Lemon Thyme

lemon thymeI love using lemon thyme, especially in our dinner salads. Such a refreshing lemon flavor!  My kids loved it so much that I dug up 3 plantings for them to take back home when they left.

What first attracted me to the plant was rubbing my hands over the leaves and smelling the amazing lemon smell it releases. Ooooh, lemon thyme!

Lemon Thyme is sometimes called Winter Thyme for it’s feature of remaining handsome right through winter, fully evergreen in zone 8. We live in zone 7 so it lives outside all winter, dying back a bit.  My kids live in zone 5 where it would die back completely in winter but, in most cases, return in spring.  They kept theirs indoors through the cold!

lemon thymeThyme does best in full sun and well-draining soil.  I planted ours around our steps that lead down to the back yard.  They get good drainage there.

It has small lavender-pink blooms in June & July and a semi-creeping partially upright habit. The tiny lemon-scented variegated leaves are green with yellow edging.  It is rarely taller than six or eight inches.  Ours has only gotten to about 4″ high but it is in a traffic area.

Lemon Thyme is capable of considerable spread & can even become a little weedy if it greatly loves its location. Keep it shaped by harvesting it for the table.  Cut it back toward the end of winter so that its spring regrowth comes in perfectly renewed.  I always cut back any that gets leggy.

The leaves taste as great as they smell. It is often recommended in just about anything that calls for a bit of lemon. As a tea it can be a healthful stimulant, its phenols having both anti-bacterial & caffeine-like actions.  I love tea!  I grow mint, lemon thyme and chamomile for just that reason!

Variegated lemon thyme is said to be one of the best year-round thymes. Often, they get weak or thin after many seasons and it’s best to just replace them at that time (thyme!).

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2 Responses to Lemon Thyme

  1. Ronnie Vogel says:

    I love the information on lemon thyme, thank you. But I have a question: I have a pot of lemon thyme that keeps back every year but it has a lot of brown, dead branches that form a mat. I live in northern NJ. Should I remove the brown stems or will that keep it from coming back?
    Thanks for your help.
    Ronnie Vogel

  2. Karen says:

    Ronnie:
    I cut out the dead in mine and it comes back. I don’t know if you should leave the dead, I’ve never tried that because it looks so ugly!

    Thanks for asking.

    :)

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