly's really love it. There can be some problems with it though, wasps and ants will also make their nests/homes in it.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 10:19AM
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I have the elfin thyme, which makes a flat mat. I love it, but the annual reseeders do to, so sometimes it is a pain. I agree about the couple of years to get going. Mine is slowly engulfing a glazed plant saucer I use for a toad bath. Very pretty!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 11:42AM
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Thanks everybody! All of the pictures I've seen of it were really pretty and I thought it would be nice over a small retaining wall and the low brick I have holding the dirt back in my garden.
Last year I grew regular thyme (not the creeping kind) and about 1/3 of the plants did not make it through the winter. I can't wait to get going on it, though. I love all of the suggestions.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 7:08PM
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memo(Zone 4B Nebraska)

No, I'm sorry Caroline, I got a new computer a while back and all my pics are still on the old one. Ask me again in July when things get going really nicely and I'll take a pic for you.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 9:42PM
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I'm in the San Joaquin Valley in CA. I planted creeping thyme seeds in early March. No frost after I planted. There are now tiny seedlings coming up all over the planting bed. It is in full sun. I think it is the thyme, but I'm not sure. It's the same seedling over about 300 sq feet of planting bed. I've heard it's hard to start outdoors from seed, and I'm no expert gardner. Maybe I'm too optomistic. Any opinions?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2008 at 10:37PM
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I sowed Creeping Lemon Thyme last year in between my stepping stones. I kept it wet until the seedlings came up, then it took off on its own, slowly at first. This winter it sent out a system of roots everywhere and when Spring arrived I was pleasantly surprised how far it has spread and how thick a mat it had become. The only thing I have to do now is dig out the weed seeds that wash in or blow in with them, but the Creeping Thyme is doing awesome.
Several varieties would be pretty too, i.e. wooley thyme, Elfin thyme, Lavender thyme, Coconut thyme, Lemon thyme, Lemon thyme and silver leaf or variegated varieties. Lovely!
I want to make a "Thyme Garden Bench" like the one Martin Fish made. (I don't care what anyone says, I like Martin Fish).


    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 3:07PM
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I have several varieties -- lemon, rose and regular thyme. Mine have all expanded to over 2 feet in width in one year in hot, dry conditions. I had 2 of the 3 rose take a hit from the drought, but are coming back strong and will probably catch up with #3. I use them to go down slopes that would be difficult to plant with anything else.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 5:32PM
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How hot is hot? What about the winter cold? Did you start yours from seed?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 11:16PM
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In the summer here in Oklahoma it often gets up into the 90s in July-August and even way up into the 100s! It can be either hot and dry and the air feels like a furnace, or hot and humid and steamy. Winter temps can dip way down anywhere from 20 degrees to -10 degrees or lower. In fact, temps here often fluctuate from one extreme to the other all winter long. We can have hot or warm, sunny or rainy days, sometimes with thunderstorms (and tornadoes), fog, or just drizzle. We can have freezing days and nights with ice, snow, freezing rain and you name it...and some times all of the above in one day, I kid you not. We even have "Thundersnow", which is heavy snowfall with thunder and lightening!
Any plant that can survive here in this state can survive anywhere else.
I planted my Creeping Thyme from seeds.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 1:45AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Thundersnow, didn't know what that was so looked it up. If that isn't what we had on the weekend it was pretty darn close. Freezing temperatures, then hail, then thunder and lightning. It all started friday evening and we woke up to it snowing heavily saturday morning (1 1/2 feet). Most of the snow has gone but it's still very cold here. This is something that we've never experienced in our neck of the woods before.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 9:06AM
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HOT in my garden means south-facing all day sunshine in temps over 90 degrees. In the winter, it's full sun on a sunny day (zone 7) and can be in the low 20's during the night. I planted 2" or 4" pots rather than seeds. If I want thyme in another location, I just take my trowel and pull out a plug of existing clumps.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 10:07AM
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I'm not against buying plants, but seeds are cheaper.
I do the same thing when I need some in another location - dig a plug and it transplants easily. I moved some about 110 days ago and it is already making new branches and beginning to spread.
I love to go the herb festivals and spend hours there. Oh, the heavenly fragrances and the beauty of flowers and foliages. I take a wagon and fill it up with plants! There are dozens of thymes to choose from. I never knew there were so many varieties!
When I lay the stones in my new patio area, I plan to plant all kinds of low growing herbs between those hard, red sandstone rocks. The contrast of the red rock with the many green, gray and silver foliage of plants is gorgeous. Well, that is my plan right now, anyway. :)

I would like to add this about Oklahoma's weather - when we are not having those extreme temps in winter or summer, it is the greatest, most enjoyable weather anywhere. We have long springs and falls most years and plenty of perfect days in between. The wind blows almost all of the time, but on hot days it is a blessing. Thunderstorms are an amazing natural phenomenon!

~ sweetannie4u

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 10:36PM
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Thanks for the info. We have about the same kind of weather, except we don't get many tornados and if rarely ever snows. I really do think it is my thyme coming up. I hate to think I have a crop of weeds that thick and even. Does anyone know if creeping mint can be mixed in the same area as creeping thyme? I found some at OSH and it's pretty, but I don't know if it grows under the same conditions.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2008 at 1:18PM
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Nell Jean

Mints are thugs, suitable only for areas where they cannot invade something else.

The way to determine if your tiny plants are thyme is to pinch off a leaf and smell it.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2008 at 4:29PM
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pfmastin(8 N. Carolina)

Here's a picture of elfin thyme creeping down the side of a strawberry jar. I'd love to see how someone has done it around stepping stones, if anyone has a photo.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2008 at 7:21PM
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Nell, don't I feel stupid. It's an herb, right? I never would have thought to use my nose. TSM. It is definately creeping thyme and I have a bumber crop. Looks just like the pic in Pam's post, just not as thick. Thank you all for being so helpful. I love this site.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 2:46PM
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Now that I've established that I actually have thyme coming up in my flower bed, how much do I water it? The soil is good loamy soil and drains well. I also have one redwood tree and two dwarf orange trees planted in the same area. Will that cause problems? I'd like to plant two more bushes in the bed to help fill the space, the bed is about 100' by anywhere from 5 to 12 feet. It kind of meanders along the levee bank. Suggestions for other compatible plants would be appreciated. I'm hoping the thyme will eventually go up the sides of the levee. Do you think that's possible?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 8:45PM
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