Creeping thyme lawn seed

Creeping Thyme Stock Photos and Images

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  • Creeping Thyme, thymus, growing amonst large flints, Norfolk, UK, April,
  • Creeping thyme (Thymus praecox ssp polytrichus), blooming, Switzerland
  • Thyme plant creeping over garden stone
  • Creeping thyme, Islandstimjan (Thymus pseudolanuginosus)
  • Violet Blooming Creeping Thyme
  • Creeping Thyme, Backtimjan (Thymus serpyllum)
  • Beautiful purple thyme ground cover, creeping thyme (variety of tea) in the garden. flowering thyme
  • Creeping Thyme, Backtimjan (Thymus serpyllum)
  • Thymus coccineus Creeping red thyme plants in flower
  • Wild thyme, Thymus serpyllum, flowering on the floor of a disused chalk quarry on a rainy day, June
  • Flowering Creeping Thyme on gravel shore
  • Wild Thyme or Creeping Thyme (Thymus polytrichus), withered, Lake Oberaar, Bernese Alps, canton of Bern, Switzerland, Europe
  • Breckland thyme, aka wild thyme, creeping thyme, elfin thyme (Thymus serpyllum) close up – USA
  • creeping thyme, thymus praecox ssp. polytrichus
  • Creeping Thyme
  • Creeping Thyme. Thymus serpyllum ‘Minimus.
  • Wild thyme / Creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum) in flower
  • Creeping thyme, Islandstimjan (Thymus pseudolanuginosus)
  • botany, Thymus, Wild thyme (Thymus), Creeping Thyme, (Thymus praecox), in meadow, Additional-Rights-Clearance-Info-Not-Available
  • Creeping Thyme, thymus, growing amonst large flints, Norfolk, UK, April,
  • Broad-Leaved Thyme, Dot Wells Creeping Thyme, Large Thyme, Lemon Thyme, Mother of Thyme, Wild Thyme (Thymus pulegioides), blooming, Switzerland
  • Creeping thyme, Islandstimjan (Thymus pseudolanuginosus)
  • wild thyme, breckland thyme, creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum), blooming, Germany
  • Creeping thyme, Islandstimjan (Thymus pseudolanuginosus)
  • Broad-Leaved Thyme, Dot Wells Creeping Thyme, Large Thyme, Lemon Thyme, Mother of Thyme, Wild Thyme (Thymus pulegioides), blooming, Germany
  • Creeping Thyme, Backtimjan (Thymus serpyllum)
  • wild thyme, breckland thyme, creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum), blooming, Germany
  • Pink creeping thyme, Thymus serpyllum pink chintz
  • wild thyme, breckland thyme, creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum), blooming, Germany
  • Woman’s hands holding a bunch of creeping thyme
  • Wild Thyme or Creeping Thyme (Thymus polytrichus), withered, Lake Oberaar, Bernese Alps, canton of Bern, Switzerland, Europe
  • Breckland thyme, aka wild thyme, creeping thyme, elfin thyme (Thymus serpyllum) close up – USA
  • Creeping Thyme (Thymus serpyllum), Europe
  • creeping thyme, thymus praecox ssp. polytrichus
  • Wild thyme – creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum)
  • Wild thyme / Creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum) in flower
  • Creeping thyme (Thymus praecox ssp polytrichus), inflorescence, Switzerland
  • Violet Blooming Creeping Thyme
  • A nice pillow of Thymus praecox (mother of thyme, creeping thyme, wild thyme) in a mountain meadow in spring.
  • Northumberland, England, UK. Creeping Thyme and Lichen along Hadrian’s wall (Pennine Way) Footpath.
  • Creeping thyme (Thymus drucea) flowers Fetlar Isle Shetland Subarctic Archipelago Scotland UK Europe
  • Blooming Creeping Thyme (Thymus serpullum) close up on a stones soil of Altai mountains, Russia. Medicinal plant used in pharmacology, cosmetology, co
  • Creeping thyme (Thymus drucea) flowers Fair Isle Shetland Subarctic Archipelago Scotland UK Europe
  • Close up of Thymus praecox flower. also known as wild thyme, creeping thyme or Mother-of-Thyme.
  • Bumble Bee pollinating the Creeping Thyme
  • Overhead view of creeping, wild, thyme (Thymus serpyllum), with clusters of lilac flowers, in a forest. Creeping thyme is an evergreen shrub.
  • Creeping thyme Thymus faustini in raised bed with decorated stonework inspired by Gaudi. Stems of Tempranillo vines
  • Beautiful creeping thyme garden herb.
  • Thymus Bressingham – Alpine plant. A creeping Thyme selection from England
  • Creeping Thyme – Wild Thyme (Thymus serpyllum) flowering at spring – Cevennes – France
  • Wild Thyme
  • Breckland thyme, Breckland wild thyme, wild thyme, creeping thyme
  • creeping thyme, thymus praecox ssp. polytrichus
  • Wild Thyme, thymus polytrichus
  • wild thyme
  • Creeping thyme (Thymus praecox ssp polytrichus), blooming, Switzerland
  • Violet Blooming Creeping Thyme And Small Tortoiseshell
  • Wild Thyme, Thymus polytrichus in Grass
  • Northumberland, England, UK. Creeping Thyme Growing on Hadrian’s Wall Between Steel Rigg and Housesteads.
  • wild thyme, nature reserve Hute am Seilerberg, Ehlen, Hesse, Germany, Europe, Thymus serpyllum
  • Background of a ground cover plant with small pink flowers. Thyme creeping
  • Creeping thyme (Thymus drucea) flowers among Calluna vulgaris in wet meadow Fair Isle Shetland UK
  • A fragrant and fragrant thyme plant in the wild. Spice thyme. Thymus serpyllum. Breckland thyme, Breckland wild thyme, wild thyme, creeping thyme, or
  • Thymus coccineus Creeping red thyme plants in flower
  • Lilac flowers of wild thyme among stones in sunny. Spice, Medicinal plant. Contains phenolic compounds – thymol, carvacrol
  • thymus citriodorus aureus,creeping golden thyme,low growing perennial,groundcovwer,smother,blanket,plant,plants,herb,herbs,RM Floral
  • Thymus serpyllum, Breckland thyme, Breckland wild thyme, wild thyme, creeping thyme, or elfin thyme.
  • Creeping Thyme – Wild Thyme (Thymus serpyllum) flowering at spring – Cevennes – France
  • Gardener planting Thymus serpyllum ‘Coccineus’ in a garden
  • wild Breckland thyme (Thymus serpyllum) flower is a well known medicinal herb prepared as tea
  • Thymus serpyllum (wild thyme) is native to most of Europe and North Africa growing on sandy heaths, rocky outcrops, roadsides and riverside.
  • Blooming Wild Thyme
  • wild thyme
  • Creeping thyme (Thymus praecox ssp polytrichus), blooming, Switzerland
  • Violet Blooming Creeping Thyme And Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly
  • creeping thyme, mother-of-thyme (Thymus praecox), blooming, Austria, Tyrol
  • Northumberland, England, UK. Creeping Thyme Growing on Hadrian’s Wall Between Steel Rigg and Housesteads.
  • wild thyme, nature reserve Hute am Seilerberg, Ehlen, Hesse, Germany, Europe, Thymus serpyllum
  • Wild thyme on the Llyn Peninsula, Gwynedd, Wales, UK
  • Thymus Doone Valley trailing over the edge of a wooden box
  • A fragrant and fragrant thyme plant in the wild. Spice thyme. Thymus serpyllum. Breckland thyme, Breckland wild thyme, wild thyme, creeping thyme, or
  • A bottle of essential oil with fresh blooming creeping thyme
  • Thymus serpyllum,Sand-Thymian,Creeping thyme
  • thymus citriodorus aureus,creeping golden thyme,low growing perennial,groundcovwer,smother,blanket,plant,plants,herb,herbs,RM Floral
  • Thymus serpyllum, Breckland thyme, Breckland wild thyme, wild thyme, creeping thyme, or elfin thyme.
  • Terracotta planter with Sweet Basil and Curled Parsley on patio steps with Creeping Thyme
  • Thyme, Thymus species, on a rockery or scree garden.
  • Wild Thyme (Thymus serpyllum), flowering.
  • Thymus serpyllum
  • Closeup of purple flowering thymus serpyllum in a rock garden
  • Blooming Wild Thyme
  • Wild Thyme / (Thymus serpyllum)
  • Rich yellow gold and red foliage of the small creeping lemon scented thyme, Thymus pulegloides ‘Bertram Anderson’
  • Violet Blooming Creeping Thyme And Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly
  • creeping thyme, mother-of-thyme (Thymus praecox), blooming, Austria, Tyrol
  • Northumberland, England, UK. Creeping Thyme Growing on Hadrian’s Wall Between Steel Rigg and Housesteads.
  • creeping thyme, mother-of-thyme (Thymus praecox), blooming, Austria, Tyrol, Lechtaler Alpen
  • Creeping Thyme, Thymus Longicaulis
  • A beautiful purple soil cover of thyme, creeping thyme (a variety of tea) in the garden. Blooming thyme. With a bee on a flower

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Creeping thyme

Size and Method of spreading

Creeping thyme generally grows no more than 3 to 6 inches high. It is a trailing-rooting ground cover. Trailing-rooting ground covers have trailing stems that spread out from a central root system. These stems spread out horizontally over the ground and can root where they come in contact with the soil. New shoots will be formed at the point where rooting occurs.

Plant Care

This is a fairly low maintenance ground cover. It grows well in poor soils as well as alkaline sites. It is tolerant of drought. Wet sites must be avoided or this plant will rot. Full sun is best, but this plant will tolerate some light shade.

Disease, pests, and problems

Slugs can be a problem. In wet sites, root rot can occur.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Resistant to deer.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Europe.

Leaf description

The opposite leaves are oval and very tiny (1/4″). Leaves can be semi-evergreen in mild winters.

Flower description

Upright clusters of tiny pink-purple flowers cover the plant early to mid-summer. Some cultivars have flowers that are white or red.

Fruit description

Fruit are small nutlets; not ornamentally important.

Cultivars and their differences

Some cultivars may be sold under another species name or may be sold simply as ‘thyme’.

Annie Hall creeping thyme (Thymus praecox ‘Annie Hall’): Pink flowers; withstands foot traffic better than the species.

Scarlet creeping thyme (Thymus praecox ‘Coccineus’): Covered with rose-red flowers. Also sold as red creeping thyme.

White creeping thyme (Thymus praecox ‘Albus’): White flowers.

Wooly creeping thyme (Thymus praecox ‘Pseudolanuginosis’): Densely hairy leaves.

Thyme Lawn

Tough Lawn Alternative; no fuss, fertilizer or mowing

A thyme lawn made from the soft yet tough species and varieties of creeping thyme might just be the most wonderful thing to ever happen to your garden.

This low maintenance turf alternative requires no mowing, fertilizing, thatching or watering.

Whether you decide to get a landscaping contractor to install this type of sod substitute in your garden or take on the task yourself as a DIY landscape project, attention to detail will pay off later.

The almost complete lack of maintenance once the plants are fully rooted makes up for any added cost.

Once established, many beautiful thyme varieties and species thrive on neglect, only getting more lush and thick the less care they receive. You can’t say that about lawn grass!

Wooly thyme, among others, makes a perfectly behaved lawn alternative. Sweet smelling, drought tolerant and never needs mowing or fertilizing. What could be better? The feel of it on bare toes is a textural treat, and the look of a happy thyme lawn adds romance and an established feel to the xeric garden. Plant some among pavers too.

Not only is a thyme lawn lovely to look at, it will also require much less water and care than grass.

Thyme is a drought tolerant groundcover with the added bonus of a solid month or two of bloom during the summer, attracting pollinators from miles around.

How to Start Your Thyme Lawn

Keep these important points in mind if you’re thinking of starting a thyme lawn:

Initial preparation of the area you want to plant can be a hurdle.

You will need to remove all the existing vegetation such as perennial weeds and any grass.

Plan ahead and make a lasagna garden by covering the whole area with black plastic, cardboard or multiple sheets of newspaper covered with straw (not hay, as you’ll just re-introduce more weed seeds) or sawdust.

The most important concept to remember is that you want to cut off all light to the weeds and/or grass below.

Be patient, as this can take two seasons to completely kill off the top growth, and longer still if you don’t get all the roots.

What Kind of Soil is Best for Thyme?

Adding drainage to your area is crucial if the soil drains slowly, such as clay soil.

I recommend adding small gravel such as pea gravel or graded sand to the area then roter tilling it in to a depth of between two and six inches.

Rake this out, then you’re ready to plant your thyme plugs.

How Many Plants Will I Need?

To calculate how many plugs you’ll need, measure the area you want to plant, multiply length x width.

To plant 30cm (one foot) apart, this will give you the number of plugs to order. Using this quantity, your thyme lawn will eventually fill in – this can take several seasons, depending on the variety or species. To plant 20cm (8″) apart, which is my recommendation, add about a third again.

Most varieties do well at the closer spacing, especially for projects that will be used for light foot traffic.

Some of the best types of thyme for a thyme lawn are Thymus serpyllum ‘Elfin’ (Elfin thyme), Thymus coccineus (Red Creeping thyme) and Thymus pseudolanuginosus (Wooly thyme).

There’s no Thyme like the Present…

I’d love to hear about any of your projects using thyme – a thyme stool, lawn or a patio planted with thyme.

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page…

Grass has started in my thyme lawn. How do I get rid of it.? Arlene
I began a thyme lawn in Co. about 12 years ago. The last 4 years wild grass has begun to come in. I cannot pull it all (I’m 83). Help. Arlene

Replaced our lawn with thyme.
When we decided to convert to a grass free lawn in front of our house, we knew nothing about ground covers or drought smart plants. We bought eight …

lawn bunny
Two years ago I created a giant bunny on my front lawn. It’s 20 feet long & 8′ 4″ to the tip of the tallest ear. The base consists of several large …

Wooly Thyme is growing hair?
I have a flagstone patio, about 9 years old set on sand with pea gravel between the cracks. We planted it with Wooly Thyme plugs and it spread rapidly. …

dying thyme
About 20 years ago I planted thyme in my Japanese Garden: woolly thyme, nutmeg thyme and minus thyme all in distinct areas i.e. separated. It took a few …

Thyme Lawn
I just started to grow about 1600 plants of thyme to transplant into my front garden. See the process and the pictures on my Island Gardener blog . …

Thyme Scented Honey
I planted a small thyme lawn several years ago, and finally last year it bloomed. The variety was Elfin thyme which has very pretty pink flowers, and …

Xeric gardening in Chinook country
I have managed to get all our landscaping done along with killing off ALL our grass. I have even begun planting thyme plants that I have been lucky …

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Thyme List

It’s about Thyme

Inspired Gardens: Growing A Thyme Lawn

Tips For How To Grow A Thyme Lawn From Gardeners In Albuquerque, NM

When Vic and Barb Bruno built their new home in the year 2000 they were city dwellers, used to a small lot with a “watersucking” lawn and plants. The biggest challenge they faced when landscaping their new home in a semi-rural area just outside the city limits was that the lot was subject to water restrictions and shared a common well with three other homes. Water-thrifty landscaping was a priority.

Thyme Lawn: A Drought-Resistant (Xeric) Choice

Bruno, whose work includes commercial property management, did a lot of research before selecting his Pink Chintz Thyme lawn. “I would get on the Internet and research which plants are xeric. I came across High County Gardens website and got your catalog. It did a wonderful job of telling mature plant size, how much water it would need, and whether it would repel deer and rabbits, the latter of which we had a ton of.”

Bruno visited High Country Gardens’ bricks and mortar store, Santa Fe Greenhouses (no longer in business) to see what offerings they had. “I still wanted some color and a thyme lawn was suggested. They said Pink Chintz Thyme would work if I didn’t expect to walk on it very much,” said Bruno.

The greenhouse staff advised the Thyme be planted 12-18” on center and thought it would fill in about six months. In reality, it took closer to two years. Vic Bruno believes it took so long because the soil is quite poor (clay loam) and it would have filled in more quickly if they had done a better job amending the soil.

“There was section of the front yard where the ground level was about four feet below the slab so there was almost no yard,” explained Bruno. “We imported clean soil from a construction site. I improved that with just some peat moss and fertilizer mix.”

After the second season Bruno began to add a compost mix and the Thyme plugs started to spread out and flower. “In the initial form we’d have the clumps growing, it was a little bumpy at first. It flowered in the valleys, not at the top of the clump,” said Bruno. When it all filled in to the same level, it flowered everywhere. It eventually thickened enough to be a carpet-like mat of color.

“We have a large lot and have a lot of landscaping,” said Vic Bruno. “It required that we have low water use landscaping, with a preference toward xeric plants.”


Thyme needs a sunny (about four hours a day or more), well drained spot to grow prolifically. Too little sun will result in a leggy stem instead of a stem that hugs the ground. To prepare the area it is necessary to remove all weeds and shape the ground. Thyme will not compete with weeds and, if the ground is mounded in spots, the end result will be mounds throughout your landscape. As the thyme knits together over the ground, it will help to keep annual weed seeds from getting light causing them to die. Weeds or grasses that run underground will be a huge problem if not dealt with before planting. Ground Cover Thyme will not keep these aggressive weeds from taking over and all weeds should continue to be removed from the thyme as it grows into new areas.

If soil is amended or graded in preparation, it will need to be watered several times so the soil settles. The soil should not be fluffy or the plants will “float” when they first go into the ground.

At this point it is also necessary to determine how the plants will be watered. Thyme is very shallowly rooted and can dry out quickly, especially when the little plants are first transplanted. Thymes should remain moist but not soggy for best growth. Over head sprinklers, drip or hand watering can be used, as long as the entire area receives water allowing the stems to root in moist soil.

Once you decide what you will use to water, then you need to decide how far apart the thymes will be planted. This is especially important if you are using a drip system. Two things to consider are economics (how much do you want to spend) and patience (how long are you willing to wait for the thyme to spread). One plant will cover everything if you wait long enough. Normally, we recommend the same spacing for plugs and pots. Flagstone Filler Thymes go in at about every 4-6 inches and Ground Cover Thymes go in about every 12 to 18 inches. The closer they are planted the faster the ground will be covered.


Most of our Thymes come in two sizes, a 3 inch pot and the 128 plug tray (which is 128 tiny plants in separate cells in a tray). These containers should be thoroughly watered on the day of planting. The ground should also be wet, but not soggy. Remove the plant carefully from its container. Avoid pulling on the top part of the plant and instead coax the plant from the bottom of the container so the roots are not damaged.

The hole in the ground should be just deep enough to bury the plant at the same level it was buried in in its original container. Firm the plants into their hole by gently tapping down the ground around the plant. Making good root contact with the soil around it will help the Thyme to take off faster.

Keeping plants moist, especially their root zone, after planting is extremely important. If the soil around the root ball is too dry it will wick water away from the plant causing dehydration of the root zone. It is necessary to keep the root balls moist until the roots start to grow into the soil around them. Mulching the bare ground when the Thyme is first planted helps to retain moisture and get the plants off to a successful start.

Mulching also helps to keep weeds at bay. A small particle mulch requires about a three-inch depth covering the bare soil around the new plants. The larger the mulch particles, the deeper the mulch should be. Avoid mulching right around the thyme. An airspace of about three-inches around the plant will keep it from being composted by the mulch. In six months or so, mulches may need to reapplied as they decompose and start to show bare dirt. The idea is to keep weed seeds from getting the light they need to sprout. The photos below show how the bare ground around the Pink Lemonade Thyme was kept mulched.

Vern Nelson Common garden thyme

Everything in my kitchen garden works for a living. The trees bear fruit or nuts, and the shrubs, the vines, the flower beds, even the animals have jobs to do. The lawn is no different. When I built new beds a few years ago, I removed the last patch of lawn in the garden and replaced it with steppingstones surrounded by thyme.

Replacing grass with a fragrant thyme lawn (Thymus spp.) saves water. However, it must be carefully done to keep the thyme healthy long-term.

While thyme won’t tolerate steady foot traffic, it roots along its stems when disturbed. Thyme is also drought tolerant and attracts bees and butterflies. So add more thyme to your garden. You can’t have too many varieties.

SITING: Plant thyme in full sun on well-drained soil. Thyme must get at least six hours of sunlight a day to keep it lying flat. Site it away from hardscape, such as a concrete patio, where runoff can cause root rot.

SOIL PREPARATION: Unlike most crops, thyme doesn’t require that you fertilize before planting. Thyme is not fussy about soil except that it be well-drained. Ordinary garden soil is fine. In fact, the taste suffers when the plant is grown in rich soil.

To start, thoroughly weed and then apply pumice to lighten the soil of the entire area for the thyme lawn, not just in the planting holes. Apply a layer of about 2 inches of quarter-inch pumice and dig it in to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.

Next, spread black plastic over the entire plot and seal the edges to keep heat in and kill the germinating weed seeds that your digging has turned up. Leave the plastic in place for four to six weeks to kill emerging weeds.

Vern Nelson Thyme stems root where they touch the ground.

Then apply another 2-inch layer of pumice and dig it in as before. Heavier soils need more pumice than lighter soils when you plant thyme. I like pumice because it is easy to use and retains moisture. It is non-nutritive so it’s friendly to thyme. Pumice also doesn’t biodegrade and is plentiful and relatively cheap. It’s even harvested here in Oregon, in Chemult.

PESTS: Diseases and pests are rare but may show up if the soil drains poorly. If black patches or dead areas begin to appear, you should improve drainage and replant.

HARVEST: Harvest thyme as needed. The evergreen leaves and green stems are the most flavorful, but even the woodier portions are aromatic for flavored grilling smoke.


‘Elfin’ (Thymus serpyllum ‘Elfin’) grows only 1 to 2 inches tall. Its growth is tight enough to choke out weeds. It spreads slowly, but you can stimulate faster growth by trimming the edges with scissors. It’s especially good for small spaces. The tiny leaves can get bronzy over winter.

Garden thyme (T. vulgaris) is delicious and aromatic. It has purple flowers.

‘Orange Spice’ (which hugs the ground), ‘Creeping Lemon’ (4 to 6 inches tall) and white-flowering thymes are the most fragrant. I have a low-growing variegated silver thyme with exceptional flavor but find no listing for it. Variegated thymes are sterile, so they will not self-sow, and they are usually tall plants.


For quarter-inch pumice:

2613 S.E. Eighth Ave.
Pumice is available in 1-cubic-foot bags. 1- to 2-cubic-yard totes of pumice are also available at a better price for larger jobs.

— Vern Nelson; [email protected]
Illustration by Vern Nelson

In my first story of the series Something Other Than Grass, I discussed that there are plants that can be used as an alternative to grass. The alternative species

Woolly Thyme.
(Courtesy: Elissa Betterbid at


· Ornamental Grasses
· Plants that love the shade
· Plants that love sun
· Low water ground covers
· Acid-Tolerant Plants

I noted that ornamental grasses were different species than turf grass and that many of them did not require mowing. I pointed out that there were types of ornamental grasses that grow into tufts and sprays, stands or flowing and shimmering sweeps.

In Part II of the series, I discussed other alternatives to grass that do well in the shade. This includes moss, Creeping Charlie, also known as ground ivy, gill-on-the-ground, creeping jenny, catsfoot, alehoof and tunhoof.

In Part III I will discuss alternatives to grass that thrive in sunlight.

Thyme is a great substitute if you need something that does well in sunny or partly sunny locations. Thyme forms a dense, ground level mat that feature

Red Creeping Thyme
(Courtesy: Pembrokeshire Growers at

tiny-leaved foliage that showcase colors from bright green to bluish, or gray green. When they blossom they appear like a carpet of pink or lavender. Known as “walkable” ground covers, Thyme can resist a low level of traffic and can grow over or around flagstones. The flora spreads easily and requires less water than grass.

Of course, like anything, there are disadvantages to Thyme. Experts suggest that Thyme be planted 6-inches to 12-inches apart. Due to the cost of one Thyme plant, this could end up being a fairly expensive undertaking. To save money, experts suggest that you plant smaller areas if you have a large yard. Some recommend that you plant Thyme in only some areas of the lawn to start. Later, you can expand the Thyme during another season.

Another disadvantage to Thyme is the amount of time and labor to plant it. First, you will have to kill the grass you intend to replace and this can be a slow and difficult endeavor.

There are several ways to get rid of grass. You can use an herbicide like Roundup, but this is not often recommended because the herbicide can cause harm to you, family members including pets, and the environment.

If you’re willing to do some hard, back breaking work, then you can simply dig deep into the ground and remove the grass and its roots. If you select this method of removing grass, then be certain that you get out all of the roots.

Another method to remove grass that is not as labor intensive is to smother it in black plastic. The plastic should have no holes and should extend several inches

Bressingham Thyme
(Courtesy: Catherine Kaufell at

beyond the turf. Weigh the plastic down with rocks or mulch. Removing grass with this method can take as long as a full season or three months. Once it’s time to remove the plastic, it is advised that you till the land.

A third method is to cover the grass completely with newspapers and mulch. Water to soak the mulch and press the paper hard against the grass. Ultimately, the grass and then the newspaper will decompose. Till the land, turning the soil over completely and make certain that there is no remaining roots.

Thyme does well in soil that drains well. Experts recommend that you add bone meal or rock phosphate before planting the Thyme. Composting is also a good idea. Till to a depth of about 6-inches. Thyme is a shallow root plant, so there is no need to prepare the soil any deeper.

If weather conditions in your region are dry, then water the Thyme in pots thoroughly before planting it in the ground. Water it again to a depth of at least 4-inches once it is planted. Although Thyme is drought tolerant, it still needs water to get established.

Some people who have substituted Thyme for grass have been known to mow it after it blossoms to keep it neat and encourage it to spread. Others say that mowing isn’t necessary.

There are a number of varieties of Thyme. Some examples include:

· ‘Bressingham’. This is a low growing creeping kind of Thyme that looks wooly with green foliage. It grows about 2-inches to 3-inches tall and about 8-inches to 12-inches wide. It requires direct sunlight and excellent drainage.
· ‘Elfin’. This type of Thyme creates a tight mat of fine foliage. It grows about 1-inch –t 2-inches tall and slowly spreads to a width of 8-inches to 12-inches. When

Spicy Orange Thyme
(Courtesy: Rebecca McMahon at

it blossoms it showcases lilac-purple flowers in early summer.
· English. This is a cooking and thrives in zones 5-9.
· Gold Lemon. This type of Thyme has a citrus flavor and features gilt-edged leaves.
· Lemon. This type of Thyme features rich, dark green leaves that have a lemon fragrance.
· Red Creeping. This features red blossoms in spring. Ideal in zones 4-9.
· Silver. The leaves have a white edge and lacy appearance. Ideal in zones 4-10.
· ‘Spicy Orange’. A low growing plant that resists foot traffic and includes needle-like foliage that offers an orange scent. It features pink blossoms in summer and grows to about 12-inches tall and wide. It thrives in zones 5-9.
· Variegated Lemon. Edible, the plant features lemon-scented flora. It grows up to 16-inches tall and wide and thrives in zones 5-9.
· Woolly. This is a fast spreading groundcover that can quickly blanket an area with fuzzy leaves that resist foot traffic fairly well. It flourishes in zones 4-8.

(Zones refer to United States Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones.)

(Next time: Low Water Ground Cover and Acid-Tolerant Plants)

Using Thyme For Lawn Substitute: Growing A Creeping Thyme Lawn

Xeriscaping is becoming increasingly popular in an effort to reduce our dependence on water use. Many gardeners are choosing to replace water thirsty turf with plants that are drought resistant. An ideal choice is using thyme for lawn replacement. How do you use thyme as lawn substitute and why is thyme a terrific alternative to grass? Let’s find out.

Thyme Alternative to Grass

A creeping thyme lawn is not only drought resistant, but it generally requires much less water than traditional turf grasses too. It is hardy to USDA zone 4, can be walked upon and will rapidly spread to fill in a space. As an added bonus, thyme blooms in a long-lasting profusion of lavender hued flowers.

The downside of planting thyme as lawn replacement is the cost. Planting a creeping thyme lawn with plants set 6-12 inches (15-30 cm.) apart can be pricey, but then again, if you have looked into reseeding or of laying sod for an entire turf lawn, the cost is fairly comparable. That’s probably why I usually only small areas of creeping thyme lawn. Most people use creeping thyme to fill in pathways and around patio pavers – smaller areas than the average lawn size.

Most varieties of thyme are tolerant of light foot traffic. Some cultivars to try in your thyme lawn include:

  • Elfin thyme (Thymus serpyllum ‘Elfin’)
  • Red creeping thyme (Thymus coccineus)
  • Wooly thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus)

You can also alternate varieties or create a pattern by planting a different type of thyme around the border of the pseudo-lawn.

How to Plant Thyme as a Lawn Substitute

The biggest problem with using thyme to replace grass is the work it will take preparing the site. It takes some doing to rid the area of all the existing grass. Of course, you can always go with the easy, albeit not so eco-friendly method of multiple applications of herbicide. The next option is good old-fashioned, back breaking digging up of the sod. Consider it a work out.

Lastly, you can always make a lasagna garden by covering the entire area with black plastic, cardboard or lots of newspaper layers covered in straw or sawdust. The idea here is to cut off all light to the grass and weeds underneath, basically smothering the plants. This method requires patience, as it takes two seasons to completely kill off the top and even longer to get all the roots. But, hey, patience is a virtue! Till the area when the process is completed and remove any big chunks of rock or root before attempting to transplant the thyme plugs.

When the soil is ready to be worked, add some bone meal or rock phosphate along with some compost to the soil and work it in, down to about 6 inches (15 cm.) since thyme has short roots. Prior to planting, make sure the thyme plants are damp. Plant the thyme plugs about 8 inches apart and water in well.

Thereafter, say goodbye to fertilizing, thatching, regular watering and even mowing if you so desire. Some people do mow the thyme lawn after flowers are spent, but it’s okay to be a little lazy and leave the area as is.

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