How to Grow Thyme Indoors: A Quick and Easy Guide (2024)

Do you love having fresh herbs at hand? Thyme is a versatile and easy-to-grow herb that you can grow indoors, all year round!

Thyme is a wonderful perennial herb that can easily thrive indoors with little maintenance.

It has a lovely aroma, and you can use it in various recipes and home remedies. 

One of the best advantages of growing Thyme is that it can be cultivated inside, at any time of the year, from seed, potted nursery plants/seedlings, or the divisions of older plants. 

While Thyme is a low-maintenance plant that is easy to grow and will flourish will very little care… It does have specific requirements that must be fulfilled for it to grow.

Let’s take a closer look at how best to grow Thyme indoors:

Benefits & Uses of Thyme

Before you think of growing Thyme indoors, you need to know how it will benefit you and what you can do with it.

The benefits of Thyme include:

  • Cooking in a vast number of recipes, from roasts and stews to soups, fish, and salad dishes 
  • It has a lovely aroma that is associated with calming and muscle relaxation in aromatherapy
  • Thyme essential oil is also used in massage to lower blood pressure and support relaxation
  • Antibacterial and antifungal properties
  • Used in home remedies for coughs and colds, and tinctures for skin irritations 
  • A tea made of Thyme can be used to ease anxiety and help sleep
  • Rich in Vitamin A, Bs, and C

Attractive tiny green leaves and small purple flowers make it an excellent plant for growing in highly visible places. 

Thyme plant in flower, with small clusters of tiny purple flowers

Grown alongside other plants, it serves as a ‘guardian’ and protects the plants around it from several common pests, including whiteflies, tomato hornworms, tomato loopers, cabbage maggots, and maize earworms. 

Thyme is a very simple-to-grow plant with the significant advantage that it doesn’t need much attention once established. Minimum input gives you maximum output! 

Here are some tips on how to grow Thyme successfully:

How to Grow Thyme Indoors like a Pro

Growing plants indoors might be a new experience for you, so it would be best to consider the following for any plant, but these guidelines are specifically for Thyme. 

You can buy Thyme plants and seedlings from your local nursery, or you can grow propagate it from cuttings, divide established plants, or even grow it from seed. Seeds are most commonly available in the spring but you can plant them at any time of year in the right conditions indoors.

Let’s take a look:

How to Grow Thyme from Seed

Thyme is one of the easiest herbs to grow from seed! Check out this video by Little By Little We Go for a step by step guide to grow your own Thyme from seeds:

How much sun does Thyme need? 

All plants need sunlight to continue the process of photosynthesis. However, different plants require different light conditions to thrive, and Thyme does best in full sun.  

The best location for Thyme is on a sunny windowsill that gets around eight hours of sunlight each day, but if your home is mainly shaded or you want to keep it alive through the gloomier winter months, a cozy area beneath some fluorescent grow lights will do. Grow lights can also help you to provide the warmth that your plant needs. 

The best location and temperatures for Thyme

This plant prospers more in dry and hotter conditions. So try as much as possible, and aim to keep your indoor plant area temperature between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit while taking precautions to keep humidity levels as low as possible.

How much water does Thyme need? 

Once you plant the Thyme, you must wait until the soil dries out before you water it. Thyme is native to hot climates and prefers to dry out between waterings. Keeping the soil too wet can harm your plant. 

After some time and adequate watering, your Thyme will start to have flowers, but unlike other herbs, this does not indicate overwatering. If you cut it back to encourage new growth, it will continue to thrive after flowering.

What are the best pots to grow Thyme indoors? 

Your main goal is to grow this plant indoors, so you need the right plant pots and planters! And some essentials for your garden are necessary to maintain your indoor gardening efforts. 

Thyme grows well in small pots that you can place on a windowsill or hang the plants with plant hangers to add visual interest. 

The best containers to grow Thyme in are unglazed clay (terracotta) pots with good drainage. The clay is porous, so it helps the soil dry out between waterings. Containers should also be the right size and more on the shallow end of the spectrum to avoid waterlogged soil. 

Thyme plant growing in a terracotta plant pot

You can use tools like a sticky trap to catch fruit flies, fungus gnats, and other pesky insects.

How to Care for Your Thyme Plants

Feeding and Fertilizing Thyme Plants

Usually, growing Thyme indoors and in small pots, you don’t need many add-ons as the nutrients in the soil will remain there for some time. However, over time, the plant will use up the nutrients, and others will be lost during watering and draining. 

If you want to keep your Thyme healthy boost it’s growth, you need to be proactive and target its growing season, fertilizing it with diluted liquid fertilizer. 

Additionally, ensure that you add just the right amount of fertilizer to benefit rather than harm your Thyme plants, as concentrated chemical fertilizers can burn the plant. 

We recommend organic liquid fertilizers, diluted so that there is no risk to the plant or to the people eating it. 

When to Split and Prune Thyme 

As a perennial, Thyme should be pruned in early spring, just before the weather warms up, as it will grow through the spring and summer months. 

Cut the woody stems right back. This is also a good time to divide and re-pot larger Thyme plants. You can split your plants into sections (each with an intact root system) and replant them into smaller pots. A well-draining potting mix is best, and make sure your pots have good drainage. 

Pruning Thyme plants

Indoor-Specific Pests and Diseases

When growing Thyme indoors, there are only a few pests and illnesses you need to be concerned about. Gnats, white flies, and mealy bugs are the pests that affect these plants most frequently.

Your plant will be surrounded by whiteflies that resemble tiny moths. Additionally, they will suck the sap from your Thyme leaves.

Keep an eye out for potential threats to your herb, and you’ll have a better chance of spotting problems early and sparing your plant needless damage.

Thyme does not do well in damp, humid conditions and may develop fungus or mold on the leaves and stems. Overwatering and having waterlogged soil in your post can lead to root rot, which can be fatal for your plant. 

As with most things, prevention is key! Keep your plants in dry, well-ventilated conditions to avoid fungus and mold, use appropriate containers and let the soil dry out thoroughly between watering to avoid root rot, and keep your plant away from new plants until you see that they have not brought any bugs in with them. 

If you have pests, you can use a Neem oil solution or buy pesticide sprays. However, we recommend avoiding pesticides on plants that will be used in the kitchen and prefer to use organic and eco-friendly pest control methods

When to Harvest Thyme

Once grown, potted Thyme plants can be harvested whenever you’d like, just like outside plants. Harvest your Thyme by pinching off the stems, leaving about 1/3 of the stem behind. This will give you the majority of the leaves on the stem, leave some leaves behind, and stimulate new growth.

You can use your Thyme fresh or hang it somewhere cool and well-ventilated to dry out. You can keep dried Thyme for months and use it as and when you need it. Thyme can also be infused into oils for cooking or salad dressings, or distilled to make an essential oil.

Bundle of Thyme on a wooden cutting board

Final Thoughts on How to Grow Thyme Indoors 

If you are fond of gardening, you can’t miss this herb. Although it takes some time to get going, once it is, it is low maintenance and, with the appropriate care, should produce fresh herbs for many years. Additionally, you will adore the delightful scent of fresh plants.

Another cherry on the cake is…

Any food item would taste better and benefit from adding fresh herbs, a pleasure-seeking treat for every home cook.

Thyme is an excellent choice for growing indoors as it doesn’t require a lot of your effort.

However, to be a successful Thyme grower and have a flourishing plant on your hands, provide it with the ideal growing circumstances, good care, and remain vigilant for potential threats.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you grow Thyme indoors?

Yes. Thyme grows very well indoors, provided it is in a warm, sunny spot with good ventilation. Ideal conditions are warm and dry, with direct sun for several hours a day. Read the full guide to learn how to grow Thyme indoors like a pro.

Which variety of Thyme is best for cooking?

This depending on the dish and the flavors you want to enhance. The most popular types of Thyme used in cooking are French Thyme, Caraway Thyme and Lemon Thyme. Read the full guide for more on growing Thyme and the benefits of Thyme.

Is it hard to grow your own Thyme?

No! Thyme is one of the easiest herbs to grow at home and it needs very little maintenance once it is established. You can grow Thyme from cuttings, seeds, or grown plants/seedlings. Read the full guide to learn how to grow and care for your own Thyme plants.

References

Almanac: Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Thyme

Healthline: 12 Health Benefits of Thyme

Organic Facts: 21 Incredible Health Benefits of Thyme Essential Oil

SFGATE: Potting Thyme

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