June, 2016: Elfin Thyme

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Don Herzog's Plant of the Month: June, 2016

Section: GROUND COVERS

Common Name: ELFIN THYME

Botanical Name: Thymus Serphyllum 'Minus'

by Don Herzog, Miniature Plant Kingdom

This is miniature Elfin Thyme in pots, waiting to be set out on a garden railway layout. Photo by catherine yronwode.

Elfin Thyme is a superb, easy-to-grow plant in our area. When mature, it reaches 1-2 inches in height and generally spreads to about 18 inches wide. However, I have heard of some growing to 3 feet wide in a long time. Plant 12 inches apart if you are not in a big rush to fill the space.

In keeping with the name "Elfin," this variety of thyme has tiny foliage resembling moss. It flowers throughout the summer with tiny, purple flowers which can attract bees.

It grows best in full sun to part shade. It tolerates almost any type of soil, but prefers a light, draining one.

A newly planted patch of Elfin Thyme that is beginning to fill in and cover all the space between the plants. Photo by Becky Herzog.

I water my layout twice a week because I have a sandy loam soil. In Santa Rosa and other areas with heavy clay soil, once a week or less will do. If we continue to have dry weather, be sure to water throughout the winter months.

Sources: Elfin Thyme is generally sold in full flats and is available or can be ordered from our local full service nurseries. I have some extra ones in pots available. Call Don at 707-874-6016.