Thyme is not only a tasty culinary herb, but it looks good, too. There are many varieties to choose from, with leaves ranging from dark green to golden or variegated. In summer, they bear white, purple or pink flowers, which are extremely popular with bees and butterflies.
Thyme hails from the Mediterranean, so it prefers a well-drained soil in a sunny spot in the garden - in heavy soils the leaves will be less aromatic, with fewer flowers. It's also ideal for growing in containers and even hanging baskets – try our lavender and thyme hanging basket.
Here are seven thymes go grow.
Thymus vulgaris, also known as common thyme or garden thyme, has striking purple flowers and grows into a spreading carpet. It's ideal for filling in crevices in rock gardens and gaps in patios. The leaves have a strong aroma and are useful in stews, soups and with meat and fish dishes.
Thymus citriodorus 'Archers Gold'
Thymus citriodorus 'Archers Gold' is a low-growing, mat-forming thyme. Its yellow-green leaves are lemon-scented, making it perfect for chicken and fish dishes.
Thymus citriodorus ‘Variegata’
As the name suggests, Thymus citriodorus 'Variegata' is a variegated variety, with lemon-scented foliage. It bears attractive pink flowers in summer.
Thymus nitidus ‘Peter Davis’
Thymus nitidus 'Peter Davis' is a low-growing, mat-forming thyme, bearing aromatic grey-green leaves and pink flowers in late spring. A good choice for a sunny rockery or raised bed.
Thymus 'Caborn Wine and Roses'
This relatively new cultivar was bred in the UK. A prostate, creeping type, it is low growing and spreads to around 40cm, making it a good choice for planting between paving stones or in a rockery. It has pink flowers and leaves are slightly larger than most creeping thymes.
Thymus pulegioides 'Bertram Anderson'
Thymus pulegioides 'Bertram Anderson' is an attractive variety that forms neat, spreading mounds of golden leaves. A good choice for edging a path. The leaves have a mild flavour.
Thymus ‘Silver Queen’
Thymus 'Silver Queen' is compact and bushy, and can be grown as the edging to a path or in cracks in patios. Its dark green variegated leaves are held on crimson stems; it bears clusters of tiny pink flowers in summer.