Gardening

How to plant thyme

There are a few hundred species in the genus Thymus , the most cultivated being called Thymus vulgaris , the common thyme. Other species of thyme are also grown, being used mainly as a condiment or medicinal herb. Some species are:

Thymus vulgaris – the thyme or common thyme is a perennial plant that reaches from 15 cm to 50 cm in height, with very aromatic small leaves. It is used as a condiment and as a medicinal herb, and has been grown for a few thousand years, being one of the oldest aromatic herbs to be grown. There are many cultivars and several hybrids, some used as ornamental plants in gardens.

Thymus citriodorus – lemon thyme or citrus thyme is a perennial plant that is usually smaller than the common thyme, reaching 10 cm to 35 cm in height. It is also used as a condiment and as a medicinal herb, and can be used to make tea. There are several cultivars of this species, which present varied leaf color and different citrus aromas.

Thymus herba-barona – thyme-caraway is so named because it has an aroma similar to the aroma of caraway. It reaches 10 cm to 25 cm in height and is used as a condiment.

Thymus praecox – creeping thyme is best grown as an ornamental plant, but it can also be used as a condiment or as a medicinal herb. It reaches about 10 cm in height. There are several subspecies and many cultivars of this thyme.

Several species of the genus Thymus besides these are grown as ornamental plants, for use as a condiment and as a medicinal herb.

Climate

Thyme is a plant that can be grown almost anywhere, being tolerant to both low and high temperatures. It grows well if grown in a temperature range of 4 ° C to 28 ° C, but can withstand lower or higher temperatures. However, it can be difficult to grow it in very humid climates.

Brightness

Thymes need high light and should receive direct sunlight for at least a few hours daily.

Ground

The soil must be well drained, light, and preferably fertile, although it can grow even in the poorest soils. These plants are very tolerant of soil pH, but the ideal is that the pH is slightly alkaline. It is easy to grow it on sandy or stony soils.

Irrigation

Irrigate frequently so that the soil is kept slightly moist. If the plants are well developed, there is no problem if the soil dries out superficially for a short period between irrigation. Excess moisture damages the thyme, but on the other hand it grows better if there is no water.

Planting

Thyme can be propagated by seeds, by clumps or by cuttings, the latter two methods being preferred, since planting with seeds requires more time for plant growth and the beginning of the harvest. In addition, some thyme species rarely produce seeds, such as caraway thyme.

The seeds can be sown directly in the final location of the garden, but because they are very small, it is best to sow them in seedlings, small pots or cups made of newsprint, and transplant the seedlings when they have 4 pairs of permanent leaves. Seed germination takes one to three weeks.

Planting by cuttings, that is, by cut branches of healthy adult plants, is the ideal method, as it produces plants that are identical to the mother plant and they take less time to grow until harvest. Cut branches and dip the bottom half of the branch in a container with water until roots emerge, then plant in the final location, or plant the branches in pots that are kept very moist for three or four weeks.

The spacing between the plants can generally be 15 cm to 20 cm. Thyme can also be grown easily in gardeners and pots.

Cultivation

Remove invasive plants that are competing for nutrients and resources.

Thyme is a perennial plant, which can be cultivated for many years, but which becomes woody with age, so productivity will be higher if the plants are renewed every two or three years.

Harvest

Leaf harvesting can begin when the plant is well developed, which usually occurs 60 to 90 days after planting, but the ideal is to harvest when the plant is flowering, as this is when the concentration of essential oils is maximum. Flowers are also used as a condiment.

The taste of common thyme leaves is strongest when they are dry, and this is how they are usually used. The branches can be left to dry in a place without direct sunlight, dry, and that is well ventilated. Lemon thyme or citrus thyme leaves are preferably used fresh. Caraway thyme can be used both fresh and dry.

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