growing thyme indoors

Thyme is a beautiful and valuable perennial herb that can be grown indoors and only needs basic care to do well. Even though thyme seeds take a long time to sprout, the straight, woody stems can grow between 6 and 12 inches tall in a single season. This gives gardeners a lot of tasty fresh herbs or herbs that can be dried and used all year. If you want to grow thyme indoors, you can plant seeds, nursery plants in pots, or pieces of existing plants at any time of the year.

To grow thyme indoors, you'll need potting soil with a high pH that drains well and should be full of nutrients. Your thyme plants will stay healthy if you water them occasionally and feed them with an excellent organic fertilizer. You can grow thyme near windows if the temperature inside your house stays between 62°F and 70°F. This is especially true if you only get sunlight from the side.

Light pruning also helps the plant stay bushy and small. Thymes do well in direct or indirect sunlight or LED grow light. Thyme grows best in temperatures ranging from 17 to 210 degrees Celsius. Read until the end to find out how to grow thyme successfully.

A Brief Thyme Overview

Regular Name 

Class of Crop

Botanical Name


Herbaceous perennial

Thymus vulgaris

A Brief Summary of Growing Thyme Indoors

  1. Plant thyme in the spring when the risk of frost has passed. 
  2. Separate thyme plants by 12 to 24 inches in a very sunny location with healthy, well-drained soil that has a pH close to 7.0. 
  3. Before planting, add several inches of compost or other organic material to the existing soil. 
  4. Feed frequently with a water-soluble plant meal for optimal results. 
  5. Keep the soil moist and water the top inch of soil when it dries up. 
  6. Once thyme has established, harvest as required, but do not prune more than a third of the plant at once.

What Do You Need To Grow Thyme Indoors?

Here I will briefly explain the five basic things you may need most to grow your thyme plants indoors. To start growing thyme indoors, you’ll need:

#1. Thyme Planter

You will need a ceramic self-watering planter or pot that is at least 6" (1 quart or more).

#2. Soil

Free-Draining Mix or Miracle-Gro Performance Organics All Purpose In-Ground Soil

#3. Plant Food

A balanced blend is needed at the beginning of cultivation. It should have equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (with NPK numbers like 10-10-10).

#4. Herb Blend

The herb blend you will need should be high in nitrogen (with NPK numbers like 10-5-5).

#5. Grow Light

Finally, you will also need an excellent and strong grow light. A kind of grow light that can provide the thyme with the equivalent of 5+ hours of direct sun [DLI of 15+ mol/m2/day].

How To Grow Thyme Indoors

thyme growing in clay pot

The ideal container for growing thyme indoors is a pot since it requires the least amount of care and attention. Use a clay container with ample drainage pores to enhance water drainage. Many indoor plants, including thyme, are afflicted by root rot when the soil is saturated.

Here is the technique for starting a thyme garden indoors:

  1. Add a sterile potting mixture consisting of sand, peat moss, potting soil, and perlite to clean, dry clay.
  2. The potting mixture requires just enough moisture. 
  3. In the planter, place either your thyme seeds or propagates to grow.
  4. Every two weeks, fertilize your thyme with a diluted quantity of fish emulsion. 
  5. On occasion, add fertilizer containing nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus at a ratio of 1:1:1. 
  6. When the dirt becomes dry, water the thyme plants. 
  7. After the herb has been established, add a layer of organic mulch to give the plants a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Soil Requirements For Growing Thyme Indoors

Plant thymes on sand-based, well-drained soils with an optimal pH of 7.0. The optimal potting soil should be light and airy to promote rapid drainage. Airy potting soil improves soil aeration and provides adequate room for root growth.


Once grown, thyme plants are drought-resistant and frequently prefer under-watering to over-watering. Wait until the earth is parched, then drench your thyme plant with water.

Allow the soil to dry completely before watering again. Remember that thyme may blossom, but unlike other herbs, this is not a sign that it is getting too much water or will bolt. If you prune it to encourage new growth, it will continue to grow and thrive even after it blooms.


How's this for easy? Thyme favors nutrient-deficient soil, so supplementary fertilization is unnecessary. This also suggests that the herb should be put in a pot or container by itself, as mixing it with other plants is likely to make the soil too rich for optimal growth.

If you want to give your thyme a boost, feed it with a diluted liquid fertilizer at the beginning of its growing season; pick an organic fertilizer if you intend to cook with or consume your thyme.

Pay close attention to the fertilizer container to make sure you give your thyme plants the right amount and don't hurt them. 

Light Requirements For Thyme Plants

To grow thyme requires either indirect or direct sunlight. Place the plant container in a bright window that receives at least six hours of daylight each day. Or, use LED grow lights to cultivate thyme inside. 


Thyme likes the sun and does best when planted or in a spot where it gets full sunlight almost all day. 

The ideal is a windowsill that gets eight hours of sun a day, but if your home is mostly shaded or you want to keep your thyme growing through the darker winter months, a cozy spot under some fluorescent grow lights will also work.

Moisture and temperature

Thyme comes from the Mediterranean and does best in a dry, hot climate. Try to keep the temperature in your home between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and ensure there isn't too much humidity (that means keeping your plant away from rooms that tend to be more humid, like kitchens or bathrooms).

Pest and Insect Control

Thymes attract pests and bugs like spider mites and aphids. Adoption of non-toxic pest and bug control methods is the best option. Some less-toxic pest management methods are listed below.

Weeding and removing garden residues is necessary to eliminate pests and insect hosts. Remove diseased plants and dispose of them in a garbage can.

Beneficial commercial insects are used to combat and kill pests and bugs. To manage pests and bugs, use organic insecticides such as neem oil.

Maintenance and pruning

Once grown, indoor thyme plants can be picked at any time, like outside plants. Cut the stems off whenever you need the herb for a dish.

After three or four years, potted plants might become woody, at which point you should remove, divide, and transplant the smaller portions into separate pots with a fresh potting mix.

Container Dimensions (or Size)

Thyme does not require much space to develop, so a container as little as four inches in diameter can be sufficient for growing young plants. This plant may benefit from clay or terracotta containers. Check that the container has enough drainage.

Drainage and Potting Soil

When it comes to effectively growing thyme, the soil is possibly the most critical factor. Because thyme is prone to root rot and overwatering, use a soil composition that is very dry and well-draining.

Sandy mixes are your best choice; if you want to use potting soil you currently have on hand, cut it with a bit of gritty sand or gravel to guarantee water travels swiftly through the soil.

A container with adequate drainage is also essential, and those constructed of clay or terracotta can help wick away excess moisture from the soil. Thyme is not fussy about soil pH levels, and it may flourish in a range of pH values ranging from 6.0 to 8.0.

Potting and repotting

When a thyme plant develops woody stems rather than sensitive leaves and branches, the best thing to do is repot it. Please carefully remove it from its container, then separate the root portions.

For transplanting into new pots:

  1. Select the smaller portions.
  2. Choose a tiny pot with a diameter of four inches.
  3. Repot the plants using the potting soil combination specified above.

Start Growing Thyme With Seed vs. Cutting vs. Nursery Plant

Thyme plants can be grown from seed, propagated from an existing plant, or purchased live at many garden centers.  When growing thyme indoors, we like to start it from seed or stem cutting. 

This way, the plants are better suited to your growing conditions, and you are less likely to bring pests into your home by accident.

Planting Thyme Seeds

planting thyme seeds in pots

Thyme germinates fast—plant one site in a 6-inch or one-quart container. Sites should be spaced 4" apart in bigger containers. Spread four seeds across the surface of each pot. Warm up the soil (60-70°F, ideally 65°F).

Sprouts develop about 21 days on average, although they might grow as soon as 14 days or as late as 28 days, depending on your circumstances.

Covering the seeds prevents them from sprouting. To expedite the process, soak them in water for 12–24 hours before planting.

Thyme Propagation: How to Clone From a Stem Cutting

If you already have a Thyme plant that you adore (or a friend does! ), you can quickly "clone" it using sharp scissors and a clean glass of water.

First, clip a couple of 6" fresh growth branches (avoid anything woody). Remove the lowest leaves, leaving only the stem in the bottom half.

Place in a glass filled with 3" of water, ensuring that the chopped leaf areas are submerged. Replace the water in the glass every few days and place it on a light windowsill.

 Roots should appear in a number of weeks, at which point you may transplant them into your pot. While extra rooting hormones are not harmful, they are not required for Thymus plants.

Here is the summary of how to clone it.

  • Cut a 6-inch segment of new growth. 
  • Remove half of the leaves and lay them in the water on a sunny window sill. 
  • Wait 42 days for a couple of 12-inch roots to grow before transplanting it into its ultimate container.

A Guide to Thyme Transplantation

transplanting thyme plant

Live starter plants allow you to get a head start on your first harvest. Pick the bushiest plant available in a garden center (tall and skinny ones will be slow growers) and check it well for pests.

The leaves should be dark green and free of holes, stains, and curled edges. It's a good idea to "quarantine" your plant for approximately a week after you get it home to ensure it's free of ride-on bugs.

Make sure your seedling is free of pests and diseases. It's time to move it to its permanent home.

  • Remove some dirt from the final planter, allowing enough room for the seedling's bottom to be slightly above the soil level. 
  • Turn the container over while carefully tugging the seedling while holding the stem with one hand. A couple of squeezes on the pot might help remove it. 
  • Fill the last container with dirt, ensuring it's tight but not compressed.

Weeks 2-4: Keep an eye out for sprouts.

Seedlings might appear in as little as 14 days (though 21 days is more typical). Your setup is likely too chilly if you haven't seen any sprouts after 28 days.

Week 5: Thin Your Seedlings 

Thin your planter so each location has only one seedling, leaving the giant plant. If you use the prescribed planter (at least 6"/1 quart), you will have one plant after thinning.

Getting rid of the smaller, weaker seedlings makes it easier for the bigger, more vigorous seedlings to get enough water, food, and space.

If your seedlings are less than 1 inch tall, extending out, or folding over, they are probably not getting enough light.

Thyme Plant Pruning in Month 2

When your Thyme plant has three mature leaves, it's time to prune. Remove the top set of mature leaves, leaving the bottom two (cut just above the pair of leaves you want to maintain on the plant).

You may trim the tips of these branches once they have grown out (and each has a few sets of leaves), exactly like you did with the main stem.

At this stage, your plant should be reasonably well shaped, so channel your inner Bonzi master and harvest and shape your herbs.

Months 3+: Thyme Harvesting

Harvest just before the blooms open for the best flavor by cutting the plant 1.5" from the ground.

How To Prepare Meals With Freshly-Harvested Thyme

Most herbs are utilized by the world's most renowned chefs and food enthusiasts. One of them is thyme, a highly adaptable plant with an earthy and somewhat minty taste. Thyme can be utilized in several ways:

  • As a garnish for soups, spaghetti, sandwiches, and pizza, 
  • added to savory foods for a unique flavor. 
  • Transformed into teas and cocktails.

How To Store Herbs Like Thyme

There are many ways to keep your herbs fresh, but here are some of the easiest and most recommended:

The Lazy Person's Approach.

Keeping the fresh herbs in their original packaging and storing them in the refrigerator is required.

  • The herbs are stored in a glass of water in the refrigerator. You may accomplish this by severing the plant's stem, filling a glass jar or cup with water, and inserting the herb. It's almost like a bouquet or vase of plants! 
  • Keep it in a glass of water in natural light. 
  • Wrap the item loosely with a wet paper towel. 
  • Freeze those plants! Yes, fresh herbs such as thyme may be frozen for later use. You only need ice cube trays and a freezer to make ice cubes.

End of Life After 10 Years

Thyme, a perennial plant, may live for a very long time under optimal conditions.

If you are interested in learning about the dozens of different herbs, fruits, and vegetables that may be grown inside, then download our free eBook.

How Do You Care For Thyme Plants Indoors?

Herb care for indoor plants is comparable to that for outdoor plants. Each time you water, water well, but allow the soil to dry before watering again. Every two weeks, fertilize thyme with a diluted solution of fish emulsion or liquid seaweed.

 Cut down the thyme plant's woody stems to encourage new growth. Remove flowers and dry them for use in sachets or tea. The removal of flowers enhances the development of foliage.

How Much Light Does A Thyme Plant Need?

Thyme plants require 5+ hours of direct sunlight [DLI] exposure of 15+ mol/m2/day for optimal growth. For a grow lamp to deliver a similar quantity of light,

 it must be relatively bright! The Sansi 24W bulb should be placed 6 inches from the plant's crown. This results in a PPFD (the standard measure of luminance) of 500 mol/m2/s.

Does Thyme Need Direct Sunlight?

Thyme thrives in direct sunlight. Start with spring-planted seedlings after the last frost. Choose robust, young thyme plants from Bonnie Plants, a firm that has been assisting amateur gardeners for over a century. It should be planted in well-draining soil with a pH of around 7.0.

Using limestone gravel or builder's sand as mulch enhances drainage and prevents root rot. Add a few inches of Miracle-Gro Performance Organics All Purpose In-Ground Soil to the top layer of soil to improve its texture and nutrient content.

Thyme prefers a position with full sun and well-drained soil. It requires at least six hours of sunshine, but up to ten is OK. This tough plant can survive in cold weather, but it dies very quickly when it doesn't get enough sunlight. 

How Often Should Thyme Be Watered Indoors?

Thyme should be watered every 10 to 15 days. Thyme is an herb that requires very little water to flourish. This plant should only need watering every 10 to 15 days. Thyme is a plant that may grow in colder months due to its tenacity. 

Spending some time researching herb watering and care might positively affect your herb garden. Remember that cultivating herbs is about more than just creating healthy ingredients for food. It is also about making attractive, fragrant additions to your garden that can aid the growth of other plants.

How To Tell If Thyme Is Overwatered?

Thyme plants droop or wilt when the soil surrounding their roots is overly wet due to overwatering or slow-draining soil, which can lead to root rot. The indications of root rot are a drooping look and brown or yellowing leaves.

The most common cause of thyme plants drooping or wilting is overwatering. Small pots and containers that dry too fast, transplant shock, and excessive fertilizer can all cause thyme to droop.

Some types of thyme (such as creeping thyme) have a natural tendency to trail down the ground or down the edges of containers, which is typical for these types.

Troubleshooting Your Thyme

Alright! It's time to troubleshoot your thyme plant. Here are some major thyme plant troubleshooting tips.

Why Is My Thyme Changing Color?

If you notice that the stem of your thyme is going black, it means the plant is under water stress, either from too much or too little water. 

It is highly likely that the thyme has acquired root rot if it has been watered often.

How To Revive Thyme Affected By Root Rot?

Whether a thyme plant suffering from root rot may be revived depends on how severely the plant has been impacted.

Remove the plant from its container with care and trim away any infected roots and stems (these will have turned black). 

Remove as much dirt as possible and repot the plant in new potting soil. If the soil is entirely dry, you should water it lightly.


So there you go! This is how thyme is grown indoors. It takes some time to start and get it to the standard you want, but once it's established, it should require minimal maintenance and provide fresh herbs for years if given the proper care. You will also enjoy the delightful scent of fresh herbs.

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