Growing thyme from seed is easier than you think and indeed all you have to do is to be aware of various steps that are going to play a major role in the way. What we are going to do is look at 15 different steps that anybody who is serious about growing thyme indoors from scratch should really take into consideration if they are to be really successful at this from the get go.
1. Get Your Seedlings From a Known Nursery.
One of the main things is making sure that you know where your seedlings have come from and that they are a reliable supplier. This is going to involve you purchasing them from a known nursery that has a suitable reputation. By doing this, you will know that you are getting hybrid seeds and of the variety of thyme that you are expecting. This is known to increase the chances of there being successful germination later on just because you have gone that extra step.
- Do not always go for a bargain price.
- Buy quality seeds and you get quality plants.
- Check the nursery before you get started.
2. Make Sure You Know where it Will Be Grown
The next step is just to make sure that you know where they are going to be grown. The reason for this is so that you are aware that there is enough space, the light is going to be suitable and even the temperature that is generally in the area. Thyme is quite hardy but it still needs certain conditions for it to thrive so being aware of this in advance makes so much sense.
- Make sure there is enough space for the pots.
- Thyme might not grow high but it does spread.
- Check that there is not a draught or varying temperatures.
- Understand how much light gets to an area.
3. Think Carefully About the Container.
You cannot just grow thyme in any container that takes your fancy because most people are unaware of the role that the container plays in the potential success of the growth of a plant. For example, the seeds need air to get to the soil and that cannot get through if you use a pot that is glazed. You should also think about these important points when looking at the container.
- Be careful of the size as this determines when things have to be transplanted.
- Go for clay that is unglazed rather than plastic or glazed.
- Consider at least a 3 inch pot although this depends on the variety.
4. Always Just Use Potting Soil.
Thyme does not like to really get its feet wet and that does mean that you have to think carefully about the type of soil that you are going to be using in your container. Avoid using normal garden soil as that is too heavy and holds onto the moisture for too long but rather use potting soil that is very well draining.
- Potting soil has the correct nutrients for seeds or seedlings.
- It will not be too heavy and deals with moisture correctly.
- It will allow enough air to get around without causing problems.
5. Get Your Seed Containers Ready.
Next, we are going to move onto the seed containers themselves and as with most of these steps it is the preparation that is going to often be the key. In this instance, there are a number of rather important things that you must do to make sure that your seed containers are ready for the soil and seeds because if you thought that it was just a case of throwing everything in, then think again.
- Make sure that you disinfect the seed containers.
- This kills off any microbes or pests that would then get into the seed.
- Make sure you also disinfect the tools you are using.
- Having things clean is going to make a huge difference.
6. Always Soak the Seeds First.
Once again, if you thought that you only had to get the seeds and sow them into the soil and things would grow like crazy, then think again. Instead, you should really look at soaking the seeds before you even think about planting them and there are some very good reasons as to why you should go ahead and do this in advance.
- The seeds have a protective coating on the outside.
- This coating can be partially broken down by soaking the seeds.
- Some people prefer to leave them soak overnight before sowing them.
- There is no need to then let them dry before you sow them.
7. Your Seedlings Need Thinned Out.
Once you have noticed that your seeds have become established and started to germinate then you have to pay close attention to the point where the first couple of sets of leaves have been created. This is the point where you are going to have to start to thin out the seeds because thyme needs some place to grow and the last thing it wants to be doing is fighting for the different nutrients in the same pot. So, to thin out the seeds, you should consider these following steps.
- Prior to thinning them out you have to prepare the pots that they will be transplanted to.
- Gently loosen the soil around them and use two fingers to softly lift them out.
- By transplanting you give the roots more space to grow leading to a better plant.
8. Make Sure the New Pot is Ready.
We just mentioned this in the previous point but it is very important that the pot that the thyme is being transplanted into is ready. The last thing you want is to be uprooting the plants, which is stressful for them, and then having to put them down while you go and get the pot ready. It has to be a smooth action or you can cause trouble for yourself.
- Understand how many seeds you are transplanting and have each container ready.
- Add some potting soil and gently moisten the soil.
- Make sure that you have previously disinfected the pots to prevent the spread of bugs and diseases.
9. Always Use the Correct Soil.
This is also rather important because you need to make sure that you have the correct soil for the seedlings because they are going to require some additional help to get them through this rather traumatic experience. Now, just as with the seeds, you cannot use normal garden soil as this is still going to be too heavy and unable to be drained enough for the plants.
- Still use a good quality potting soil.
- Make sure it has drainage in it either with sand, perlite, or vermiculite.
- It should not be able to hold onto moisture for too long.
10. Never Plant in Cold Soil.
This is a point that is often overlooked by many, but you should always avoid planting the seedlings in soil that is cold. You need to remember that these plants do like the sun and heat and the roots are already in a state of shock because of being moved so putting them into something cold is not going to be in your best interests.
- If required, make sure the soil is at room temperature or close to it.
- Cold soil means the roots will stagnate with their growth.
- This checking of the roots means your plants could stop growing.
- It can set back the growth of your thyme by weeks.
11. Check the Spacing of the Seedlings.
If you have a large enough container whereby you are growing several thyme plants together then it is still important that you are aware of the kind of spacing that must exist between the plants. Just putting fewer of them in a container and still having them competing for nutrients is not exactly going to lead to a healthy plant.
- Seedlings cramped together will not grow as well.
- They will use up the nutrients in a shorter period of time.
- The spacing between the seedlings should be at least 8 to 12 inches.
12. Think Carefully About the Watering Part.
Thyme is very specific in the way in which it enjoys water and it is all too easy for you to either overdo it or not give it enough and that is clearly going to cause you problems no matter which one you are actually guilty of doing. However, this does not have to be the case because it is more down to you understanding the levels and also being aware of the difference that the weather and temperatures are going to make to the different amounts of water that you are going to end up having to give the plant.
- Thyme is not as thirsty as other plants.
- It hates wet feet so never over water with poor drainage.
- In warmer temperatures you will have to increase the amount of water.
- Check when the top of the soil is dry to a depth of around ½ an inch.
- Try to water the soil more than water the plant.
13. Be Careful for Any Weeds.
Even though we are looking at you growing your thyme indoors, there is still a need for you to keep your eyes open for any weeds appearing in the soil. This can happen by nature blowing seeds in or most commonly cross-contamination by your own self and you cannot afford to just leave the weeds there in the soil.
- Weeds take away nutrients that the thyme needs to grow.
- They should be removed immediately to also stop them from pollinating the other plants.
- Weeds can get into the roots of the thyme plants and start to cause problems.
14. Use an LED Grow Light to Help You Along.
Thyme plants need light for at least five hours per day if you are to end up with plants that are strong and healthy. However, as you are growing them indoors it stands to reason that this might not always be possible so you have to be prepared to take other steps so that your plants are indeed capable of growing into something that you can be proud of.
- LED grow lights give the correct light intensity for thyme.
- They also provide the full spectrum of light for both vegetative and flowering states.
- They are efficient and produce better results with stronger and healthier plants.
15. How to Correctly Harvest the Thyme.
Finally, we have to look at how you harvest your thyme because you clearly want to be doing this in the correct manner or else you do run the risk of ruining your entire plant in the process. Thankfully, the harvesting aspect should not give you too much cause for concern.
- You can actually start harvesting it as soon as there is enough foliage.
- Do not harvest it hard at the start or you can damage the plant.
- Most people will harvest it around mid-summer.
- Never remove the entire stem as this provides the plant with the opportunity to regrow.
- Alternatively, in mid-summer cut the plant back to around two inches in height it will then regrow and you can have a second major crop by the time you get to fall if you provide the correct growing conditions.
If you are able to follow those 15 different steps then there is really no reason why you cannot be a major success at growing thyme in your home and from seed. Remember, there is no absolute guarantee that you will be a rip roaring success, but at the end of the day there is a very real need for you to understand that there are certain things that you are able to do that will improve the chances of your thyme maturing into a wonderful plant.