Elevate Your Experience

+1 202 555 0180

Have a question, comment, or concern? Our dedicated team of experts is ready to hear and assist you. Reach us through our social media, phone, or live chat.

Creeping Thyme: Tips for Growing, Caring for, and Planting

Discover the Allure of Creeping Thyme

Creeping thyme, with its aromatic and resilient nature, is an exceptional groundcover that brings both beauty and utility to the garden. Often overlooked in favor of culinary thyme varieties, creeping thyme excels as an ornamental plant, forming a dense mat of tiny evergreen leaves. This hardy plant is perfect for filling gaps between stepping stones and patio pavers, releasing a delightful scent when walked upon. Its ability to withstand moderate foot traffic makes it an excellent lawn substitute, particularly on sunny slopes and hillsides. In late spring, creeping thyme bursts into a carpet of pink or purple flowers, adding a splash of color to any landscape.

Creeping Thyme Basics

Botanical Information

  • Botanical name: Thymus spp.
  • Common names: Creeping thyme, mother of thyme, wild thyme
  • Plant type: Semi-woody perennial groundcover
  • Zones: 4-9
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Height/Spread: 1 to 4 inches tall, spreading up to 18 inches
  • Bloom time: Late spring to early summer
  • Flowers: Star- or bell-shaped, usually pink or purple, sometimes red or white
  • Foliage: Slightly hairy, elliptical, semi-evergreen or evergreen

Special Attributes

  • Drought tolerant
  • Attracts bees and butterflies
  • Rabbit and deer resistant
  • Non-toxic to people and pets


While the flowers and leaves of creeping thyme are edible, they are not commonly used in cooking due to their inconsistent flavor and fragrance. For culinary purposes, common thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is a better option.

Planting Creeping Thyme

When to Plant

Plant creeping thyme in spring after the last frost or in early fall. Avoid planting during the heat of summer to ensure successful establishment.

Where to Plant

Choose a site with full sun exposure for optimal flowering, though light shade is tolerable.

How to Plant

Creeping thyme can be started from seeds or nursery plants. Sow seeds indoors in early spring or directly outdoors after the last frost. Seeds typically germinate in 2 to 3 weeks. For transplants, dig a hole slightly shallower than the rootball, place the plant, cover the roots with soil, and water thoroughly. Maintain consistent soil moisture until the plants are established.

Soil Requirements

This plant thrives in sandy, silty, or rocky soils with excellent drainage. It tolerates poor soil but should not be planted in heavy clay or waterlogged areas.


Space plants 8 to 12 inches apart for groundcover. For a denser lawn substitute, space them closer together.

Growing in Containers

Use a high-quality potting mix with good drainage for container planting. Adding horticultural sand or perlite can improve drainage.

Caring for Creeping Thyme


Water new plants regularly until established, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged. Mature plants need supplemental watering only during prolonged dry periods.

Amendments & Fertilizer

Lightly amend the soil with organic matter if necessary. Generally, additional fertilization is not required, but a balanced organic fertilizer can be applied in spring if the soil is nutrient deficient.


Prune back by half in early spring to rejuvenate plants and encourage new growth.


Shear spent blooms in midsummer to maintain a tidy appearance. For creeping thyme lawns, use mower blades set to 2-3 inches to remove spent flowers.


In mild climates, creeping thyme remains evergreen. In colder regions, it may lose foliage but will regrow in spring. Protect plants with mulch to prevent frost heaving.


Propagate by division in spring or fall or by stem cuttings in late spring or early summer.

Diseases and Pests

Creeping thyme is generally pest-free but can suffer from root rot in poorly drained soils. Watch for spider mites in hot, dry conditions.

Varieties of Creeping Thyme

Red Creeping Thyme (Thymus praecox ‘Coccineus’)

  • Height/Spread: 2 to 4 inches tall, up to 12 inches wide
  • Flowers: Magenta-red

Elfin Thyme (Thymus serpyllum ‘Elfin’)

  • Height/Spread: 1 to 3 inches tall, up to 18 inches wide
  • Flowers: Lavender-pink

White Creeping Thyme (Thymus praecox ‘Albiflorus’)

  • Height/Spread: 2 to 3 inches tall, up to 12 inches wide
  • Flowers: White

Pink Chintz Creeping Thyme (Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’)

  • Height/Spread: 1 to 2 inches tall, up to 12 inches wide
  • Flowers: Salmon-pink

Wooly Thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus)

  • Height/Spread: 3 inches tall, up to 12 inches wide
  • Flowers: Pale pink

Landscaping with Creeping Thyme

Creeping thyme is versatile in the garden:

  • Use along sidewalks or pathways to soften edges and add fragrance.
  • Incorporate into rock gardens or allow to cascade over walls for vertical interest.
  • Create borders around vegetable gardens to attract beneficial insects and deter pests.
  • Trail from window boxes or patio planters for a close-range herbal aroma.
  • Combine with other drought-tolerant perennials for a water-wise landscape.

Embrace the beauty and functionality of creeping thyme to enhance your garden with minimal effort.

Share this article
Shareable URL
Prev Post

Creeping Thyme Growing Guide – Everything You Need to Know

Next Post

Stability Amid Change: Maintaining Equilibrium in China Doll Care

Read next
Whatsapp Join