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How To Grow Thyme Indoors

Thyme is a wonderful herb for growing in your garden. There are so many ways that you can use it in your kitchen, such as marinades, rubs, sauces, and salad dressings. Thyme is native to Southern Europe and just needs basic attention to thrive. You can easily grow it indoors or out.

You might be wondering how to grow thyme indoors. The process is actually pretty simple: first, make sure it gets plenty of light. Next, make sure the soil is dry and well-draining. Keep in mind that it prefers being under-watered than over-watered (but that doesn’t mean neglected). Then, once your plant has grown, harvest and use the leaves as needed.

Planting Thyme

When it comes to growing herbs, thyme is fairly easy. It is often used in outdoor gardens in hot, dry locations where irrigation is not needed. Other plants don’t thrive as well in this type of environment. These plants can even tolerate a light frost.

The primary problem with growing thyme indoors is that they need consistent exposure to bright light. Other than that, it’s pretty easy to take care of thyme, which means it’s a great herb for a beginner to start their herb garden.

Now, let’s talk about each of the components to caring for thyme indoors.

Light

As we have mentioned, thyme loves the sunlight and does well when placed in a spot where it’s possible to get light almost all day. Ideally, you should place thyme on a bright windowsill that gets about 8 hours of sun each day. However, if that’s not possible for you, set up some fluorescent grow lights as an alternative.

Soil

When growing thyme, the soil is most likely the most important part. You must make sure that you choose a soil that drains well and stays fairly dry. Thyme is highly likely to develop root rot and can easily be overwatered.

The best option is sandy mixtures and if you plan to use some potting soil that you already have, add some gravel or gritty sand to it. This will ensure that the water will travel quickly through the soil.

It’s very important that the pot/planter you use drains well. Clay or terra cotta are great options for wicking away excess moisture. Thyme is not picky about the pH of the soil and can thrive in a range between 6.0 and 8.0.

Water

Once your thyme plant has established itself, they are resistant to drought and would rather be under-watered than over-watered. You should wait until the soil is dry and then saturate it- then repeat this process. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should neglect it.

Thyme will produce flowers, but this isn’t an indication of over-watering. As long as you trim it back, it will continue to thrive after blooming.

Temperature/Humidity

Once again, thyme does best in hot, arid climates- such as that of the Mediterranean.  Try to keep the temperature between 60° and 80° Fahrenheit. Also, make sure the plants are placed in areas with lower humidity. This means keep them out of your kitchen or bathroom. You may want to get a dehumidifier to keep nearby to dry the air around it out.

Fertilizer

Thyme grows best in soil that doesn’t have many nutrients. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about frequent fertilization. Additionally, you will need to isolate this plant away from others, as planting it with the others will make the soil too rich. If you wish to offer your plant a little boost, you can add some diluted liquid fertilizer early in the growing season, but if you plan to consume the herb, use organic.

Varieties Of Thyme

Thyme is one of the oldest plants to be used in aromatherapy and medicine, so there are lots of different kinds. Common thyme is the most popular in the culinary world- but some of the other popular plants include the following:

  1. Thymus citriodorus: this is referred to as “archer’s gold” and tends to grow closer to the ground, making it look like a carpet once it has established. The bright yellow green leaves have a lemony scent.
  2. Thymus “Silver Queen”: this variety is known for its green-gray leaves and red stems. Often, this is used to fill cracks in stone patios or as an edging along pathways.
  3. Thymus herba barona: this is referred to as “caraway thyme” and is very similar to the caraway plant. It is native to Majorca and Sardinia. It is vine-like and will creep along the sides of pots or beds.

Harvesting Your Thyme

Once your thyme plants have been established, you can begin to harvest them at any time that you need to add a little to your cooking.

Growing Thyme From Seeds

If you want to grow your thyme from seeds, sow them on the surface of a seed starter tray that has been sterilized. Then, place in a bright location. The seeds can sit on the surface of the soil and will begin to sprout in about 2 to 4 weeks. Then, you can carefully transplant them to their “forever home” pots.

How To Propagate Thyme

You can propagate these plants by dividing mature plants. Simply remove the mother plant from the pot and tease the root ball and stems apart until you have at least two smaller plants.

Then, place each one into its own pot and let it rest for 1 week before adding water. Of course, you may not have success with this. While it’s an easy plant to care for, it does not always propagate very well. Sometimes it’s easier just to get new plants and toss out the old ones.

Bottom Line

Overall, thyme is pretty easy to care for. It is a great starter herb for beginner herb gardeners. The biggest thing is to make sure it gets plenty of sun and doesn’t get too much water.

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