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Creeping Thyme, Red and White

December 8, 2016 Back to Picks >

Like rosemary, thyme plants in general possess oils that fend off any number of insects that chew on the tender foliage of your other plants. But of special interest are the red and white creeping thymes. Though they don’t provide much joy to the cook, (low-growing thymes, they hug the ground making harvest difficult), the small but complex blooms of both attract the smaller beneficial insects like parasitic wasps while doing their fending off of others.

Red and white creeping thyme are among the relatively small group of thymes that prosper in our climate and soils. They require a full day of sun and excellently drained soil. Given their needs, containers are often the best route to success. Like lavender, thyme doesn’t appreciate overhead sprinkling, but thrives on water provided by a soaker hose buried just under the surface of the soil.

Thymes need seasonal application of slow-release fertilizer such as Arbor Gate Blend; keep an eye on its growth and prune regularly. When thyme becomes sprawly and woody stems appear, severe cutting back can kill the plant. The creeping varieties can easily become too widespread and sparse. A good practice is to carefully shear the blooms off when they are finished to encourage new, fresh growth of young stems and foliage.