Thyme Care: How To Grow Indoors And Varieties

Thyme Care: How To Grow Indoors And Varieties

A decorative addition to an indoor garden, thyme thrives on a sunny windowsill and can be harvested from spring to autumn. Add the leaves to soups, sauces, fish, and meat dishes.

It is a popular herb and easy to grow. There are many varieties of thyme with the English thyme being the most popular. There are two very strong varieties: Caribbean thyme and Summer thyme. It is part of the mint family so care needs to be taken that it does not get out of control. It tends to keep quite small and it does have small leaves as well. Thyme is quite a pretty little plant and popular as an ornamental. Thyme is a popular herb and mixes well with other herbs as well. It is not overly strong and tends to be used in the milder dishes.

How to grow?

When to buy or sow?

Young plants are available all year, but if you buy in winter don’t harvest the leaves until spring when new growth appears. Repot plants with crowded roots into slightly larger containers filled with commercial potting mix, with added sand or perlite.

Light and heat

Hailing from the Mediterranean, thyme needs a sunny location to succeed; it likes warmth in summer, but keep it in cooler conditions in winter. Increase the ventilation by opening your windows whenever possible. This is a hardy plant that will also be happy year-round on a windowsill outside or on a sunny balcony.


Like all Mediterranean herbs, thyme may rot in waterlogged soil. Plant it in a pot with drainage holes to maintain the correct moisture level, and water only when the top of the mix feels dry.


Feed every two weeks from spring to early autumn with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer for leafy crops. Repot every year or two in spring in a 3:1 mix of potting mix and sand or perlite.


Harvest a few leaves from each plant at any one time from early spring to late autumn. Although thyme is an evergreen shrub, leave the plant to rest in winter.

Best indoor varieties

Buy a selection of thymes to provide a wealth of colorful foliage on a windowsill, as well as leaves for cooking. Some forms, such as lemon thymes, have distinctive aromas, while low-lying creeping types look pretty trailing from wide, shallow containers.

COMMON THYME (Thymus vulgaris)

This plain green variety is easy to grow, and the traditional flavor of its leaves is ideal for meat and fish dishes.

Height & spread: 12 x 12in (30 x 30cm)

VARIEGATED LEMON THYME (Thymus X citriodora)

This thyme has white, variegated leaves that make a beautiful display. The leaves have a refreshing citrus flavor.

Height & spread: 4 x 8in (10 x 20cm)

WILD THYME (Thymus serpyllum)

Grow this thyme, with its highly scented spiky leaves and pink flowers, in a wide, shallow pot, and use the leaves in stews and casseroles.

Height & spread: 4 x 12in (10 x 30cm)

GOLDEN LEMON THYME (Thymus X citriodora)

The golden, lemon-scented leaves of this thyme are perfect for chicken and fish recipes.

Height & spread: 10 x 10in (25 x 25cm)

‘SILVER POSIE’ (Thymus ‘Silver Posie’)

A bushy, creeping thyme, with white-edged gray-green leaves and purple to white flowers in late spring and early summer. Use in bouquets garni, stuffings, and sauces.

Height & spread: 12 x 12in (30 x 30cm)

CREEPING RED THYME (Thymus ‘Coccineus Group’)

This mat-forming thyme is ideal for the edge of a big pot with a tall herb, such as sage, in the center. It produces pink flowers in early summer. Use in meat and fish dishes.

Height & spread: 4 x 8in (10 x 20cm)