Thymus pulegioides 'Foxley'

Common Name: broad-leaved thyme 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 0.66 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.25 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Pale pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Herb
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful, Fragrant, Evergreen
Attracts: Butterflies
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil, Air Pollution


Best grown in medium to dry, well-draining, rocky to sandy loams in full sun. Plants grown in rich soils tend to become leggy and have less flavorful leaves. Tolerant of urban conditions and some drought once established. Intolerant of wet, waterlogged soils. Hardy in Zones 5-8. Trim back immediately after flowering to maintain shape. Divide in spring as needed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Thymus pulegioides, commonly called broad-leaved thyme or lemon thyme, is a low-growing, evergreen subshrub or semi-woody perennial native to grassy slopes, barrens, and forest openings in the temperate lowlands of Europe. Mature plants will reach up to 8" tall and spread to fill a similar area. The prostrate to spreading, square stems have distinct hairs along their edges. The fragrant, elliptic to oval-shaped leaves can reach 0.5" long and 0.25" wide. Rounded clusters of small, tubular flowers are held on upright stems above the rest of the plant in summer. The flowers are pale pink to purple in color and reach around 0.25" long. The blooms are highly attractive to bees, butterflies, and other insect pollinators.

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

The specific epithet pulegioides means "resembling a plant that repels fleas". This is most likely in reference to Mentha pulegium (pennyroyal), which shares similar flowering characteristics and growth habit to this species.

The common name broad-leaved thyme refers to the size of the leaves compared to other thyme species.

'Foxley' is a variegated form of broad-leaved thyme with a compact, mounding habit. Mature plants will reach up to 8" tall and spread to fill a 16" area. The fragrant leaves are dark green with contrasting, creamy white variegation. The stems are topped with clusters of pale pink flowers in summer.


No serious problems. Susceptible to root rot, particularly if soil is too moist. Deer tend to avoid this plant.


Best as a small area ground cover or filler between stepping stones in mixed borders, rock gardens, or vegetable gardens. Suitable for use in containers. Tolerates light foot traffic. The leaves can be used as a fresh or dried herb in soups, stews, and other dishes.