Lemon Thyme

Thyme with a fresh citrus scent

One of the first herbs I grew in my garden, it started out with a few plants along a sidewalk leading from the front to back yard. In the city, where houses are close, the aspect was part sun and the space cramped, but the lemon thyme plants thrived… and they multiplied into many divisions creating an entire fringe of aromatic bushy plants.

[The look]

Lemon thyme has a bushy rounded growth pattern, is about inches high and wide, its tiny foliage gives it a fine texture and the small spikes of flowers are very pretty during bloomtime. I love the variegated forms, especially the golden edged leaf. It is sunny and cheerful in its medium green and gold.

Lemon Thyme comes in at least two variations of variegation, the gold and the silver. these are small shrub varieties which grow in neat little clumps. A member of the mint family, it would be lovely grown with similarly lemon scented mints (Mentha citriodora). Anytime you see that Latin term, citriodora, it means the plant smells lemony or citrusy.

[The needs]


  • Full Sun only is recommended (although you can try part sun)
  • Moderate moisture
  • Moderately fertile, well drained soil

To propagate you can divide or take small rooted sprigs and root in the ground or a pot which is kept fairly moist until the plant takes off by rooting securely. I like to keep some rocks around the base especially at first- which mimics the way thyme grows naturally among rocky places. A stone or two will keep the ground moister and help give the plant a good start. You may also use softwood cuttings in early summer and semi-ripe cuttings in mid- to late summer. Directions here.Softwood cuttings can be taken from most deciduous shrubs in June and July and sometimes into early August.

Pinch off the tip growth of non-flowering branches to promote bushiness. Do not prune in the spring before all danger of frost is past, and stop clipping about a month before frost in the fall. You may prune woody branches, but never prune below the point where you can see new growth – prune just above it.The Herb society advises.

[In the Garden]

Lemon thyme

I like to grow groups of herbs with good looks in containers. The lemon scented thyme, with its possible variegations and neat growth provides a spot of pretty foliage among brighter flowers. It is a small shrub like plant that makes a pretty edging and belongs in the front of a perennial bed. Team it with small flowered campanulas like Campanula garganica or Campanula cochleariifolia.

[Fun Facts]

The ancient Egyptians used thyme to mummify.

Thyme was used to treat depression.

The essential oil of thyme is called thymol, which is antiseptic.

Thyme is one of the best known and most widely-used culinary herbs; lemon thyme is particularly good with fish.

Highly attractive to bees. it makes a gourmet honey flavor. At the same time it is made into a tea that repels insects.
It is my secret ingredient in making beef stew.

Lemon Thyme

-she finds it can be weedy, but in my clay soil I have never found it so.

Try this recipe

Lemon Thyme Sorbet Recipe

Makes about 3-1/2 cups.

* 2 quart sauce pan
* 2 quart plastic container with lid
* ice cream freezer


* 1-1/2 cups (263 g) granulated sugar
* 1-1/2 cups (360 ml) water
* 2 sprigs fresh lemon thyme or regular thyme, leaves removed
* zest of 1 lemon
* 1-1/2 cups (360 ml) fresh lemon juice


1. In a sauce pan, bring sugar and water to a boil over medium high heat, just until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.

2. Ad the lemon thyme leaves and lemon zest. Allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes, until the flavors are infused. Stir in the fresh lemon juice.

3. Allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer to the plastic container, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

4. Freeze according to the manufacturers directions for your ice cream freezer. The sorbet will be soft when finished. You can transfer to a freezer container and freeze for another hour or two before serving if you prefer a harder consistency.

* Picture
Golden Lemon Thyme

Originally uploaded by ccho