English thyme/common thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is the most popular variety of culinary thyme, this is the version most often found in England. Made its way to former British colonies like Jamaica, it has became a staple herb in other food cultures. The leaves of English thyme are larger and rounder than those of the French variety.
French Cooking/Summer Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is a superb culinary thyme used in French cooking. Grow in a pot to bring inside during winter. Upright habit, growing up to 12″ tall.
English thyme can make a passable substitute for French thyme, although it is noticeably more pungent. The difference in intensity means that anyone with a discerning palate may be able to tell when you are using a substitute in classic French dishes. Use less of it to compensate for the difference in flavor intensity. You can use French thyme in place of English in most of the applications that require that herb by increasing the quantity slightly to get something closer to English thyme’s pungency.
German Winter Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) The standard winter-hardy thyme with good flavor and yield. Classic culinary and ornamental herb. Small, round to needle-shaped evergreen leaves on woody stems. Mulch in cold winter climates.
‘Elizabeth’ Thyme (Thymus ‘Elizabeth’) Used in culinary seasoning, this prostrate variety provides extremely aromatic leaves that can be used to flavor meats, cheese, vegetables, and oil. Glossy green foliage is covered in early summer with pink flowers.
Lime Thyme (Thymus citriodorus) Scented leaves with a hint of lime. Low creeping habit. Excellent ground cover. Lime-green colored leaves.
Variegated Lemon Thyme (Thymus citriodora) Lemon-scented, upright and bushy. Flavors fish, poultry stuffings, and vegetables.
Miniature Creeping Thyme (Thymus minus) Slow-growing, compact and flat to the ground, with tiny leaves and pink flowers that give the finest texture on the lowest growing thyme. Fantastic underplanting in herb gardens, ornamental perennial beds and green roof plantings.
Creeping Red Thyme (Thymus praecox ‘Coccineus’) Aromatic and pretty ground cover can withstand light foot traffic and gives off pleasant aroma when walked upon. Rosy red flowers. Plants grow 1-3″ tall.
Thyme Variegated (Thymus praecox ‘Highland Cream’) Bright cream and gold foliage with a touch of green in the middle. Flower color ranges from hot pink to soft pale pink, and even white flowers in late spring.
Wooly Thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus) Fuzzy gray-green leaves are tiny and hug the ground. Nice contrast in sunny containers, we particularly love it in concrete urns with red phormium and variegated Algerian ivy. Must be planted in a dry location and never over-watered!
‘Elfin’ Thyme (Thymus serpyllum ‘Elfin’) A striking ornamental herb with purple blooms and tiny evergreen leaves. Great for filling between stepping stones. Tolerates light foot traffic and dry conditions. Works well in mixed beds or in pots when allowed to trail over the edges. Showy flowers and aromatic foliage.
Silver Thyme (Thymus vulgare ‘Argenteus’) Lovely in mixed containers, this is a taller upright that grows 8-12″ high. Pink-tinged in cool weather. Milder than other thymes in flavor and makes a pretty and unusual garnish.
Excellent drought and heat tolerance with great ornamental value. We’ve used all of the varieties below with great success in our green roof. Wonderful plants for garden paths between stepping stones and green roof plantings.
Will not tolerate poorly drained soil or shade.