Thymus × citriodorus 'Silver Queen'

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 5 Professionals
Common Name: lemon thyme
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 0.25 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: July
Bloom Description: Pale lilac
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Ground Cover, Herb, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful, Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil, Air Pollution

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates drought and poor soils of somewhat low fertility. Loose, sandy or rocky soils with excellent drainage are best. Dislikes moist to 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. Plants are evergreen in mild winter climates. Harvest leaves for cooking throughout the growing season.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Thymus × citriodorus, commonly called lemon thyme is primarily grown as a culinary herb for its rich, lemon-scented leaves. It is an erect, bushy, woody-based perennial which typically grows 4-12" tall with upward branching stems. Tiny, narrowly ovate, dark green leaves have a strong lemon scent which reaches its aromatic peak just before flowering. Leaves are frequently used fresh or dried (much better fresh) as a seasoning in a variety of culinary applications including salads, soups, stews, sauces, and meat or fish dishes. Fresh sprigs may be used as a garnish. Whorls of tiny, tubular, pale lilac flowers appear on the stem ends in early summer. Flowers are attractive to bees.

DNA testing shows that this plant is not a hybrid of T. vulgaris x T. pulegioides as often reported. It should probably be recognized as its own species, Thymus citriodorus.

Genus name comes from the Greek word thymos (name used in ancient Greece for a species of Thymus or Satureja).

Specific epithet means lemon-scented.

'Silver Queen' features leaves edged with silver.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problem. Susceptible to root rot, particularly in moist, poorly-drained soils.

Garden Uses

Herb gardens. Plants can also be effectively grown as ground covers in rock gardens or border fronts.

The silver-edged foliage of this cultivar has excellent ornamental value.