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ShrubsHerbs - Culinary

Thymus vulgaris
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

common thyme

A bushy, dwarf, evergreen shrub up to 30cm tall and 40cm wide; with small, linear to ovate, aromatic, dark grey-green leaves, and terminal spikes of small, whorled, white or pink flowers in early summer. Thyme is a popular culinary herb, with various cultivars available. The flowers are favoured by bees and other pollinators

Other common names
garden thyme
pot-herb thyme
Synonyms
Thymus vulgaris 'German Winter'
Thymus vulgaris 'Deutsche Auslese'
see moreThymus vulgaris French

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Size
Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
5–10 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green Grey Silver
Summer Pink White Green Grey Silver
Autumn Green Grey Silver
Winter Green Grey Silver
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H5
Botanical details
Family
Lamiaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Evergreen
Habit
Bushy
Genus

Thymus are evergreen woody-based perennials, shrub or sub-shrubs with small aromatic leaves and terminal whorls of small, 2-lipped, tubular, purple, pink or white flowers in late spring or summer

Name status

Correct

Plant range
W Mediterranean

How to grow

Cultivation

Drought-tolerant once established, common thyme is easy to grow in most well-drained, alkaline to neutral soils in full sun. See thyme cultivation for further advice.

Propagation

Propagate by seed, by division or plant rooted basal stem cuttings in spring

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Wildlife gardens
  • Mediterranean climate plants
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

Cut back in spring

Pests

Generally pest-free

Diseases

Generally disease-free

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