How to Propagate Woolly Ground Cover


With its fuzzy grayish-green leaves, woolly thyme (Thymus praecox) makes an effective and attractive ground cover, with an added bonus of tiny pink or purple blooms that appear in summer. woolly thyme will cascade down the a rock wall, or it can soften the edges of paving stones, fill the spaces in a rock garden, or control erosion on a difficult slope or hillside. woolly thyme is a frost-tolerant ground cover that requires full sunlight in order to thrive. Unlike most varieties of thyme, woolly thyme is purely ornamental. To propagate woolly thyme, divide the plant in late spring or early summer.

Step 1

Choose a spot for the woolly thyme ahead of time so the roots of the divided woolly thyme won't have time to dry out. woolly thyme requires full sunlight and well-drained soil.

Step 2

Use a hoe or shovel to cultivate the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches, and make sure any weeds are removed from the area. Work 2 to 3 inches of peat moss or compost into the top of the soil.

Step 3

Dig a clump of healthy woolly thyme. Using your fingers, pull the plant carefully into smaller sections. Be sure each section has a healthy root. Discard any unproductive or unhealthy areas, or areas with soft, brown roots.

Step 4

Create a shallow hole with a trowel, just big enough to accommodate the woolly thyme's root system. Plant the woolly thyme, then press the thyme down firmly so the roots make contact with the soil. Leave 12 to 18 inches between plants.

Step 5

Water the woolly thyme lightly, and keep the plants slightly damp until the woolly thyme takes root, which will be apparent when you see new growth. After the woolly thyme has rooted, the plant should be watered very sparingly during hot, dry weather. Too much moisture can cause the woolly thyme to rot.

Things You'll Need

  • Hoe or shovel
  • Peat moss or compost
  • Trowel


  • NC State University:Thymus praecox - Common Name Creeping thyme; Mother of thyme
  • Fine Gardening: Thymus pseudolanuginosus (Woolly thyme)
  • Desert Tropicals: Mother of Thyme, Creeping Thyme
Keywords: woolly thyme, ground cover, propagate woolly thyme

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.