Creeping Thyme

Jan 18, 2021 08:36 pm
readtime icon 6 Minutes
Growth type
  • Perennial plant
Growth height (from)
from 3 cm to 5 cm
Growth characteristics
  • flat growing
  • cushion-forming
  • carpet forming
  • tight
Flower color
  • red
  • pink
  • white
Flowering time (month)
  • June to August
Flower shape
  • lip-shaped
Leaf color
  • green
page format
  • oblong
  • obovate
  • inverted egg shape
Sheet properties
  • wintergreen
Fruit shape
  • nut fruit
Fruit characteristics
  • unimpressive
  • sunny to scattered light
Soil type
  • stony to sandy
Soil Moisture
  • dry to fresh
ph value
  • alkaline to neutral
Lime compatibility
  • lime-loving
Nutrient requirements
  • moderately nutritious
  • low humus
Decorative or utility value
  • Flower Decoration
  • picturesque growth
  • Nectar or pollen plant
Climate zones according to USDA
  • 6
areas of life
  • ST1
  • FS
  • B1
  • ground cover
  • Embankments
  • Roof greening
  • Group planting
  • Planters
  • Dry stone walls
  • Surface greening
Garden style
  • Flower garden
  • Roof Garden
  • Heather Garden
  • patio
  • Mediterranean garden
  • natural garden
  • Stone Garden
  • Pot garden
Bee Friendly
bee friendly plant

The botanical name Thymus praecox already indicates that this Thyme is an ‘early’ bloomer. The Spring Thyme is better known as a padding thyme for its mat-forming growth. The Labiatae (Lamiaceae) family is native to western Europe. The variable types of forest are rarely found in herbaceous gardening. Cultivars are the most widely offered. However, the natural tendency towards variation of the Thymus species with several subspecies makes it difficult to clearly assign in garden sorts, especially because the dwarf varieties love to cross breed. Sometimes, all creeping varieties of the Thymus praecox fall under the same umbrella. At other times, they are billed as a creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum), while a ‘Bressingham seedling’ is considered part of the species Thymus doerfleri. But don’t let the botanical to and fro confuse you. One thing is sure: Creeping Thyme is an ornamental plant. Even if the aromatic herb is edible, it does not have the same importance in the kitchen and medicine as Common thyme.


No plant can provide as beautiful cover in a space as creeping thyme. It creeps regularly across the soil. The slightly woody shoots only grow up to five centimeters tall. In contrast, they spread extensively to the sides and form thick mats. It only takes seven plants to quickly grow over one square meter of aromatic lawn.


The evergreen leaves of creeping thyme are elongated to obovate and dark green. Wooly thyme (Thymus praecox var. pseudolanuginosus) is an extremely hairy subspecies with shimmering, silver-grey foliage.


Flowers sometimes appear as early as May, however most varieties bloom from June to August. They cover the entire color pallet from pink to carmine red. And white is also available. The characteristic labiate flowers of Thymus praecox are directly on top of the thick cushion of foliage. They attract bees and other insects as if by magic.

‘Highland Cream’
Creeping thyme flowers, here ‘Highland Cream’, create colorful accents in rockeries

Inconspicuous nutlets develop from the flowers.


Creeping thyme is happiest in full sunlight. Although this species copes better in semi-shade than many of its close relatives, it should not be grown in too much shade.


Ensure the soil is permeable. Waterlogging is a death sentence for these otherwise extremely undemanding plants. Thyme loves sandy, humus-rich soil and prefers it poorer soil to rich ground. It quickly dewinterizes in nitrogen-rich soils.


Creeping thyme does not require much soil to grow. It is key that the soil has a high mineral content and good drainage. You can even push creeping thyme into masonry cracks. Thymus praecox is also easy to plant: you can plant the creeper at any time, or even just parts of it. This is ideal if you want to establish the creeping thyme between flagstones and if you have bought a plant which is already way over the top of the plant pot. Simply carefully tear off sections of the root balls and push these in.


Creeping thyme requires hardly any care. Prune everything which withers on your Thyme. That way, the Creeping Thyme does not waste its energy creating seeds and remains vivacious. The Thymus praecox is completely frost-hardy. However, as its foliage is wintergreen, it is possible for it to dry out in very sunny areas. When the sun is shining, the leaves photosynthesize, however, they cannot draw water from the frozen ground. Brushwood shade helps here. Winter dampness is no less hazardous. Ensure there is good drainage.


Follow the advice above about planting for taking cuttings. It is necessary to turn one plant into two or more if the spring time should be thinned or reduced.

Thymus praecox ‘Albiflorus’
Thymus praecox ‘Albiflorus’ captivates with its white flowers

Creeping thyme, as the name suggests, is ideal as a creeping plant and . It is perfect for any areas where a flowing transition is required. Thymus praecox grows over tops of walls, around seedbed edges and softens architectural edges. It is ideal for planting in troughs and as a gap filler in natural flagstones. The Creeping thyme is one of the few plants you can also walk on. The carpet former also looks great at a higher level on table beds. At this height you can stroke the aromatic herb or watch the lively bees toil away. At an even greater height you can use Creeping thyme . The shallow roots are an option for exposed areas thanks to their heat resistance. It is a must in . The floral mats weave between cheddar pinks and wild pinks, Helianthemum and Catsfoot (Antennaria dioica), creating a natural scene and bringing visual calm to planting.


Thymus praecox ‘Minor’ is the lowest growing creeping thyme. It blooms purplish-pink and, like all varieties, from June to August. The pink-purple colored variety ‘Pink Chintz’ has a particularly rich bloom. The wooly leaf is dark olive-colored. The low growing variety ‘Vey’ has the most beautiful creamy pink color. ‘Albiflorus’ is a white variety.


You can sow Thymus praecox seeds. However, the varieties are propagated via division.

Diseases and Pests

Creeping thyme won’t cause you any troubles due to the robust shrub is also resistant to plant diseases and pests.