You have probably used this plant as more than just a houseplant in one way or another.
Popular for its aromatic addition to food, the thyme plant is an aromatic perennial herb that is classified into the family of mints.
Thymes widely serve culinary, ornamental, and medicinal purposes.
The thyme plant is native to the Mediterranean continent but is grown virtually in every part of the world both as an indoor houseplant, as a domestic garden plant, and cultivated as a commercial food seasoning.
Historically, the Egyptians were the first to put the thyme plant to good use. They used to use the balm leaves for the preservation of dead bodies to keep away the smell of rottenness.
In ancient times as well, thyme was symbolic of courage, in that it used to be given to soldiers before battle, as a way of increasing their readiness for battle.
In the culinary world, thyme is an invaluable additive to dishes. It can be applied dried or fresh, but usually has more flavor applied fresh.
The fresh state of thymes cannot last for too long as it quickly dries out when not preserved properly.
The thyme plant also produces aromatic oils that are useful for making antiseptics and liquors.
Thymes are very resistant plants that are prone to survive every weather condition.
It is adapted to grow in very hot conditions as well as in the frost of winter, under the sun, and in the middle of an icy sea.
As an aromatic perennial it seems like the thyme plant is passionate about life and wants to grow on every layer of the earth’s surface, blooming and serving useful purposes.
Cultivation of the thyme plant can be done sexually using seed or asexually using stem cuttings or stalks.
It is advisable to plant new thyme seedlings in spring as they would grow faster under hot weather conditions.
As perennials, thymes can survive for as much as twenty-five years, blooming consistently.
This is why pruning is essential to avoid the plant growing into trees in plant pots.
If you do not already have a thyme plant growing in a plant pot somewhere by the corner of your room, or in your garden, then you should consider getting one by the end of this article.
In this article, you will be learning about the best practices to grow thymes as an indoor plant, the water requirements of the thyme plant, the kind of soil best for propagating rich thyme plants as well as how to care for your indoor growing houseplant to ensure it stays green always.
Growing Thyme Indoors
Growing thyme indoors does not usually require much effort from a gardener. This is because thyme plants can usually grow by themselves, adapting to new weather conditions for the purpose of survival.
But as indoor plants, they need a certain level of gardening care to grow properly and produce healthy leaves with great scents.
The following are requirements and procedures needed to grow healthy thyme indoors:
- A good plant pot
- The right potting soil
- The right gardening practice
The above-listed requirements do not just produce healthy indoor growing thyme plants. They have to be used with the right procedures which will be explained in the proceeding paragraphs.
1. A Good Plant Pot
The plant pot in which the thyme seed or stalk is propagated is an important determiner of how well the thyme plant would grow.
In selecting a pot for the thyme plant, select a pot that is not too big or too small for the root of the thyme plant.
A bigger plant pot would usually lead to excess water stored in the base of the pot, more than the plant can use up. This eventually leads to the fungus disease- root rot.
The pot being used should also be laced with enough drainage holes to drain off excess water from the soil. A clay plant pot is recommended for growing thyme plants indoors.
2.The Right Potting Soil
We already told you that thymes are pretty adaptive to various conditions of growth.
This does not just relate to the temperature and water condition of the plant. It also refers to the types of soil that thymes can grow in.
Thymes can do well in every kind of soil, including gravel-filled rocky hills. You can usually find wild thymes growing in odd places like the top of very high and rocky mountains.
This is the adaptation of thymes. but, for effective indoor growth, we recommend well-draining loamy soil.
One that does not retain moisture for too long but is able to support the life of soil microorganisms.
Sandy soils are also good, but they would need some form of fertilizers to get them fully ready for growing thymes.
It is also essential to change the potting mix at least once every two years to replenish used-up nutrients in the soil.
3. The Right Gardening Practices
An indoor cultivated thyme plant can die off at any time due to wrong gardening practices by the owner of the plant.
It is essential to replicate the growth requirements of thyme plants when growing them indoors.
Growth requirements like watering, frequency of watering, the technique of watering; pruning,
the time of pruning, the technique of pruning; fertilizer application, the technique of fertilizer application, frequency of fertilizer application; as well as pruning, and techniques for pruning.
Wrong gardening practices can lead to the death of your thyme plant even before you are able to harvest any matured leaves.
Soil Requirements for Growing Thyme
The following are the soil requirements for growing a healthy thyme plant indoors
- Place a good sandy or loamy soil in an adequate-sized plant pot. Let the soil contain a mixture of peat moss and perlite.
Peat moss is a mixture of decomposed plant and animal matter, that helps for the fertility of your thyme soil.
The perlite is an ingredient in potting soil that aids water retention and drainage to plant pot soil.
- Water the soil mixture with just enough distilled water free from mineral nutrient matters, and let the soil drain for a while.
- Now the soil is set, add your thyme seeds or cut thyme stems into the soil
- Apply fertilizer once every two weeks to the soil to boost the nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus content
- Ensure to water the soil only when it is completely dried out. Test whether the soil needs water by performing the dipping test.
The dipping test involves dipping your hands into the potting soil to feel its dryness.
- After the thyme seeds have germinated and grown to about one-centimeter height, perform mulching to the soil to keep weeds away.
Watering Requirements for Growing Thyme
The thyme plant does not usually like excessive water. Below are the water requirements for growing a healthy thyme plant indoors.
- Water the thyme plant once every two weeks to ensure that the plant isn’t getting more water than needed
- Reduce this frequency by watering the thyme plant at least once every month in winter. This is because moisture is retained more in the thyme soil during winter.
- Do not water the thyme plant when the topsoil still has moisture. Remember, not watering enough, cannot kill the thyme plant, but overwatering can make the thyme plant develop root rot which eventually kills it.
Light Requirement for Growing Thyme
A typical thyme plant hives very well under proper sunlight. As much as possible, locate your thyme plant pot where it can get enough sunlight attracted to its leaves.
Be attentive to know when to change the plant position to an indirect sunlight exposure point. It is right to introduce indirect light when the leaves are beginning to look dry and seem like they would soon discolor.
As much as possible, ensure your plant is not getting too much and too little sunlight. Photosynthesis is an essential process for a healthy thyme plant.
Fertilizer Requirement for Growing Thyme
With good plant pot soil, you need not worry about applying fertilizer to your thyme plant within the first month of planting.
As the plant grows bigger, ensure to apply a fertilizer rich in nitrogen potassium, and phosphorous in quantities that are mild enough not to make the thyme plan too bushy.
Apply fertilizer at least two times a month for a matured thyme plant.
How to Propagate Thyme
A thyme plant can be propagated both sexually and asexually. Sexual propagation is by seeds, and asexual propagation is through the process of cutting, layering, and root division.
Propagating through seeds does not require many technicalities. It just involves placing seeds of the thyme plant in a ready plant pot with good soil and water as it grows.
It is the asexual propagating techniques that we would be focusing on in this part of this article.
Propagation by Stem Cuttings
To propagate your thyme plant by stem cuttings, do the following:
- Cut off stem from the branch of a matured thyme plant
- Apply a plant hormone on the cut-off part of the stem
- Add some peat mixed soil to the cut-off part of the stem already dipped in plant hormone.
- The stem begins to develop roots due to the peat it has been attached with. When this happens, plant that stem on a little pot with very rich soil.
- Leave it for some days, within which the root must have developed properly, then transplant into a bigger plant pot.
Propagation by Layering
In layering, the propagated part of the thyme receives nutrients from the soil as well as the parent plant before it is finally severed from the parent plant to grow on its own.
To propagate by layering, carry out the following processes:
- Chooses a long stem from the thyme plant and remove all of its leaves
- Make a cut on the stem that will be layered and bend it towards the soil
- Ensure the part of the stem with the cut, comes in direct contact with the soil.
- Peg that stem to the soil and leave it for some days while still carrying out normal plant care routines like watering.
- After some days, the part of the stem with a cut should be inspected for roots
- If roots have appeared, cut off the stem from the parent plant and transplant it in a new plant pot.
Propagation by Root Division
Propagating by root division is easy and does not involve too many steps.
To propagate by root division, all you need to do is divide a matured thyme plant from the root into smaller sections that are to be transplanted in other plant pots.
Can I Grow Thyme Indoors All Year Round?
Thymes have various species that vary in structure and growth pattern. The culinary species called thymus Vulgaris is an evergreen thyme species that can be grown all year round indoors.
Its leaves keep growing all year round until they are either pruned or left to die of lack of water.
Does Thyme do Well Indoors?
Of course, they do. They are well adapted to grow properly indoors as well as outdoors.
Given the evolutionary trends in thyme gardening, better flavors can be gotten from thyme grown indoors than that grown outdoors.
The benefit of growing thyme indoors is that you are able to control the nutrient needs and growth patterns of your thyme plant.
How Long does Thyme Take to Grow from Seed?
A standard thyme plant can grow quite slowly when propagated by seed.
It takes about fourteen to twenty-eight days to fully germinate and grow out of the soil.
Growing the thyme plant from seedlings requires that the temperature stays stable from fifteen to twenty degrees celsius.
Generally, the growth requirements of a thyme seed are too stressful to be repeated regularly by gardeners, hence every gardener loves to propagate a new thyme plant asexually.
We found five very important pieces of information on how to grow thyme indoors necessary to reemphasize. Here they are:
- Thymes have their origin from the Mediterranean continent and can grow in every temperature condition
- A thyme plant can be propagated sexually and asexually.
- Good soil that is rich in nutrients and drains well, is the best soil type for growing thyme.
- Thymes do not like to be overwatered
- A thyme plant can grow indoors all year round as long as it is the culinary specie
To conclude, the thyme plant has been associated with multiple uses as well as superstitions.
Uses such as seasoning of food and superstitions such as being a courage booster.
Superstitions such as an aid to sleep and uses such as embalming dead bodies.
This, therefore, insinuates that a thyme plant deserves to be growing in your house or garden.
This article has taught you all of the ways to grow a thyme plant indoors. We hope you grow one soon.