How to Harvest Thyme To Keep It Growing (9 PRO Tips)

Let’s see how it’s doing in the gardening world! If you are growing some, then learn how to harvest thyme! Thyme is one of the best herbs in the culinary world.

Do you like enhancing the flavor of your culinary creations by using fresh thyme? If this is the case, have you considered gathering it yourself from your backyard or balcony?

It is an alternative that is not only beneficial to one’s wallet but also offers a very gratifying experience.

This guide will give you a few simple pointers and suggestions for gathering thyme expertly.

The time has come to roll up our sleeves and go to work.

Thyme and Its Growth Cycle

The common thyme, scientifically known as Thymus vulgaris, is a perennial plant member of the mint family.

Growing thyme is simple and doesn’t take much attention once it’s sown. It is a plant that keeps its leaves year-round and may grow to a maximum height of 30 centimeters (12 inches).

The leaves are rather tiny and leathery, and their hue is grayish-green. The blooms are rather delicate and white, and they bloom in bunches.

1. Growing Thyme from Seeds

  • Growing thyme from seed is possible, but it is far simpler to begin with, established young plants. While it thrives best in full sun, thyme may also be grown in partial shade.
  • Even though it favors soil with good drainage, it may survive in soil with poor draining. Both division and stem cuttings may be used to grow thyme.
  • Dig up the thyme plant, move it to a new area, and replant it for the desired result.
  • To take cuttings, clip off a few stems from the parent plant about 10 centimeters or four inches long and set them in a container of water or wet soil until they form roots.
  • The cuttings may be replanted into their containers or the soil when the roots have established themselves.
  • After the thyme leaves have dried out and become a dark green hue, the plant is ready to be harvested.
  • Remove the stems from the plant slightly above where they branch off the main stem. You may dry thyme by hanging it upside down in a cool, dry place without humidity.
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Right Time to Harvest Thyme

When the plant has reached its full potential in terms of productivity and the leaves have reached their full potential in terms of taste, this is the ideal time to harvest thyme.

As thyme is an evergreen perennial herb, it may be picked many times throughout the growing season.

It is recommended to gather thyme before the plant blossoms to have a big supply of it available for cooking.

Preparing for Thyme Harvesting

Preparing for Thyme Harvesting

It is essential to understand when the thyme should be picked before beginning the harvesting process.

The optimum time to pick thyme is early in the morning after the dew has dried off but before the heat of the day has established itself.

While thyme may be picked at any time throughout the growing season, the optimal time to do it is right before the plant blossoms.

To harvest thyme, cut or snip off individual stems around one inch above where they branch off the main stem.

You may snip off individual thyme leaves as needed if you are utilizing a tiny quantity of the herb. Ensure you don’t remove all of the plant’s leaves since this will allow it to continue growing.

  • When you have gathered thyme, you have the option of using it fresh or drying it for use at a later time.
  • If you want to dry thyme, you should knot the stems together and then hang them upside down in a cold and dark area until the leaves get crispy.
  • After the leaves are dry, remove them from the stems and place them in a container to keep out air.

Choosing the Right Tools for Harvesting Thyme

When it comes to harvesting thyme, a few various instruments can be utilized. The equipment that is best suited for the task will depend on the size of the thyme plant and the kind of thyme you are dealing with.

When dealing with delicate leaves or little plants, the ideal tool is a pair of small pruning shears or scissors. Remove the plant’s lower stems by cutting them off at the base, being careful not to harm the roots.

Before gently pulling the plant up by the roots, you may loosen the soil surrounding the plant using a garden hoe or rake if you are harvesting many thymes.

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How to Cut Thyme for Optimal Yield

When cutting thyme, you must first locate the point at which the plant produces new growth.

Cut above this point, being sure to angle your cuts so that a greater portion of the plant is exposed to the sun. The next step is to make clean cuts right above a leaf node using sharp pruning shears.

 Be careful not to suffocate the plant since this will prevent it from growing properly. Lastly, to promote robust development, water the plants often and fertilize them once a month.

Techniques for Drying Thyme

Here are some practices for drying thyme:

1. Food Dehydrator

  • Spread the sprigs in a single layer on a dehydrator tray before washing them.
  • When it comes to drying hours, stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Take the leaves from the stalks after they’ve dried. (We highly recommend the following herb dehydrator.)

2. Oven

Remove the leaves from the stems. Make sure the leaves are spread out evenly on the baking sheet.

  • The tray should be placed on the center rack of the oven and heated to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Check the leaf moisture content every 15 to 20 minutes by rearranging the leaves.
  • They are completely dry when you can snap them in half with your thumb and fingertips, and they have a crispy, crackly texture. 30–45 minutes is about right in my oven.
  • Thyme leaves on stems may also be dried in the oven but remember that this will take longer.

3. Hand Drying

  • Try using a drying rack to air your little bundles of thyme (I use a curtain rod).
  • Keep the bundles out of direct sunlight, and make sure they don’t touch.
  • After around three to four weeks, depending on the humidity, the thyme will be completely dry.
  • Prepare the leaves by removing them from the stems, either by hand or using an herb remover. The stems should be discarded in a compost bin.

Cooking Notes of Thyme!

Thyme gives almost any food a mild, pleasant taste, but it is particularly delicious with meats, soups, and potatoes.

The flavor has been characterized as having undertones of both lemon and mint, with a hint of earthiness. There’s a hint of flowers in the taste of that stuff.

Depending on your preference, you may use fresh thyme with or without the stem. On the other hand, if a recipe asks for a “sprig,” you should keep the stem attached to the herb.

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During the cooking process, the leaves will fall off, and when the vegetable has cooled, the stem may be removed before it is served.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Harvesting Thyme

  • Postpone harvesting until later in the season. If you pick the herb sooner, its flavor will be more delicate and subtle.
  • Take care not to crush or otherwise injure the thyme leaves. As a result, the essential oils that give thyme its flavor will be degraded.
  • Don’t over-harvest from a single plant. Take just what you need since this will let the plant continue producing throughout the season.
  • Avoid plucking all of the leaves off the stem at once. Consequently, the plant will have a considerably more difficult time recuperating, and it is conceivable that it could die as a result.

How to harvest thyme FAQS

Q: What Is The Right Way To Cut Thyme?

With clean garden shears or scissors, remove a few leaves and cut a sprig several inches long from above a leaf node. Don’t sever the tough central stems.

Q: What To Do With Thyme In The Fall?

After you have gathered your thyme, you have many alternatives. If you reside in USDA Hardiness Zone 4 or a similar chilly area, you may grow thyme in pots and bring them inside in winter.

Keep it in a sunny area, and it will grow through the winter. If the thyme is already planted in the ground outdoors, you may either bring it inside or cover it with plastic.

 Put a few inches of mulch and dirt around the thyme’s base to keep the roots warm over the winter so you may leave the plant outside.


Thyme is a fantastic weed-controlling companion plant for taller plants like tomatoes, broccoli, and cabbage.

It may be planted at the base of these plants and will grow up and around them.

Thyme’s anti-oviposition properties are a boon for gardeners trying to protect their tomatoes from the yellow-striped armyworm.

Now that you know how to harvest thyme and when to tackle the task, we hope you enjoy your gardening!