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Creeping Thyme Ground Cover

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By Edited Dec 14, 2015 6 11

Growing thyme

Thyme Plants

   Thymus serpyllum, known by the common names of Breckland Thyme, Wild Thyme or Creeping Thyme is a species of thyme native to most of Europe and North Africa. It is a low, usually growing to 2 cm tall with creeping stems up to 10 cm long, with oval evergreen leaves 3–8 mm long. The strongly scented flowers are either lilac, pink-purple, magenta, or a rare white, all 4–6 mm long and produced in clusters. It is a hardy plant that tolerates some pedestrian traffic and produces odors ranging from heavily herbal to lightly lemon, depending on the plant.

   It is an important nectar source plant for honeybees as well as the large blue butterfly which feeds exclusively on wild thyme. All thyme species are nectar sources, but wild thyme covers large areas of droughty, rocky soils in southern Europe. Croatia, Macedonia, Greece, North Africa, Malta, the Berkshire Mountains and Catskill Mountains of the northeastern United States, and New Zealand are especially famous for wild thyme honey and it is related to the mint and Dead Nettle plants.   

   Stepping on a carpet of thyme is a sheer delight, and a this type of  ground cover does not mind. Instead, it releases a fragrance of spice to please your senses.

    Not only is it pleasant to walk on between the stepping-stones they withstand the hot sun, drying winds and will thrive in those hard to mow spots where a touch of green is needed.


   Of the many thyme, the best two known species are common thyme and mother-of-thyme
or creeping thyme.

   Common thyme, consisting of little shrubby bushes, is grown for culinary uses.
Creeping thyme, is used for ground cover on banks, between stepping-stones and as turf.
   The creeping thyme, sometimes called wild thyme, are favored for their fragrance
and gray-green carpet.
    Some of the best of these plants grow under two inches high.

thyme walkway

Examples are;
 Woolly thyme, low green foliage with dainty pink blooms.

 Golden thyme, purple flowers and low dark green leaves mottled with gold.

  Crimson thyme, small, flat, dark green leaves and crimson flowers

White thyme, delicate and slow spreading, with tiny flat, vivid green leaves and white flowers.

  Nutmeg thyme,very spreading, gray and wooly with hairy stems, coarse leaves and pink flowers.

   These are sun-loving plants and are easily grown in well-drained soil.  They are drought and disease resistant. Require very little clipping, training or transplanting.
    Most are hardy over much of the country, but in very cold areas it must be provided with
mulch for winter protection.

   Propagation is pretty easy, especially with the creeping, stem rooting types, just break off a stem
with a root and plant in a spot in your garden, that has rich sandy loam, water generously, and in about a year or less you will have a nice new plant.

plant thyme

   One of the most enjoyable pleasures you'll get from planting creeping thyme is stepping on it.
  This living green carpet will surely delight you with its fragrance.

walk on thyme
Walk on it                                               

Ref. Wikipedia



Oct 7, 2010 6:53pm
Great idea! Anything to avoid mowing is fine with me. I think I'll try it somethyme. :)
Oct 29, 2010 12:26pm
What a wonderful and fragrant alternative to time-consuming, water-wasting, chemical-riddled lawns!
Jun 19, 2011 6:57pm
I have whooly thyme and I love it. I get manu compliments on the flowers, and i had forgotten which thyme cover it was until I saw this article. Thanks!
Jun 19, 2011 7:35pm
Planting thyme as a ground cover is a great idea! You could have a 60's Memorial Garden of parsley, sage, Rosemary, and thyme! It would look great and smell heavenly!
Jun 20, 2011 9:19am
Yes that would be great, think I'd add basil too.
Jun 20, 2011 7:36am
Lynsuz, I plan to find thyme, plant it and achieve this look between my stepping stones. (have been searching the internet for no-mowing ground cover for my back yard!) Timely, good article.
Jun 20, 2011 9:20am
Yes, and would make a good article for you to add to your cottage series.
Nov 22, 2011 11:09am
Nicely done and informative article on creeping thyme ground cover. The photos enhance it greatly.
Nov 22, 2011 11:49am
Thanks sullysee
Nov 22, 2011 7:42pm
article looks much better after the revisions. Awesome.
Nov 23, 2011 7:46am
Thanks for your help JadeDragon.
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