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How to Plant Lemon Thyme

By Kathryn Hatter ; Updated September 21, 2017
Plant lemon thyme in a sunny herb garden.
thyme herb as a spice image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com

When you seek to create a thriving herb garden, be sure to include the ornamental and aromatic lemon thyme plant, both for its beauty and culinary use. Lemon thyme is a woody perennial plant that produces lovely foliage and attractive blossoms throughout the growing season. Select a sunny growing location and provide a rich, well-draining soil for lemon thyme plants. The plants will thrive to produce an abundance of tasty foliage throughout the summer.

Prepare the sunny planting area in the spring by tilling the soil with the garden spade to a depth of between 4 and 5 inches. Add 1 to 2 inches of rich compost to the top of the soil and work this in thoroughly with the spade. Rake the soil surface smooth to finish preparing the planting area.

Dig holes for the lemon thyme plants, spacing each hole 9 inches apart. Make the holes deep enough to place the plants in the soil at the same depth as they are in the temporary containers.

Remove the lemon thyme plants from their temporary containers carefully, loosening them gently before you pull them from the pots. Place the plants into the prepared holes immediately and add soil around the plant roots to cover the roots up to the crowns of the plants. Firm the soil down gently with your hands.

Provide a generous watering of the lemon thyme plants immediately after you finish planting them to saturate the soil evenly.

Remove the lemon thyme blossoms as they appear over the growing season to keep the thyme plant growing and thriving. If you allow it to flower, it will cease providing new foliage. Save the blossoms for use in salads or in sachets--they smell strongly of lemon thyme.

Clip the tender thyme stems from the plant throughout the growing season as you desire them for cooking by removing them with the garden shears.

Harvest the remaining stems before the growing season ends by cutting them off at the crown of the plant.

Add between 3 and 4 inches of mulch around the base of the plant after the soil freezes in the autumn. Lemon thyme plants tend to need more winter protection than other thyme plant varieties.


Things You Will Need

  • Garden spade
  • Compost
  • Rake
  • Shovel
  • Garden shears
  • Shredded mulch (wood chips or bark)


  • Many gardeners have difficulty planting lemon thyme from seed because thyme seeds germinate unevenly and slowly.

About the Author


Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.