Thymus 'Orange Balsam'
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: Pale pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Herb
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil, Air Pollution


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 is a genus of about 350 species of evergreen perennials, shrubs and subshrubs from dry areas of Eurasia. They are grown primarily for their aromatic foliage but also have attractive flowers. Flowers are attractive to bees.

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

‘Orange Balsam’ is a garden (or common) thyme cultivar that features orange-scented leaves. It is a bushy, woody-based perennial that typically grows 4-12” tall with generally upward branching stems. Tiny, elliptic to narrowly ovate, gray-green leaves. Leaves reach their aromatic peak just before flowering. Leaves may be 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 pink flowers appear on the stem ends in summer.


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


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