If you are into cooking you probably are already a fan of thyme. All your favourite cuisines across the globe including Chinese, Italian, Mexican, American, French, Turkish and even the Caribbean make use of this herb. If you are looking for a herb to grow which will enhance your culinary skills while beautifying your garden, thyme is just what you need.
Known for its extremely long shelf life, thyme is one of the most used herbs in cuisines all over the world. A particular favourite among most chefs, the use of thyme dates back to almost as early as the beginnings of human history. Before its culinary uses were discovered, thyme served completely different purposes that most of us today have absolutely no clue of.
Apart from enhancing your dishes, thyme also helps your body fight the symptoms of several infections and diseases like sore throat, arthritis, diarrhea and skin infections. It is among the easily available herbs that are seen stacked on the shelves of almost all grocery stores.
However having this beautiful herb that can aid you in so many ways in your own garden is both cost-effective and beneficial, as most gardeners here would agree.
If you are planning to grow thyme in the garden and are keen on learning how to go about the process, this article is just for you. Did you know you can cultivate thyme by doing as little as plating its cuttings?
Now you do. Wondering how to grow thyme from cuttings? Well, then the thyme has come to solve your doubts. Read on and find out.
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Introduction: Time to Know Thyme
The popularity thyme commands on a global scale can be justified only by its taste, benefits and aroma. This beautiful herb will beautify your garden, level up your culinary game and improve your health. Can you imagine? So many benefits from an herb as tiny as thyme!
What is even more surprising, however, is the manner in which this herb was used about two millennia ago. Far from the kitchen, thyme was put to use in pyramids!
Yes, you read that right. Owing to its belonging to the class of biocides, thyme was used to preserve the bodies of the Egyptian mummies before putting them inside coffins and pyramids.
Thyme, whose most common variety is scientifically known as Thymus vulgaris, is probably a native of the North African region. Due to the host of benefits that it comes with, thyme has now become popular all over the world, with most herb loving gardeners growing it in their own gardens.
Thyme is a hardy plant which is resistant to a lot of environmental imbalances which most garden plants cannot stand. This adds yet another reason for you to cultivate it at home. This herb, mostly grown for its aroma and flavour, has now become a favorite among the gardeners all over the world and is thus a must-have in your herb garden.
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How to Grow Thyme from Cuttings?
Hopefully, now you know all that you needed to know about thyme. Let us now discuss how to propagate thyme. Thyme, as you already read, is a hardy plant which can thrive under harsh conditions as well. These plants grow best in sunny regions with high temperatures and do not need much watering after they have grown to a certain extent.
They require a well-drained soil of 6.3 PH. These plants grow as perennials, growing well when pruned regularly. Growing thyme at home not only gives you the comfort of using them as and when you please, but also saves you a lot of money in exchange for very little effort.
Thyme is among the easiest of herbs to grow. They can be propagated in many ways. Thyme generally grows to attain an average height of about 12 inches and its stems gradually become hard and woody which is the plants’ attempt towards self-preservation in extreme situations.
However, in cases of most herbs, propagation through seeds is not a good idea. Like most herbs of its type, thyme does best when cultivated from cuttings. Not only is this method easier to follow, but also the herbs produced thereby grow faster and are richer in flavour.
You must be wondering by now how to plant thyme from cuttings.
Well, cultivating thyme from its cuttings is an extremely easy process that can easily be followed at home.
- This process includes cutting off apart from an existing thyme plant and planting it in the soil for a new plant. This cutting planted in the soil soon takes root and starts growing as a young plant.
- Using cuttings to cultivate herbs is a very cost-efficient way as this process makes one plant in your herb garden serve as an infinite source of new plants, which you will never run out of.
- This does not only reduce the number of efforts you have to put in but also saves you from spending your hard-earned money on expensive fresh herbs or herb seeds from the market.
Just like every other gardening activity this process requires you to be specifically careful and observant.
There are several considerations to make in this regard including when to rake the cutting, which section of the plant to cut, how to plant it and what kind of medium to use.
Let us take a look at the various things to keep in mind in this process.
When to take the cuttings?
The first decision that you have to make while propagating thyme through its cuttings is when to take the cuttings from the plant. Deciding when the right time it can be a difficult job, as if you are too or early or too late you may end up with absolutely nothing except wasted cuttings.
Thyme stems grow woody and thin after the plants have grown fully. Taking cuttings from a woody stem is a bad idea since woody stems hardly ever take root. Another thing would want to look out for is buds. If you take a cutting from a plant that has already started flowering the rooting process gets slowed down.
Therefore it is best to take the cuttings after the plants have grown a little over 3 to 4 inches tall, but before they have started flowering. If you are too early or too late you might end up cutting from a plant that has not matured yet, or from a plant that is not capable of rooting any more.
Late spring and early summer is the best time to take the cuttings. The cuttings must be taken from the new growth that emerges at the stem tips after the plants have matured enough, but before they start flowering.
Selecting the right cuttings
The next thing that should get you worried is what kind of cutting to select. This decision is extremely crucial, as if you select the wrong kind of cutting, you might end up killing the source plant while being left with no new plant. It is therefore vital to make an informed decision.
You might need to keep two things in mind. Firstly, the cuttings you take must be from the soft, green stems. The hard, woody and thin stems do not grow roots easily.
Secondly, be sure to select a cutting from a healthy, mature and well-established stem. If you choose a stem which is not mature enough, the resulting plant will not be able to take root.
You would also have to be sure to avoid cutting the section that contains a flower or a bud. If you plant a section with a bud on it the plant ends up taking a lot more time to form roots, during which it may even end up dying.
An ideal cutting is about 2 to 4 inches tall and consists of healthy and soft foliage. It should be taken from the nodes at the stem where the leaves attach. The node is the region from where roots develop best.
The cut-out section should be a new growth at the top of the stem which should be cut off before it matures. It is always advisable to cut the section from an upright stem so as to ensure that the resultant plant grows straight and can later be pruned into forming a round herb.
The right kind of medium
The next question is the selection of the right kind of medium to use to transplant the cutting so that it grows up to be a healthy new plant.
At this stage your cuttings that would grow into healthy thyme plants are really delicate and susceptible to a host of diseases and infections. The medium you choose should therefore be healthy and definitely free of pests and diseases.
Use a good quality soil mix and add a sterile medium like sand or perlite. Make sure that the medium is moist but not dripping wet.
Excess water will kill the plant as thyme plants are hardy and do not require a lot of water. Make sure you make a potting hole instead of just shoving the plant in the soil.
Cultivating Thyme from Cuttings: The Process
If you have followed this article till here, you know everything you need to before starting off. Now let us see how to go about the process of propagating thyme from its cuttings.
- Take the cuttings- Keeping all the requisites in mind take a suitable cutting from the source plant. Make sure that the section you have cut consists of a node from where the roots would develop. To do this, pull back a new shoot developing on the stem and cut it a little below the node.
- Leaving only a pair of leaves on the top, remove all the other leaves from the cutting.
- Prepare the potting medium soon. Do not leave the cutting separate from the source plant for too long as it starts getting dehydrated. This medium is only temporary, and is required only as long as the plants are not strong enough.
- Poke a potting hole in the medium and gently place the cutting inside it, covering it with soil on all sides, and providing enough support for the plant to keep standing.
- Make sure that you keep the newly planted cuttings humid, as loss of water is a major threat to them.
- Place the cuttings in a warm location where it gets enough sun. However, in case the temperatures in your region rise too high, consider providing the new plants with proper shade during the hottest time of the day.
- Check for roots after a month, but do not expect to see roots before about two months. Once the roots have developed, transplant them into the garden or their permanent beds. Make sure you use sandy soil to transplant them into, which is porous and well drained.
How to Grow Thyme from Cuttings in Water?
Just like many other herbs, thyme cuttings too can be grown in water. In fact, many gardeners consider this method easier and more economic, especially for those without a gardening space.
Thyme can be grown very well in a glass of water, which also gives you the benefit of taking some leaves from it anytime you need, from the kitchen itself.
Well, this is extremely easy. All you need is a healthy cutting and a glass of fresh water. Place your cutting in the water, making it stand erect, with no leaves submerged. The glass should be placed in a warm region with a lot of light.
Be sure to change the water once every one or two days, so as to avoid the growth of bacteria and algae, and to keep your plant healthy. It may take up to a week or two for the roots to form and you may need to transfer the plant to a bigger vessel as it grows.
In conclusion, it must be said that the key to having a healthy thyme plant grow from a cutting is to take proper care of the plant and to be vigilant. Do not neglect your plants, as then all your efforts would yield you nothing.