Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Care for & Transfer a Lemon Thyme Plant

By D.C. Winston ; Updated September 21, 2017

Lemon thyme, known botanically as Thymus citriodorus persica, is one of more than 300 species of perennial herb plants cultivated for use in cooking, garden design and medicinal and beauty preparations. It is a small, woody herb that grows low to the ground and whose leaves produce an aromatic essential oil of lemon alongside the thyme scent. Like many herbs, lemon thyme is low-maintenance, thrives in even nutrient-poor and dry soil conditions and can renew itself easily under favorable conditions.

Provide lemon thyme plants with a growing location in full sun and a light, easy-draining soil with a pH between 4.5 and 8.0. Refrain from fertilizing thyme and instead top dress the soil with compost once or twice a year if the plants are not growing sufficiently. In areas with harsh winters, mulch lightly once the ground freezes.

Water to keep the soil evenly but lightly moist when feeling 2 inches into the soil. Deep watering every 7 to 10 days will achieve this in most climates. Warmer, arid climates will require more water while rainy climes will require less. Never allow the soil to remain soaking wet, as this can suffocate the roots.

Shear mature, woody thyme plants down to just above the crown of the plant every two years to rejuvenate the plant and spur fresh, tender green stem and leaf growth. Remove all of the old clippings to allow room for the new growth to emerge.

Excavate and transplant lemon thyme by digging around and then under the root mass of the herb with a hand trowel. Transplant the root ball into a container or to another ground soil location, making sure to plant at the same depth in the soil.

Water the thyme deeply to settle it in the new location and prevent the roots from experiencing drought stress and shock from being relocated.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Compost
  • Hand trowel
  • Light soil
  • Water