Thymus praecox
Common Name: thyme
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: Southern, western and central Europe
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: Purplish/white
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Herb, Naturalize
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Fragrant, Evergreen
Attracts: Butterflies
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil, Air Pollution


Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Loose, sandy or rocky soils with excellent drainage are best. Drought tolerant. Dislikes wet soils where it tends to rot. Cut back stems as necessary to maintain plant appearance or to control growth\spread or to limit unsightly woody stem growth.

Noteworthy Characteristics

This thyme is a creeping, woody-based perennial which is primarily used as a small ground cover, but also has limited culinary value. Numerous somewhat woody stems form a flat mat (2-6" tall) with tiny, rounded, fuzzy, blue-green leaves. Leaves are aromatic, but strength of scent varies according to habitat and season. Clusters of tiny, tubular, whitish to rose-purple flowers appear in summer. Flowers are attractive to bees. Plants are evergreen in mild winters.


No serious problems. Some susceptibility to root rot, particularly if soil is too moist.

Garden Uses

Good for small areas as a ground cover, path edging or as a filler between steppingstones, or as a plant that will sprawl over small rocks or ledges in the rock garden or on dry slopes.