Propagating Creeping Thyme

Propagating Creeping Thyme

Creeping thyme or Thymus serpyllum makes a great ground cover that is very easy to grow.  Once started it quickly grows and spread to fill out areas. It’s also an extremely easy plant to propagate.  Why is propagating creeping thyme so easy?  Let’s take a look!

I planted three small seedlings of creeping thyme a couple years ago and now it has grown into an evergreen carpet along our stepping stones.  Creeping thyme forms roots anywhere the stems touch a surface.  Essentially if the area is dark, roots will grow!  Even though our creeping thyme is resting on a stepping stone it still produces a copious amount of roots which makes an awesome opportunity to create more creeping thyme.  All I need to do is trim the area around the stepping stone then separate the rooted stems of thyme into individual pots or into new areas of the garden to cover.  This propagation process is known as layering.

You might be wondering why a groundcover like creeping thyme is useful?  Maybe you already know but we’ll mention it anyway! Groundcovers are a living mulch.  In a garden anywhere light touches will help germinate a seed. You’ve heard the saying “Nature abhors a vacuum”, by keeping the ground covered with a mulch of some kind will prevent weeds from getting what they need to sprout and eliminate any vacuums.  It also keeps the soil cooler in the hot summer.  Creeping thyme can tolerate the hot summers here in Tennessee very easily.  By placing it underneath and around shrubs it can help keep the moisture in the soil where it will work for the shrubs.  Without some type of mulch the water will quickly evaporate.  Creeping thyme has very shallow roots and doesn’t need much water so planting it with other plants that use more water is a great idea. Creeping thyme would make an excellent groundcover for a formal herb garden.

Creeping thyme can take some light foot traffic which makes it a good ground cover for small pathways that are only used occasionally or stepping stone pathways.  You wouldn’t want to plant it in a heavily used area.  Light traffic will help it too root even better as the occasional foot pressing the roots to the soil will just help the thyme get a better foot hold into the soil.

Do you have creeping thyme growing in your garden yet?


Dave has written since 2007. He gardens on an acre and a half where he raises his 5 children. He enjoys growing vegetables, herbs, and propagating plants. Dave works as a real estate agent in Spring Hill, TN.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Thank you! A friend just gave me a patch of creeping thyme and we definitely need groundcover up here on the plateau. Your comments are very helpful. Katherine

    1. Katherine,

      It should grow great for you! I'm sure you have lots of rock up that way. A beautiful part of Tennessee though!

  2. Does it smell good when you step on it? I might put some around my poultry pens if it does.

    1. Carmen,

      It smells a lot like regular culinary Thyme but just not quite as strong. It might do OK around your birds but I don't how they might take to it. It may not be able to handle heavy traffic from them.

  3. What type of sun exposure does it need? I'd like to use it but it's not in full sun.

    1. Mickey,

      Full sun is probably best but I think you could get away with part sun.

  4. I love all thymes. A good one for partly shady areas is chamomile. A little taller than creeping thyme, but super easy to propogate.

    1. Tiffany,

      I'm growing some chamomile from seed right now actually!

  5. I had one that was not a culinary thyme, so I dug it out and replaced it with one which creeps and gets eaten. Much better.

    @Mickey, mine is (at best) in only partial sun

  6. I need to get some again! I planted several culinary thymes in a border around a new strawberry patch, & have others spread around the garden. It's always fun when I find stems that have self layered, & can poke some in somewhere else.
    I also love corsican mint for shady areas, and it's easy to propagate the same way, get a pot & make several devisions ….

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