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Red Creeping Thyme, a primer

Creeping Red Thyme

What is Red Creeping thyme?

Red creeping thyme (Thymus praecox ‘Coccineus’) is a low-growing, spreading herb that is commonly used as a ground cover in gardens and landscapes. It is a type of thyme that is native to southern Europe and western Asia, but is now widely cultivated in North America and other parts of the world.

Red creeping thyme is known for its attractive foliage, which is a deep green color that turns bronze in the fall. The leaves are small, oval-shaped, and emit a pleasant fragrance when crushed. In the summer, the plant produces clusters of tiny pink to purple flowers that add color to the garden.

One of the benefits of red creeping thyme is that it is low maintenance and can tolerate a range of growing conditions. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun, but can also grow in partial shade. It is drought tolerant and can handle some foot traffic, making it a great choice for use as a ground cover between pavers or in areas where grass is difficult to grow.

In addition to its ornamental value, red creeping thyme has culinary uses and is often used to flavor meats, soups, and stews. It is also believed to have medicinal properties and has been used to treat coughs, bronchitis, and other respiratory ailments.

How do you plant red creeping thyme?

Red creeping thyme is relatively easy to plant and care for. Here are the general steps to follow when planting red creeping thyme:

  1. Choose a suitable location: Red creeping thyme prefers well-drained soil and full sun, but can also tolerate partial shade. Make sure the area you choose receives at least 6 hours of sunlight each day.
  2. Prepare the soil: If the soil is heavy or has poor drainage, add some sand or gravel to improve drainage. Work some compost or other organic matter into the soil to improve its fertility and structure.
  3. Plant the thyme: Dig small holes in the soil that are slightly wider than the root ball of the plant. Space the plants about 12-18 inches apart. Gently place the plants in the holes and backfill with soil. Water the plants well after planting.
  4. Mulch around the plants: Adding a layer of mulch around the plants can help to retain moisture in the soil and suppress weeds.
  5. Water the plants: Water the plants regularly, especially during hot, dry weather. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot.
  6. Fertilize the plants: Red creeping thyme doesn’t require a lot of fertilizer, but you can apply a slow-release fertilizer once or twice a year to promote healthy growth.
  7. Prune the plants: Prune the plants back in the spring or early summer to promote bushy growth and remove any dead or damaged foliage.

With proper care, red creeping thyme can grow into a lush, attractive ground cover that adds color and texture to your garden.

Is Red Creeping Thyme invasive?

Red creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum coccineus) is generally not considered an invasive plant, but it can be aggressive in certain growing conditions. It is a low-growing, spreading plant that can be used as a ground cover, and it is often planted in rock gardens, along borders, and in between stepping stones. While it is not usually invasive, it is important to monitor its growth and prune it back if it starts to spread beyond its intended area. It is always a good idea to check with your local gardening or environmental authorities to determine if any plants are considered invasive in your particular region.

Can red creeping thyme grow in Canada?

Yes, red creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum coccineus) can grow in Canada. It is a hardy plant that is tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions, including cold temperatures and different soil types. However, its ability to grow and thrive may depend on factors such as local climate, soil conditions, and amount of sunlight available. If you are considering planting red creeping thyme, it is best to consult with local gardening resources or plant nurseries to determine if it is suitable for your particular region and growing conditions.

Can you eat red creeping thyme?

Yes, red creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum coccineus) is edible and has a slightly spicy flavor. It is often used as a culinary herb, especially in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, and is a common ingredient in dishes such as soups, stews, and salads. The leaves of the plant are the part that is typically used in cooking, and they can be harvested and used fresh or dried. However, it is important to make sure that any plants you plan to consume have not been treated with pesticides or other chemicals that may be harmful if ingested.

Is the proper name red creeping thyme or creeping red thyme?

The proper name of the plant is Thymus serpyllum ‘Coccineus’, but it is commonly referred to as either “red creeping thyme” or “creeping red thyme”. The two names are used interchangeably to describe the same plant. However, the name “red creeping thyme” is more commonly used.

Can you plant red creeping thyme on your lawn?

Yes, you can plant red creeping thyme on your lawn as it is a low-growing groundcover that can tolerate foot traffic. It can be used as an alternative to grass in areas where traditional lawns may be difficult to maintain, such as in steep slopes, dry or rocky soils, or areas with high sun exposure. When planting red creeping thyme on your lawn, it is best to prepare the soil by removing any weeds or other unwanted plants and adding organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve soil fertility and drainage. You should also ensure that the soil is well-draining and has a pH between 6.0 and 8.0. Once the soil is prepared, you can plant the thyme seeds or plugs according to the recommended spacing and watering requirements. With proper care, red creeping thyme can establish a dense, colorful, and fragrant groundcover that requires minimal maintenance.

Where can you buy red creeping thyme seeds in Canada?

Red creeping thyme seeds can be purchased from various garden centers, nurseries, and online stores in Canada. Here are some options:
  • West Coast Seeds: This is a Canadian seed company that offers organic and non-GMO seeds for vegetables, flowers, and herbs, including red creeping thyme. You can order seeds online or find a local retailer near you.
  • Veseys Seeds: This is another Canadian seed company that sells seeds for various plants, including red creeping thyme. You can order seeds online or request a catalog to be mailed to you.
  • Richters Herbs: This is a Canadian herb and plant nursery that offers a wide range of herb seeds and plants, including red creeping thyme. You can order seeds online or visit their nursery in Ontario.
  • Amazon.ca: You can also find red creeping thyme seeds on Amazon.ca, which offers a range of options from different sellers. However, be sure to check the seller’s reputation and reviews before making a purchase.

It’s always a good idea to compare prices and shipping fees before making a purchase to ensure that you are getting the best deal. Additionally, you may want to check with your local garden center or nursery to see if they carry red creeping thyme seeds or plants.

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