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:
- "Pink Chintz"
- "Ohme Garden Carpet"
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.