Lemon Thyme: Tiny Leaves With A Citrusy Kick


Lemon thyme is a should for any herb backyard.  This versatile, zesty herb has all of the savory notes of widespread thyme with an added candy citrus aroma and style!

Its versatility extends to decorative gardening, with a spread of upright and low rising floor cowl and variegated varieties to select from, with lavender-pink flowers attracting helpful bugs and including pops of colour.   

Used recent, lemon thyme needs to be added on the finish of cooking to retain taste. Add leaves to salads and natural teas and in candy dishes corresponding to muffins, cookies, and ice cream.  It is scrumptious infused in marinades or vinegar and utilized in herb rubs for rooster, fish, and potatoes.  It additionally retains its taste when dried for longer-term storage.

Lemon thyme is cultivated in precisely the identical manner as widespread backyard thyme. We have ample info on the wonderful sorts of lemon thyme obtainable for house gardening and how you can care to your herbs.

Good Products For Growing Lemon Thyme:

Quick Care Guide

Lemon thyme has a citrusy aroma and taste paired with thyme undertones. Source: zenryaku
Common Name(s) Lemon thyme, citrus thyme
Scientific Name Thymus x citriodorus; Thymus citriodorus
Days to Harvest 90–180 days from seed
Light Full solar
Water: Drought tolerant
Soil Slightly sandy soil
Fertilizer Top gown with compost, liquid seaweed feed throughout the primary rising season
Pests Aphids; spider mites
Diseases Grey mould; root rot

All About Lemon Thyme

Lemon thyme flowers
Most lemon thyme produces pinkish-purple flowers. Source: jiva

Lemon thyme, additionally generally often called citrus thyme, is a member of the mint household, (Lamiaceae). It was regarded as a hybrid of Thymus vulgaris (widespread thyme) and Thymus pulegioides (broad-leaved thyme). However, current DNA testing has confirmed lemon thyme to be a separate species and never a hybrid.  Despite these new findings, the botanical identify for lemon thyme stays Thymus x citriodorus

Native to mountainous areas of the Mediterranean, lemon thyme is an evergreen, woody shrub-like herb that thrives in arid climates and poor soils.  Clusters of tiny fragrant lance-shaped leaves ¼ inch lengthy develop alongside younger plant stems and differ in colour from mid to darkish inexperienced, streaked with silver, white, and yellow.  Lavender-pink two-lipped flowers seem from late spring/early summer time and attract pollinating bugs.  Lemon thyme has an upright progress behavior rising to round 12 inches (30cms) in peak and 12 to 24 inches (30cms to 60cms) throughout relying on selection.

Lemon thyme is grown for leaves, however the flower has the identical lemon scent and makes a pretty garnish.  The thyme-lemon aroma and taste are at its greatest earlier than flowering and when harvested within the morning.

The small dimension and choice for poor, free-draining soils make lemon thyme vegetation a pure alternative for container gardening. Grow alongside different Mediterranean herbs corresponding to sage and rosemary that get pleasure from the identical circumstances.  Lemon thyme vegetation have many makes use of within the backyard as a decorative and culinary herb. There are many sorts to select from, every with its personal distinctive promoting level.  


‘Archers Gold’: This is a low-growing lemon thyme plant that appears nice in rockeries and as a floor cowl between pavers.  Excellent culinary taste.

‘Silver Queen’: A shocking decorative lemon-scented thyme plant with silver/white leaf margins making it stand out from different varieties. It grows upright to 10 inches in peak.  Good culinary taste.

‘Golden Lemon’, ‘Golden Queen’, and ‘Aurea’: All three of those lemon thyme cultivars are related in look with variegated golden lemon-scented foliage.  Similar to ‘Silver Queen’, they stand out from different herbs within the backyard and are enticing as a decorative in addition to offering glorious taste.

‘Lime’: lime-scented upright thyme plant with vivid inexperienced leaves rising to 12 inches excessive.  Very citrusy in its aroma.


Growing lemon thyme from seed might take a look at your endurance!  Germination can take as much as a month and is commonly sporadic. Sourcing seeds of a particular cultivar may also show tough.  The greatest methodology to propagate lemon thyme is thru plantings of vegetative cuttings. These will present a precise clone of the mother or father plant.

Lemon thyme vegetation thrive in full solar and well-drained soil and can tolerate a little bit of neglect by way of feeding and watering. The greatest time to plant shop-bought vegetation and transplants within the floor is after the final spring frost. Simply select a sunny spot within the backyard with well-drained soil. Prepare a planting gap deep sufficient to accommodate the basis ball however not too deep to cowl the primary stem; this may increasingly trigger stem rot.  Space vegetation 12-18 inches aside (30-45 cms). Alternatively, select a pot full of a mixture of horticultural grit and compost.  Lemon thyme vegetation develop effectively indoors on a south-facing windowsill or in a well-ventilated greenhouse.  

Caring For Lemon Thyme

Young lemon thyme plant
Most lemon thyme is variegated in colour, however not all of it. Source: matthew_middleton

New to gardening?  Then lemon thyme is a superb herb to begin with!  Below are some rising ideas that may assist.

Sun and Temperature

Grow lemon thyme vegetation in full solar with a minimal of 6 hrs gentle and temperatures starting from 68°F to 86°F (20-30°C).  Surprisingly, most thyme vegetation can survive freezing temperatures.  Hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9. If rising lemon thyme in zones decrease than 5, contemplate planting in a pot with the intention to convey it indoors to overwinter.

Water and Humidity

Lemon thyme vegetation needs to be watered within the morning when the soil has utterly dried out. Watering over the winter isn’t vital except thyme vegetation are exhibiting indicators of drought stress.  Maintain low humidity ranges and good air circulation if rising indoors. 


Plant lemon thyme in free-draining sandy soils with a pH starting from 6.0 to eight.0. Amend heavy, moist backyard soils with compost and horticultural grit to enhance drainage.


Lemon thyme plant is native to arid mountainous areas with poor, skinny soils.  They don’t require plenty of fertilizer. A lightweight mulch of compost or leaf mould in autumn and spring will defend roots from frost and supply enough vitamins for the rising season. For an additional enhance, present liquid seaweed fertilizer in spring.


Regular harvesting retains your lemon thyme in form and encourages new progress. Prune out any flowers as they seem to delay most citrus taste and to maintain the plant productive. 

Unharvested vegetation might require a tough prune in late fall to arrange them for winter as frosts can harm smooth progress. Prune branches again by a 3rd, saving any clippings for drying. Perennial lemon thyme vegetation can turn into woody with age and wish changing. Regular harvesting and pruning will hold your vegetation in good situation for longer.


Propagate lemon thyme from seed, cuttings, division, and air layering.  Full directions on every of those strategies may be present in our rising thyme article right here.

Harvesting and Storing

Large lemon thyme patch
As they unfold, lemon thyme vegetation can attain a pair ft throughout in dimension. Source: Satrina0

Lemon thyme is straightforward to reap and one of many best herbs to dry for long-term storage. It’s a should to maintain readily available for cooking!


As an evergreen perennial herb, lemon thyme vegetation have an extended harvest season.  For the perfect lemon taste, harvest within the morning and earlier than a plant flowers in late spring. Plants propagated from seed or cuttings needs to be prepared for harvest round 3-6 months.  Snip off as many stems as required.  Wash completely beneath working water to take away any bugs and filth that may be caught within the clusters of tiny leaves. 


Fresh lemon thyme will retailer within the fridge for as much as per week wrapped in damp paper towels. For longer-term storage, place leaves in a dehydrator or a low oven or dangle stems up in a cool, darkish room till dry.  Once utterly dry, strip the tiny leaves from the stems and retailer them in an hermetic container. The greatest taste might be within the first yr to your thyme. Lemon notes will fade first because it ages. Unlike different spice varieties, you’ll discover it will final a smidge longer in your spice cupboard whereas nonetheless retaining taste.


Green lemon thyme
Some cultivars lack variegation, corresponding to this lemon thyme plant. Source: yummysmellsca

Lemon thyme is normally problem-free.  However, incorrect rising circumstances might lead to weak vegetation in danger from pests and ailments. 

Growing Problems

Plants will deteriorate if grown in shade. For wholesome vegetation, develop lemon thyme in full solar and well-drained soil.


Aphids (Aphidoidea), are small, sticky flies that feed on the sap of recent plant progress.  Treat biologically by way of the discharge of helpful bugs that feed on aphids, corresponding to ladybug larvae (cococinella septempunctata). Alternatively, develop flowers that appeal to helpful bugs into your backyard.  A fast spray of natural insecticidal cleaning soap or neem oil will kill aphids.  Squishing them with fingers or a fast blast of water may also help cut back numbers. 

Spider mites (Tetranychidae), adults are reddish-brown, dwelling in massive colonies on the underside of foliage and thrive in scorching, dry environments and feed on plant juices.  Look out for advantageous webbing between stems and vegetation exhibiting indicators of decline.  Spider mites may be immune to pesticides. Remove and destroy the worst affected elements and full vegetation if vital, to stop the unfold to unaffected areas of the backyard. 


Botrytis cinerea, generally often called gray mould is an airborne illness prevalent in delicate, damp climate.  It targets weak, broken, or confused vegetation. Symptoms embody wilting stems, brown discoloration of foliage, and gray furry fungal progress.  High air humidity creates the right atmosphere for botrytis. Remove and destroy affected vegetation to stop additional unfold.  Good plant husbandry strategies corresponding to harvesting rigorously; retaining the bottom away from decaying particles; watering solely when vital and offering enough spacing to permit good air circulation will assist cut back the chance.

Wet, heavy soils could cause root rot. Plant in well-draining soil that mimics the plant’s pure atmosphere, ideally a sandy mix that enables extra water to simply circulate by way of.

Frequently Asked Questions

Growing lemon thyme
Growing lemon thyme is a comparatively straightforward course of. Source: piX1966

Q: What is the distinction between thyme and lemon thyme?

A: The essential distinction between thyme and lemon thyme is that fragrant leaves of lemon thyme have a powerful scent and style of lemon along with the savory thyme taste.

Q: Does lemon thyme come again yearly?

A:  Lemon thyme is an evergreen, woody shrub-like perennial herb that grows all yr spherical.

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