Thyme is a Mediterranean herb that is frequently used in many recipes, as well herbal medicine. Growing thyme indoors is a wonderful way to have a continuous fresh supply of this herb all year-round. This plant is an easy one to grow indoors because it doesn’t require too much special care. In this article, we will help you learn how to grow thyme indoors, choose the right variety for you, and learn how to care for and harvest your new container herb!
Table of Contents
How to Begin Growing Thyme Indoors
Choosing Varieties of Thyme
To begin growing thyme indoors, you will need to choose what varieties of thyme fit your tastes. Thyme comes in a variety of species, each with its own unique look, flavor, and smell. Whether you are looking for a tasty culinary herb that gives you a classic thyme taste or a unique citrus taste, there are many varieties of thyme to choose from! Some of the most commonly used varieties are:
- Common Thyme or English Thyme, is the most common type of thyme that is grown for eating. For that classic thyme flavor that has given this herb its notoriety, this is the choice. It is very aromatic and is a staple in many recipes.
- Lemon Thyme has a delightful citrusy flavor and smell. This variety is usually paired with salads and seafood recipes. You may also see this kind added to any recipe that calls for lemons.
- Orange Balsam Thyme has a sweet and spicy flavor profile. While it is not very well known, this variety works really well in teas or as a garnish.
- Caraway Thyme is used both as ground cover and as an herb in cooking. This slightly sweet variety has the traditional taste of thyme with the flavor of caraway seeds.
- Summer Thyme or French Thyme, has many similarities to common thyme. Its differences include a subtler flavor and smell. This variety also has smaller leaves and is more compact. Just like common thyme, it has broad cooking uses and is in many recipes.
Choosing a Planter
Since you will be growing thyme indoors, choosing the right container will be a very important step in the process. Thyme plants prefer a well-draining soil, so choosing a pot with drainage holes is essential. You will want to make sure that your soil doesn’t retain to much moisture. A terracotta pot makes for an excellent planter for thyme because it is made of a porous material that will absorb water from the soil. This stops the soil from getting waterlogged.
Thyme care is quite easy because it is a hardy plant. The main components for optimal care of thyme plants are lighting, watering, and soil. If you have these three factors properly accomplished, then you will find growing this plant to be a breeze.
Light: The biggest key to thyme care is light. Your thyme plant will need full sunlight everyday. You should put your plant in a window that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight, however even more is better. You can also purchase a grow light to keep your plant thriving with plenty of light consistently. Utilizing a grow light will really allow your plant to thrive as best as possible. Be sure to turn the grow light off at night to give your plant a break.
Soil: Thyme plants aren’t incredibly picky when it comes to soil. As long as they have a well-draining soil that doesn’t hold too much water they will thrive. This plant does poorly in wet soil and will not tolerate it well. The soil should be within a pH range of 6.0 to 8.0. You can use any good quality potting mix. We recommend that you mix perlite into the soil to aid in better drainage. You will want 1 part perlite to 2 parts good quality potting soil.
Watering: This plant is pretty drought resistant and prefers its soil to dry out between watering. The biggest way to mess up thyme care when it comes to water, is overwatering. So, be sure to keep an eye on the soil moisture to avoid damaging the roots. When you water, be sure to water the soil thoroughly and allow the extra water to drain. You will want to allow the soil to dry out between watering sessions.
How to Harvest Thyme
In order to reap the reward of your dedicated care, you are going to need to know how to harvest thyme. Harvesting your thyme is important to prevent woody growth from forming and encourages your plant to keep growing more. You should harvest this plant before it blooms for optimal flavor. You can continue to periodically harvest to encourage additional growth.
You can either cut off a stem or a bunch of stems if you want to use it fresh in a recipe. If you plan on drying the thyme, take some scissors and cut off bunches of stems. Try to cut your stems in a balanced way to keep the plant growing evenly. Be very careful to not remove too much at one time to avoid shocking your plant. Try not to remove more than one-third or one-half of the plant at once. Don’t worry about harvesting your newly grown thyme, this plant will continue to grow and produce more after you cut it. Now that you know how to harvest thyme, you can use this flavorful herb in your home cooking!
Overall, growing thyme indoors is an easy process that will prove to be very useful in the kitchen. Growing your own thyme is a great way to be able to enjoy plenty of this amazing herb fresh all year-round. By choosing the right variety for your needs and ensuring proper care, you will be able to use fresh herbs from this plant whenever you need it for a recipe!