Thyme Varieties for a Sidewalk Border
Answered by: Richters Staff
Question from: Dave King
Posted: Before April 1998

I hope you can help me choose a variety of thyme for a sidewalk border. I live in California (Zone 9) and the temperature will go as low as the high 20s Fahrenheit.

There are some varieties of thyme that supposedly grow to only 2 - 4" in height. Are these frost hardy? Would you suggest some other similar perennial herb variety? Thanks for any help you can provide.

Thymes such as wild, creeping, caraway, nutmeg, creeping lemon and others will do well in your area. Two new introductions from Richters are Lemon Carpet(TM) and Orange Spice(TM) thyme. These will also produce a nice low bed for your sidewalk border. All are frost hardy.

Wild thyme is perhaps the most hardy of the thymes. It is also the only creeping thyme that can be started from seeds. It is possible to establish a thyme patch by sowing seeds directly in the garden. Ten grams of seed covers 100-150 square metres (1000-1500 square feet). Because the seeds are so small, we recommend mixing them with sand (1 part seeds to 10 parts sand, measured by volume) to help get a more even distribution of seeds.

Other thymes must be established from purchased plants. If you have a large area to plant, potted thymes can be divided into two or three plants right out of the pot. If you are in a hurry and you want a good cover in one season you need 40 plants per square metre (4 plants per square feet). If you have more patience you can do with 20 or as few as 10 plants per square metre (2 or 1 plant per square foot). If you are planting a large area, consider Richters plug trays which come with 120 plants each. See the Richters catalogue for more details.

Other herbs you might also consider are creeping savory, Faassen’s catnip, and Lockwood rosemary,

[Lemon Carpet and Orange Spice are trademarks of Richters. All rights reserved.]

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