Can Thyme Grow in Shade?[Planting Guide]

A portion of my garden receives full sunlight, while the remaining part is shady. I wanted a herb that has a pleasant pungent smell and clover flavor. After several thoughts, the plant that came to my mind was thyme. This plant is excellent since it can be used as an ornamental and for culinary purposes.

So can Thyme grow in the shade? Yes. Thyme can grow in shade, but in partial shade and not full shade because it is a low-growing hardy perennial plant. Thyme is a fragrant plant with small leaves and thin stems. The most outstanding feature of the herb is that it requires heat. As much as you are planting it in a shaded region, ensure that it receives a portion of sunlight to thrive well. In addition to that, thyme is drought-friendly, so it doesn’t require a lot of water. Studies show that Thyme has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

What are The Varieties of Thyme?

The varieties of thyme include:

Lemon Thyme

Just like a lemon plant, lemon thyme has a fresh scent and taste. Running it won’t give you a hard time; thus can be grown in pots. Moreover, it can be used in smoothies and chicken marinades.

Woolly Thyme

This variety exhibits dense leaves, spreading, and creeping growth. If you don’t love bees around your garden, opt for this variety as it doesn’t bloom. 

Creeping Pink Thyme

The third variety of thyme is the creeping thyme. A heat, and drought-tolerant plant. It thrives well when it is allowed to spread rather than being kept in one area. The tiny pink and plump leaves 

makes it pleasant to be used as ornamentals.

Elfin Thyme

One of the most outstanding features of elfin thyme is its lavender flowers and green leaves. Moreover, it thrives well when it’s allowed to spread on surfaces such as stepping stones and grows slowly.

Lavender Thyme

This plant has pleasant pink flowers and a nice scent and does well in rock gardens.

Juniper Thyme

Juniper thyme has pink flowers and silvery needle-like leaves. On top of that, it is used in preparing several dishes.

Italian Oregano Thyme

This variety of thyme is used in culinary and is tasty thus suitable for any Italian dish. Moreover, it has pink flowers and thrives well when some parts are pruned to encourage growth for your next harvest.

Silver Thyme

It has bright leaves together with white edge-green coloration. It is used in various recipes and has a good taste of color play since it has additional pink flowers.

Caraway Thyme

Caraway thyme is essential in preparing delicious dishes and is also used as a ground cover. In addition, its rosy pink flowers make it suitable to plant in gardens.

Pennsylvania Dutch Tea Thyme

Just like the name suggests, Pennsylvania thyme is suitable for making tea. Moreover, it can be used in any dish. The dark oval leaves and pink flowers make it look pleasant.

Growth Requirements of Thyme

For Thyme to thrive well, it requires the following requirements.

Soil Requirement

Just like Sage, Thyme does well in well-drained soils. Moreover, it requires soil with a pH ranging from 5 to 8. Also, ensure that there is proper drainage to avoid root rots. To achieve better yields, ensure that soil analysis is carried out. It has deficiencies; get a licensed agronomist to correct it to the desired levels. For better results, add 8-10 tons of manure per hectare and plow well before planting the young seedlings.

Water Requirement

The second growth requirement for thyme is water. Therefore, it plays an essential role throughout its growth. However, it can be grown without artificial water because it is a drought-tolerant plant. To produce maximum yields, ensure that it receives at least two irrigations in areas that receive drought. In addition, don’t over irrigate soils that have poor drainage.

Site Requirement

Another essential requirement for thyme is site. The site plays a vital role since it is where your plant will thrive or die. Before planting Thyme, select an area with the best soils, well-drained soils, correct pH, and receive adequate sunlight. Generally, choose a size that has the best conditions favorable to plant Thyme.

Humidity Requirement

Humidity is essential when growing thyme but only in low levels. Thyme accompanied with a lot of moisture are incompatible. This is because they can result in grey mold and rot. When this happens, plants will have stunted growth and may die.

Sun Requirement

Thyme grows best in full sun. If you plant them under the shade, ensure that it receives a good amount of sunlight. On the other hand, planting it in areas that don’t receive enough light will produce low results. 

Fertilizer Requirement

Thyme grows well in soils that are not fertile and unsuitable for other crops. However, you might need fertilizer if you are growing it for commercial purposes. This is efficient in producing high yields for an extended period. To add, ensure that you conduct soil analysis to check if there are deficiencies. If so, find a licensed agronomist to help you take the proper procedures.

How to Plant Thyme

Thyme is a gorgeous plant that originated from the Mediterranean region. For this reason, it does not require a lot of water. The better part is that you can grow in containers, pots, or ground. As a result, planting Thyme won’t give you a hard time. To plant thyme, follow these crucial tips.

  • Since thyme requires heat and sunlight, plant near a sunny window if you are growing indoors.
  • Ensure that you have well-drained soil. You can also accompany them with drought-tolerant perennials.
  • Fertilize with organic matter in early spring.
  • Take cuttings or buy plants as it is challenging to plant thyme from seeds.
  • If you are in the first planting process, put the cuttings indoors for a maximum of 6 to 10 cuttings.
  • Before planting the cuttings, ensure that the temperature is 70 degrees.
  • Ensure that the plant grows 6 to 12 inches in height.
  • Space young plants 12 to 24 inches apart.
  • You can also plant them with cabbages, tomatoes, and rosemary due to similar watering needs.

How To Care For Thyme

Here is a brief description of how you can take care of Thyme:

  • Ensure that the soil is well-drained and water deeply if it is dry.
  • Prune the plant in summer and spring to encourage growth.
  • Take cuttings and plant them indoors in containers.
  • Separate plants that are between three to four years old. This will help create more flavor because a mixture with woody plants won’t give the right taste.

How to Harvest Thyme

If you follow the tips provided above, you’ll achieve healthy thymes, and when it’s time to harvest, your garden will be shining. To harvest thyme;

  • Cut off the top of the plant by measuring 5 to 6 inches, before the plants start to flower. While doing this, leave the woody parts.
  • Harvest thyme in the morning when there is no dew.
  • Avoid washing clean leaves to maintain essential oils and flavor.
  • Harvest when it starts to get leggy.
  • After harvesting, store the fresh plant in a fridge.
  • You can also dry thyme by hanging the leaves in a warm dark area. Ensure that the room is well-ventilated.
  • You can put them in a tray or plate and then allow them to dry. Store in a tight container. 
  • Freezing can also enhance longevity.

What Pests Eat Thyme?

The thyme plant is versatile as it can grow in pots and the garden. The process of planting thyme isn’t complicated, and with the correct tips, your plant will thrive in your yard. However, it can be infested by pests and diseases, and if they are not taken care of, the plant will die. 

Here are some of the common diseases and pests in Thyme.

AphidsGrey mold
Spider mitesRoot rot

How To Control Thyme Diseases And Pests

To control Thyme diseases, do the following things:

  • Remove weeds and other garden debris.
  • Prune severely infested plants.
  • Release commercially available beneficial insects.
  • Use pesticides or neem oil to spot treat pest problems.

Benefits of Using Thyme

The small perennial, evergreen plant contains a variety of uses, from culinary to health benefits. Among them are:

  • Adds flavor to any food such as meat, eggs, and potatoes.
  • Burnt thyme is essential since it helps in getting rid of insects.
  • It is used for decorating purposes since it adds a nice touch to the garden with its lovely foliage.
  • Production of quality honey since bees collect nectar from the flowers.
  • Manufacture of perfumes.
  • Flavoring in toothpaste.

Wrap Up

Thyme is a gorgeous plant to add to your garden. It will not only add flavor and spice your food but also help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. But, above all, the essential thing is following the tips mentioned above to help your herb thrive well. 

Giving Thyme the proper growth requirements such as adequate sunlight, well-drained soils, and controlled humidity will make you get better yields. Make sure to take care of your plant for maximum harvest. In the end, you’ll be able to prepare delicious food and maintain a healthy diet.

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I love nature and fresh food from the garden. That's why I started this gardening journey and decided to share my experience with the world. So far it has been an amazing journey. I hope you will enjoy reading my gardening journal and never be the same again!

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