How to Grow Thyme from Seed Step by Step

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96% of gardeners never grow thyme from seed. Instead, they use cuttings, layers or divisions to plant this versatile herb.

There is a good reason for that:

For starters, it’s hard to grow thyme from seeds because of slow, uneven germination. And sprouting feels like it takes forever. It’s easier to buy the plants or take some cuttings from a friend.

However, sometimes planting this herb from seed has its own benefits. First, apart from the patience required from your side, the best way to grow thyme is from seed.

Secondly, thyme seeds retain their germinating power for three years – which is a relatively longer than other herbs frequently grown from seed.

Lastly, it’s very cheap to plant plenty of thyme from a single sachet costing almost nothing – assuming you get a decent germination percentage.

If you are already pumped and would like to learn how to grow thyme from seed, this article is for you.

Without wasting your time, here is:


How to Grow Thyme from Seed Step by Step

Step 1: Harvest thyme seeds or purchase them

Thyme matures unevenly from plant to plant.

While cutting the ripening tops is one way to obtain seeds, use of cloths, sheets, or paper bags may prove more productive.

Around noon and again in late afternoon, gently shake the plants to encourage the ripe seeds to fall onto the sheets or into the bags.

Collect the seeds and spread them in a warm, airy room to finish drying.

Do keep in mind if the plants are wet or damp the tiny seeds may stick to the leaves and flower heads.

Step 2: Timing is everything

If you’re going to sow your seeds in a seedbed, plant thyme seeds in early spring with the drills 4 to 6 inches apart with 5 or 6 seeds per inch.

Alternatively start them indoor in pots in early spring to give them a head-start.

Step 3: Gently scatter seeds over the soil in the container you will be planting thyme seeds.

Because the seeds are so tiny, thyme seeds should be sown very shallowly or pressed into the soil with a fine layer sprinkled on top.

If planting in volume, mix sand with the seeds to prevent over-planting or aid uniform sprouting.

Some gardeners use as much as 4 parts sand to one part seed. But there’s no golden rule here. Therefore, go with what works for you.

Step 4: Gently scatter soil over the seeds.

If planting in a nursery bed, it’s better to plant seed in a nursery bed where more attention can be paid to the tiny plants.

This will also enable the more valuable garden space to be used for an earlier-maturing crop.

Step 5: Water thoroughly.

To break the thyme seed dormancy, you’ll need to give them a thorough drink. Just make sure that you’re not splashing water on the soil because water may splash away with the soil.

Read: How to Water Potted Plants and Keep them Happy

Step 6: Properly cover with a plastic wrap.

You don’t want the moisture to escape or expose the seeds to dry, windy conditions. Covering them with a plastic wrap will solve the problem for you.


Step 7: Place the container in a warm location. 

Warmth is one of the most important aspects for seeds to germinate optimally. Together with the other conditions discussed, choosing a suitable location is key for high germination success rate.

Step 8: The "long" wait!

I’ve already mentioned that thyme seed takes a while to germinate. But if you’ve followed all the steps outlined in this post, the wait will be worthwhile – trust me.

Seeds will germinate in one to 12 weeks.

Once thyme seedlings are 4 inches high, plant them where you will be growing thyme in your garden.


You’ve just read how to grow thyme from seed.

Now, if you’re one of those gardeners who like to take up a new challenge every now and then, don’t be among the 96% and experiment what I’ve discussed in this article.

If you’ve tried before and succeeded I’d like to hear about it.

Just be sure to drop a comment below.

Have I left out any helpful information? I’d like to hear that too

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4 thoughts on “How to Grow Thyme from Seed Step by Step”

  1. HI! I enjoyed your article.
    I planted some thyme this spring , probably covered too deep, and none came up>
    Later I planted another round, and did not cover, or only a sprinkle of soil. About 7 seeds sprouted.
    Of those, 3 are still alive several days later.
    I am letting it dry out so its not too damp…. and see if that helps.
    I’m going to plant another round. I’m determined to have more Thyme in my life! 🙂

  2. Thank you for this helpful information. How long does it take for the seedling to reach 4″ tall? My thyme seeds germinated in less than a week, sounds like I was lucky. They don’t seem to be growing taller though. Is that normal or do I need to improve the conditions?

    I grew the thyme from a growing kit which included a natural fiber pot and coco coir rather than soil. I was watering with a spray bottle according to the instructions, but recently watered from the bottom instead. There’s a small led grow light above the pot on for 12-14 hrs/day and they’re in a pretty sunny room. The pot is on a heating mat which isn’t very powerful but seems to gently keep the soil just a bit warmer. Thanks for any advice you can provide!

  3. will thyme seeds glued with flour on paper towel on soil cubes watered by capillary action germinate?

  4. Been waiting weeks for some thyme seeds I sowed. Was about to toss, but after reading this I’ll wait awhile longer. Thanks.

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