This pretty plant has a lovely scent that perfectly matches its zingy lemon-yellow leaves.
A pure delight, this lemon thyme brings a ray of sunshine to gardens and dinner plates. It makes a well-behaved little shrublet, with small oval leaves in shades of zesty yellow and lime green. As it is evergreen, you'll get this effect year round - it really comes into its own in late winter and early spring when colour in the garden can be scarce and on sunny days it seems to glow in the low, slanting light. In summer, clusters of pinky-purple flowers erupt above the leaves, much to the delight of bees and other pollinating insects, who love to feast on its abundant nectar. For humans, however the gustatory appeal lies mainly in the leaves, which have a warm, herbal / lemony flavour that enlivens many dishes - teaming especially well with fish and chicken.
An essential plant for gardeners, cooks and bees. How great is that?
Please note that the pot in the photograph is for illustrative purposes only and is not supplied with the plant.
Plant Type: Herb
Hardiness: H5 Hardy. Minimum temperature -15 to -10.
Plant Height & Spread (at maturity): H 20cm x W 25cm (Mature age: 2 Years)
Foliage Colour: Yellow, Green
Flower Colour: Purple
Fragrant Flower: No
Aromatic Foliage: Yes
RHS Award of Garden Merit: Yes
RHS Perfect for Pollinators: Yes
Foliage Type: Evergreen
Soil Type: Alkaline, Sandy, Chalky, Loam
Soil Drainage: Well Drained, Dry
Light Exposure: Full Sun
Planting Style: Mediterranean Garden, Rock Garden, Gravel & Drought Resistant Garden, Flower Beds & Borders, Coastal Garden, Cottage Garden, Informal Garden, Urban Garden, Courtyard Garden, Banks & Slopes
Season of Interest: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter
Flowering (from - to): July - August
Harvesting Period(from - to): January - December
Harvesting Instructions: Thymes are evergreen plants, so you can harvest the leaves all year round, however, their flavour will be best in summer when the plants are actively growing. Simply snip the quantity required, then strip the leaves from the stems once you're back in the kitchen. Regular harvesting is helpful to keep the plants naturally bushy. Thyme dries really well - cut the top few inches of the growth off with scissors and tie into small bunches or spread out on a tray. Place your thyme in a dry, airy spot out of direct sunlight. Once the leaves are fully dry and brittle, crush them, discarding the twigs and store in an airtight container. Thyme flowers can be eaten too - they make a wonderful garnish if you sprinkle them over dishes at the last minute, just before serving. But beware - they pack a punch so don't use too many!
Thymes are sun-lovers - in the wild they grow on rocky Mediterranean hillsides and sunny chalk downs - so give them as much light as you possibly can. They hate being crowded out by other plants, so they make ideal plants to grow in crevices, on patios, raised beds and the like. Poor, free-draining chalky (alkaline) soil is ideal - if you garden on heavy clay, consider adding grit to your soil, or growing thyme in raised beds.
Water plants only as they need it in their first season as they're becoming established - after that they need none at all. Unless that is, they're in pots, in which case you do need to keep an eye on them as although they don't need much water, they hate to dry out completely.
If you grow them in the ground, feeding isn't necessary - it will just give you leggy growth and impair the plants' flavour. In pots, the occasional liquid feed will help keep plants growing nicely.
If you harvest regularly, thymes don't need pruning: if you notice your plants becoming a little leggy, give them an all-over haircut with a pair of shears, ideally in summer after they've flowered or in early-mid spring before growth starts. Don't cut too far back into old wood as plants regenerate poorly - if they've become a bit straggly it's probably time to order some replacements or start taking cuttings.