Groundcover Wednesday: Lemon Thyme
With the onset of summer and in honor of beginning our second year of the blog, we’re adding a new feature beginning today: Groundcover Wednesdays. Offered up under the premise that properties shouldn’t be designed with turfgrass alone, these weekly posts will focus on some of the best grass replacement plants, or plants for those places where grass just doesn’t do well. Special emphasis will be given to plants that never, ever require pesticide applications.
As we build up our list of great groundcovers through the year, we’d love to hear your suggestions, too. And please feel free to share any photos you have. I’m sure our members would love to see them.
Unquestionably my favorite groundcover, I simply adore this plant for its scent, its appearance, its durability and the fact that it’s also edible. What more could you ask for?
Here’s a rundown:
Botanical name: Thymus citriodorus
Plant Characteristics: Low maintenance, disease, insect and drought tolerant. Tolerates wind and slopes. Resists deer and rabbits.
Foliage Characteristics: Fragrant, shimmering green, although some cultivars are variegated.
Flower Characteristics: Fragrant pink or purple. Scented. Blooms early to late summer.
USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 to 9
Light Range: Part shade to Full Sun
pH Range: 5.5 to 8
Soil Range: Mostly Sand to Clay Loam
General Comments: This plant is about as self-sufficient as it gets; in fact you should avoid most temptations to give it fertilizer or other care, other than maybe a shot of organic fertilizer once in the fall. It’s most fragrant and flavorful when grown in dry, lean soil.
Troubleshooting: Avoid too much moisture or the plants may rot. Try to obtain well-rooted cuttings from existing plants and space them 4-6 inches apart in the beginning, although you can start the plants from seed if you have patience. In southern climates the plant can get more shrub-like, so give it a hard pruning in the spring to get it low to the ground.