Want to maximize the aroma and flavor of your herbs? There’s nothing quite like a homegrown herb.
Although you’ll need to put in a little more effort to propagate and care for your herbs, they produce exceptional results – especially thyme.
Thyme is a notoriously hardy and flavorful herb that can be successfully grown from cuttings. If you’re ready to put those green fingers to work, stay tuned to learn more about propagating thyme.
Here are the most essential tips for success you need to know.
What Is Thyme?
Thyme is an aromatic herb from the mint family that has small leaves and grows on thin stems. Thyme is known for its distinctive smell, and its flowers, oil, and leaves can be used in food and medicine.
This Mediterranean herb has plenty of uses, and it’s even thought to help relieve coughs, treat hair loss, dementia, and other conditions.
There are thought to be over 400 subspecies of thyme, and although it’s indigenous to the Mediterranean region, it’s now grown throughout the world.
Thyme Growing Conditions
Thyme thrives in well-drained soil with access to full sunlight. However, some varieties may also do well when planted in gravel gardens, or even cracks in your lawn.
Other varieties of thyme will do better in pots and should be bought inside during the fall, especially if you experience cold winters.
Before you propagate thyme, ensure you know which species you’re handling so that you can care for it correctly.
Note: your well-draining soil should also be low in nutrients. If you’re planning to eventually plant your cuttings outside, they’ll need protection from the cold weather and the wind.
If you’re keeping your cuttings in a container, use a soil-based compost with added grit.
Can You Grow Thyme From Cuttings?
Yes, you can grow thyme from cuttings! Propagating thyme is simple, and when you treat it correctly, it will thrive and produce a hardy, long-lasting plant.
Dividing your plant and taking cuttings is the easy part. How you care for your thyme after you take the cuttings is the most important part, and this will determine whether or not your propagation is successful.
To propagate thyme, you’ll need to following things:
- A healthy thyme plant to take cuttings from
- A small pot with good drainage
- A plastic bag
- Root hormone (optional)
Before we walk you through the ins and outs of propagation, you should know that this is not a quick and easy process.
Propagating thyme is simple, but it can take months (even up to a year) until you see a fully mature thyme plant. So, be prepared to be patient and learn exactly how you need to care for your plant.
How To Propagate Thyme
There are several ways to propagate thyme. This robust plant can be successfully grown from your own cuttings, and even beginner growers can try their hand at growing thyme! Ready to get started? Here’s how to propagate thyme.
Take Multiple Cuttings
When you’re propagating thyme, it’s always best to take multiple cuttings from the same plant, rather than just one.
Although thyme is one of the easiest herbs to propagate and it has a high success rate, we’d always recommend taking a few extra cuttings in case a few fail. Plus, if they all root well, you’ll have extra to share around!
Remove Side Branches And Low Leaves
Place your cuttings in an inch or two of water. This will depend on how long your cuttings are. Ideally, none of your leaves will be submerged.
The roots will grow out of the nodes on the stem – you should remove any of the leaves on the lower branch before you propagate your thyme.
Any remaining leaves should be at the top of the plant. You can choose how many leaves you want to keep. Ideally, you’ll want the bottom of your stem to have about 2” of the exposed stem, with no leaves.
Leave at least 2-3 nodes on the thyme sprig to ensure successful growth.
If you don’t remove leaves at the bottom of the cuttings, they’ll start to rot in the water. This is why we remove them.
Keep Your Cuttings In Water
It will take a week or two for your thyme cuttings to start growing roots. We’d recommend changing the water every few days, which will reduce the likelihood of your thyme rotting in the water.
When they’re propagating, your cuttings won’t need much sunlight. However, once the roots emerge, they’ll need access to a consistent light source.
When You See The Roots, It’s ‘Thyme’ To Plant
After a few weeks, your cuttings should start to produce a few roots. Once you can see visible roots on your cuttings, it’s time to plant them. We’d recommend waiting for multiple roots, rather than just one, before planting.
Once you can see a few roots on your cuttings, you can go ahead and plant the cuttings in a small pot with good drainage.
If your pot or soil has poor drainage, your thyme may be more susceptible to disease or root rot – so this is important.
At this point in the process, your cuttings will be small sprigs, so don’t plant them in a large pot. We can always transplant them again later.
When you first plant your thyme, it will be used to sitting in water. You’ll need to ensure your soil is extremely moist to start with, to avoid your thyme going into transplant shock.
You’ll also need to make sure the stem of your sprigs are in close contact with the soil, so the root system can successfully establish itself in the soil.
Wait 6-8 Weeks
Once you’ve planted your sprigs in their first small pot, you’ll need to wait around 6-8 weeks for the cuttings to start fully maturing.
This timeframe can vary, but in around 6-8 weeks you should start to see some solid indicators of mature growth.
During this time, it’s important to keep your thyme in a warm area. A greenhouse is an ideal climate, but if you don’t have one, you can cover your plant with a plastic bag and keep it in direct sunlight.
If you live in a warm environment, your thyme may thrive outside, but if it’s colder where you are, keep it inside.
If your leaves become discolored (yellow, brown, or black), your thyme may be experiencing transplant shock. Simply cut off the discolored leaves and leave room for new growth to appear.
When Should You Propagate Thyme?
Ideally, you should propagate your cuttings in the late spring or summer. Take softwood cuttings of between 2-3 inches during this time.
If you’re planting your thyme from seeds, you should sow them indoors in the middle of spring for the best chance of success.
The Bottom Line
Yes, you can grow thyme from cuttings! Although it takes time to see the results, propagating thyme is incredibly rewarding.
If you do it successfully, you’ll end up with one (or more) mature thyme plants that will last you for years to come. Even beginner gardeners and propagators can grow thyme from cuttings, so why not give it a try?
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