Thymus vulgaris 'Argenteus'
Common Name: thyme
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: lilac
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Herb
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful, Fragrant, Evergreen
Attracts: Butterflies
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil, Air Pollution

Culture

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 plants to limit woody growth or to stimulate new growth. Harvest leaves throughout the summer as needed. Plants tend to become overly woody and loose after several years at which point replacement should be considered.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Thymus vulgaris, commonly called garden thyme or common thyme, is a generally upright, woody-based perennial which is primarily grown as a culinary herb in herb gardens. Numerous, somewhat woody stems grow upward to form a foliage mound 6-12" tall. Stems are clothed with tiny, linear to elliptic, pointed, gray-green leaves which are distinctively revolute (leaf margins are rolled under). Leaves are highly aromatic (reaching their peak just before plants flower) and are frequently used fresh or dried as a seasoning in a variety of culinary applications including soups, stews, sauces, meat and fish dishes. Whorls of tiny, tubular, lilac flowers appear on the stem ends in late spring to early summer. Flowers are attractive to bees. Plants are evergreen in mild winters.

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

Specific epithet means common.

'Argenteus' features lemon-scented leaves which are variegated green and silver (argentus from Latin meaning silver).

Problems

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

Garden Uses

Best in herb gardens or vegetable gardens. Foliage has excellent ornamental value, however, and plants can also be effectively grown in rock gardens or border fronts. May be grown indoors in pots in a sunny kitchen window.