Food Gardening Network

Growing Good Food at Home

Choosing to Grow Thyme from Seeds or Seedlings

Thyme seedlings in open soil

Thyme seedlings in open soil

Getting your thyme garden started begins with the choice of how to grow your plants—from seeds, seedlings, or small pots. Thyme grows well from seed, but has a long germination time, from 14 to 28 days. Because of this, thyme is best started indoors where you can control the environment and get a jump on the planting season. Thyme can also be propagated from cuttings by clipping a several-inch piece from the end of a stem, applying root hormone on the bare part of the cut stem, and planting it in vermiculite. Roots will eventually grow, in about five to six weeks. When rooted, transfer the cutting to a small pot and allow a full root ball to form—then, move the plant to a larger pot or plant directly in your garden.

You can purchase potted thyme plants from your local garden store or online, too, though your choice of varieties might be more limited, and the plants will cost more. (An ounce of thyme seeds, on the other hand, can sprout enough thyme to cover an acre of land!) But, if you want a well-established crop the first year, potted plants are the way to go.

Whatever method you choose, you’ll need the right tools and supplies, and follow the best procedures for successful planting and a good harvest for you.

Besides your plants, tools and supplies might include:

  • Spade
  • Trowel
  • Pruning shears
  • Peat pots
  • Containers
  • Grow lights
  • Heat mats

Depending on your set-up situation, you might not need all of these items—or you might be able to do-it-yourself (DIY) on some things.

Have you tried growing thyme from seeds or seedlings? Which method do you prefer—and why? Please tell us how you get your thyme plants started.

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