Thymus Information – Care and Maintenance

Basic information about Thymus.  Includes Origin, Growing & Cultivation, Common Pests & Diseases, Interesting Facts & Uses,  and Garden Design Tips.

Thymus Origin

thymus vulgaris Magnus Manske
T. vulgaris by Magnus Manske

The scientific genus name, Thymus, is derived from the common name, Thyme. Which is itself a version of the Greek word meaning ‘to fumigate’.  It was frequently used as a burning herb to get rid of insect pests.

This is a large genus, with over 350 species that are native to temperate regions in North Africa, Asia and Europe.

Growing and Cultivation of Euphorbia

Most species of Thymus prefer full sun and moist but very well-drained soils.  These plants do not enjoy having wet feet!  They can also tolerate more mildly akaline soils and poor, stony conditions than other plants. When established, many Thyme varieties can tolerate drought situations.

It’s recommended to shear or trim back in spring after flowering. That’s in order to keep them neat and prevent any legginess.

Creeping Thyme and many Thymes will spread. Therefore, it is best to plant it where that is desired, or take an aggressive approach to pruning.

This plant can be divided in spring or fall, and cuttings can be taken in summer if desired.


Common Pests and Diseases

Thymus is pretty pest and disease-resistant. Although, it can be susceptible to root rot and gray mold.  To prevent both diseases, leave plenty of air flow (and prune regularly) around stems and leaves.

This plant is deer resistant. That’s because the strong taste of the plant discourages them from nibbling.

Interesting Facts and Uses

Many varieties of Thyme are famous and common culinary herbs and used for essential oils and scents!

The ancient Greeks used this plant as a fumigator to dispel noxious insects.

Thyme was a heraldic symbol in medieval times. It stood for many virtues including graceful elegance, bravery and energy.

In the south of France, Thymus was a very different icon, being sent along with summons to Republican meetings.

Thyme is used in modern herbal medicine as an antiseptic and antispasmodic.


This plant is an absolute MAGNET for pollinators, especially bees!  Thyme honey is widely believed to be one of the best flavored honeys available which thus makes it often labeled and sought after.

Garden Design Tips

Thymus red creeping
Thymus, ‘Red Creeping’

Thymus is available in both small, shrubby forms and creeping varieties. Both of which have use in the landscape.

The more upright Thymes are primarily used in herb gardens, since most of them are more prized for cutting for culinary or scent use, but can also be great in rock gardens or borders.

The creeping varieties create a tough, thick carpet of scented flowers and leaves. Subsequently, that makes it able to sustain substantial crushing underfoot, making it a great choice to plant between stepping stones/pavers or on pathways to create a pleasantly aromatic garden walk.


Purchasing Thymus

To purchase varieties of this plant, please visit our Sun Companion Plants Page.