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Thyme Lawns

Updated on July 12, 2011

Creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum) is one of the most popular lawn replacement groundcovers.

Hardy and drought-resistant, creeping thymes produce small, but attractive and prolific flowers, and a pleasant odor. They grow about 2-4 inches high, and do not require mowing.

Though unsuited to heavy traffic areas, thyme lawns stand up well to light and moderate traffic, and also do very well planted among flagstones or other stepping stones.

Multiple varieties can be used to create more interest, including the "Persian Carpet" effect popularized by Ohme Gardens.

Suggested Creeping Thyme Cultivars For Thyme Lawns

These cultivars are well-suited to creeping thyme lawns:

  • "Reiter"
  • "Pink Chintz"
  • "Coccineus"
  • "Albus"
  • "Woolly"
  • "Ohme Garden Carpet"
  • "Elfin"

Photo by photogirl7
Photo by photogirl7

Planting and Maintenance

Before planting a thyme lawn, it is very important to kill the grass.

Once the ground is prepared, plants can be placed about 6-12" apart. Plants should be watered in thoroughly, then watered deeply about once a week (more in extremely hot or dry conditions) until they are established.

Once established creeping thyme is relatively drought-tolerant and should not be overwatered. Yellowing leaves are a sign of overwatering.

Low-growing thymes do not need to be mowed, but you may wish to cut after blooming in order to remove the withered blooms to tidy the appearance. Set blades relatively high, so they cut off flower tops without touching the stems below. Thyme should never be scalped.


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    • Tuesdays child profile image

      Tuesdays child 7 years ago from In the garden

      I didn't know thyme could be used as a ground cover, but will try this out this year. Thanks for the great information!

    • Netters profile image

      Netters 9 years ago from Land of Enchantment - NM

      I love to learn about groundcovers. There's not much to grow here in New Mexico. Thank you.

    • Netters profile image

      Netters 9 years ago from Land of Enchantment - NM

      Sorry, I hit submit twice.

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

      I have used thyme in the lawn and introduced it to the property, where I live now, this past summer.