Thyme is one of the most aromatic herbs! It has tiny leaves and a height of 2 inches to more than 1 foot, depending on variety. The tiny flowers grow in clusters and come in whites, pinks, reds and purples. This plant is native to the western Mediterranean region but it is grown in many gardens across the United States.
Thyme is easily grown from cuttings, root division and even seed. It is best to harvest the leaves just before the plant begins to flower, but anytime is ok. Be careful not to over fertilize your Thyme plants, as they will grow spindly and have a lower oil content. A general rule for outside perennial herbs is to fertilize them when they start to grow in the spring, then one more time eight weeks later.
In central Pennsylvania, a winter mulch will help these plants survive. Plant Thyme in a light, well drained soil in full sun or partial shade. PH should be around 6.3. Thyme is a herb that will grow and spread in the poorest soil or on a stony hillside.
Many parts of the plant are usable: leaves, flowers, stems, essential oil or the whole plant as a decorative, ornamental plant. With so many varieties, Thyme can be used for medicinal, culinary, cosmetic, tea, aromatic, bee plant, industrial, everlasting, house plant, repellent, ornamental, everlasting, potpourri or as a companion plant.
Use Thyme with veal, lamb, beef, poultry, fish, poultry stuffing, sausage, stews, soups, stocks, bread, herbed butters, mayonnaise, flavored vinegars, mustard and beans. Use it with tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, carrots, eggplant, sweet peppers, leeks, mushrooms, asparagus, green beans, broccoli, potatoes, spinach, corn, peas, cheese, eggs and rice. It can be used with lemon, garlic and basil. It is a popular herb in French cuisine with a delicate faint clove after taste. Leaves or sprigs can be used in salads or as a garnish.
Contains thymol - the pure oil should not be used in this form as it can cause adverse reactions such as dizziness, diarrhea, nausea, headache, vomiting, and muscular weakness along with others. The FDA regards this as a safe plant except it should not be used by pregnant women, nursing mothers or adults with thyroid problems. It can be used for nervous conditions, as an antiseptic, fumigator, for asthma, whooping cough, and stomach cramps. An infusion can be used for colic. A poultice of mashed leaves into a paste can be used for inflammations and sores.
Antiseptic and stimulating properties make it useful in herbal lotions, bath and waters. Use it with rosemary as a hair rinse to deter dandruff.
Thyme tea is very mild and works as a digestive aid as it relaxes the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract.
This herb is very fragrant and can be used dried or fresh.
Thyme is used in cough medicine, toothpaste and mouth washes. Thymol is used in colognes, aftershave lotions, soaps and detergents.
Especially loved by bees, honey made in beehives set amidst thyme is said to be one of the sweetest and tastiest available.
Some varieties are creepers and others are upright; but they all make an attractive plant. They can also be used as a ground cover in a sunny location.
Can be dried and used as a wreath base for culinary wreaths or in swags or other dried arrangements.
One of the herbs that does well indoors during the winter season if you give it a good clipping from time to time.
Thyme with its strong aroma is disliked by most garden pest, such as the cabbage root fly and white flies.
This herb will add a pleasant fragrance to potpourri depending on the variety being used.
It is said that thyme is a good companion to most other herbs and vegetable crops, helping to improve firmness, palatability and storage life. It is a good companion to eggplant and cabbage.
An old story told is that wild thyme has long been regarded as a favorite haunt of fairies. Indeed an old recipe describes a tea made from thyme, marigolds, and hollyhock flowers as enabling one to see fairies.
Thyme requires little care, but most culinary varieties need to be replaced about every three years because they become woody and straggly.