Silver Thyme or Lemon-Scented Thyme

Silver Thyme

Silver Thyme is considered a culinary herb. It makes a beautiful addition to any herb garden. Silver Thyme typically grows to 6 to 12 inches high and spreads out to 1 to 3-feet and is sometimes referred to as Hi Ho Silver Thyme. The delicate white and green variegated leaves make it a good candidate for window box planters, containers or on patios and walkways.

The flowers of silver thyme can range from Pink, Purple/Lavender to White in color. The plant is an evergreen herb requiring full sun to partial shade to grow successfully. Thyme is a natural attracter for butterflies.

It is a favorite herb for cottage gardens, formal herb gardens and rock gardens. It is also commonly called lemon-scented thyme giving off a strong lemon scent. It is recognized by its leaf edges, which are silvery with green centers. Look for the flowers in early summer.

Thyme should be planted in well-drained soil. The preferred soil is neutral to alkaline. Lightly harvest the leaves after flowering to encourage new growth.

Silver Thyme grows well in climate zones 4-11.

A flavorful culinary herb, silver thyme makes a good accent to recipes calling for a lemon flavor. Combine silver thyme with parsley to season meats, stews and soups.

1. History of Thyme

Ancient Greeks used thyme in their baths and burnt it as incense in their temples, believing it was a source of courage. The Romans introduced thyme throughout Europe to purify their rooms, and to give an aromatic flavor to cheese and liqueurs. During the European Middle Ages the herb was placed beneath pillows as a sleep aid and to ward off nightmares. Women would often give knights thyme leaves to provide courage.

2. Tips for growing silver thyme

• Plant thyme in full sun and in well-drained soil
• Thyme requires soil that is neutral or alkaline
• Plant in holes 3 to 4 inches deep and across
• Fertilize thyme with an organic fertilizer after the plant is established
• Do not over fertilize or the flavor may be reduced
• Space thyme 6 to 9-inches apart.
• Mulch around the plant but not on the top
• Mulch with 3 inches of organic compost
• Water well until the soil is moist
• Trim back the plants in spring

Botanical Name:        Thymus × citriodorus ‘Argenteus’
Common Name:        Silver thyme, Lemon-scented thyme or Hi Ho Silver Thyme
Synonyms:                  T. vulgaris ‘Argenteus’, T. citriodorus ‘Argenteus’
Genus:                     Thymus

3. Important thyme species and cultivars

Thymus citriodorus: various lemon thymes, orange thymes, lime thyme.
Thymus herba-barona: (caraway thyme) is used both as a culinary herb and a ground cover, and has a strong caraway.
Thymus praecox: (mother of thyme, wild thyme), cultivated as an ornamental.
Thymus pseudolanuginosus: (woolly thyme) is not a culinary herb, but is grown as a ground cover.
Thymus serpyllum: (wild thyme, creeping thyme) an important nectar source for honeybees. A low-growing variety of thyme, it is good for walkways.
Thymus vulgaris: common thyme, English thyme, summer thyme, winter thyme, French thyme, or garden thyme.

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