Thyme may not be the most popular among spices, but anyone who tries it once will want it forever.
And the best way to have fresh thyme at your fingertips is to plant it at home. So we brought in this post a complete guide on how to plant thyme, in addition, of course, some more tips and really cool information.
Will you join us in this?
What is thyme?
Thyme is a sub shrub from Mediterranean countries that can grow up to a maximum of 30 centimeters.
Because it is a small plant, thyme grows very well in pots and planters, but nothing prevents its cultivation in gardens and beds.
Thyme has a slightly citric and spicy flavor, in addition to a very fragrant aroma. In Brazil, there are three very popular varieties of thyme: the common, the lemon and the creeper.
All of them have very similar cultivation characteristics, that is, regardless of the type of thyme you have at home, the way of care is the same.
What are the benefits of thyme?
In addition to imparting flavor and aroma to the most different dishes, thyme is also beneficial to health.
The small, delicate leaves of thyme hold significant amounts of vitamins C, D and the B complex. Thyme is also a source of iodine and iron.
These characteristics make thyme a great ally in the prevention and care of heart health, in addition to strengthening the immune system and fighting free radicals, since it is a source of antioxidants.
Thyme can be consumed in the form of tea or added in fresh or dried form in sweet and savory preparations. The aromatic herb combines very well with red meats, soups, broths, creams and vegetables in general.
For external use, thyme is indicated to relieve insect bites and to help fight acne, since the plant has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and bactericidal properties.
Thyme is also great for the respiratory system, acting as an expectorant and tonic.
How to plant
Thyme can be planted from seeds or from seedlings produced by clump division and cuttings.
Another option, much simpler and faster, is to opt for planting from ready seedlings bought in garden stores or even in supermarkets.
Planting thyme by seeds is the most laborious and time-consuming, because it is difficult to find thyme in the form of seeds and adult plants rarely produce seeds.
Cuttings are the easiest and safest way to obtain new thyme seedlings. Just cut off a branch of a healthy adult plant and then dip that branch in a container of water.
When you notice the appearance of roots of about five centimeters, plant at the final location.
For planting, separate a pot or planter with a drainage system. Use pebbles and a gardening blanket to ensure proper water flow.
Place soil mixed with sand and / or a small amount of limestone. Add the seedling, complete with the rest of the soil and you're done.
Keep the pot exposed to sunlight and water it daily, in small quantities, until the complete "handle". After the plant is already rooted in the pot, water only when the soil is dry.
How to grow thyme
Thyme is a rustic plant, very easy to grow. However, to be successful with planting thyme it is important to know its characteristics. So take note of how to grow thyme properly:
Thyme enjoys dry, sandy soil, a common feature of the Mediterranean region. To reach the ideal soil for planting thyme, it is recommended to add a little lime or sand to the soil. This composition also favors water drainage.
Thyme must be fertilized only once a year, preferably in the autumn months. A good choice of fertilizer for thyme is worm humus and castor bean cake.
Because it is a rustic plant, thyme does not require many nutrients and grows well in poor soils.
Thyme, like practically every aromatic herb, needs light to grow and develop. This means that you must leave the pot of thyme in a location that receives at least four hours a day of direct sunlight.
As for the temperature, the thyme is not very demanding. The plant can grow well in both colder and hotter climates, ranging from 4ºC to 24ºC.
How to water thyme
Thyme is not a big fan of water. The plant prefers dry rather than wet soils, so it is always recommended to check the soil moisture level before watering the thyme again.
Water only when you notice dry land. On the hottest days of the year, the spacing between watering tends to be smaller, while in the autumn and winter months you may water the pot only once a week.
When in doubt, always do the finger test, touching the soil to feel the degree of humidity. If the finger comes out dirty, a sign that it is still possible to wait another day before watering the thyme.
Moment of harvest
On average, the thyme is ready to be harvested 60 to 90 days after planting from seedlings.
For seed planting, this time increases to 120 days.
Thyme can be harvested according to need, removing one or two twigs at a time, or even through a massive harvest during the spring, leaving only new shoots to protect and assist new growth.
This massive harvest encourages greater and more abundant production.
Thyme branches should be left to dry. Do this by tying the branches in small bouquets and hanging them in a cool, dry and airy place. Remember that dry thyme is even more aromatic and tasty than fresh.
Extra tips and some more curiosities about growing thyme
- When planted in gardens and beds, thyme also becomes a beautiful ornamental option, since the plant blooms annually in small flowers with colors ranging from pink to lilac.
- Thyme flowers attract bees and butterflies, making your garden and vegetable garden even more alive and colorful.
- Scalding foot with thyme tea relieves flu and cold symptoms.
- Thyme can be planted alone or combined with other herbs. But be careful: plant thyme only with herbs of similar cultivation, that is, that have the same needs for watering, light and fertilization, as rosemary and lavender.
- Did you know that you can replace the salt in your food with thyme? Yes, it is possible! This is because any aromatic herb that gives flavor to food ends up reducing the need to use salt.
- Always remove weeds that are growing around the thyme, as they compete for space and nutrients.
- The leaves of common thyme should be used preferably dry, while those of lemon thyme should be used fresh.
- Try to harvest the thyme branches before flowering, when the flavor and aroma are at maximum concentration.
- It is also recommended to remove the flowers from the thyme if you do not use the plant with a decorative effect. This is because the flowers end up reducing the potential for flavor and aroma of the leaves.
- When in doubt, do not water the thyme. It is much easier for you to kill the plant by excess than by lack of water.
- Never harvest all the branches of the thyme tree. Always leave a portion of leaves, especially the newer ones, so that you guarantee the renewal of the plant.
After all these tips, now just prepare the pot and plant your thyme.