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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Other Common Names Include:

English Thyme, Common thyme, Garden thyme

Latin Name: Thymus vulgaris

Plant Family: Labiatae

Close Relatives: Mint, oregano, basil, lavender, sage

Uses and Markets: Culinary (e.g. seasoning); Medicinal (e.g. antiseptic); Personal Care Products (e.g. soaps, toothpaste)

English thymeFrench thyme
Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone


Special Notes

Seeds take 8 – 10 days to germinate.

Propagation method

Most commonly by transplants from seeds; less commonly by cuttings, layering, and root division.

Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates


Field Seeding Date:


Field Transplanting Dates


In-row spacing

15 – 20 cm

Between row spacing

30 – 40 cm

Optimal Soil temperature at planting



No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions. Research from Hungary showed an optimal nitrogen rate of 200 kg/ha for herb yield, and 100 kg/ha for essential oil yield. Application of nitrogen after each harvest will promote re-growth. Avoid over application of nitrogen, especially late in the season. Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

Well-drained soils; sandy soils; loam soils.

Soil pH


Special requirements for growth habit

Mulch for winter protection.

Optimal Temperature Range

15 – 25 °C

Temperature sensitivity

Freeze tolerant.

Irrigation requirements

Irrigation beneficial under normal Ontario conditions.

Days to harvest

105 days

Specialized equipment:


Harvest Scheduling

Single harvest (first year); multiple harvests from the same planting (successive years) Harvest before flowering.

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Hand harvest

Quality parameters/grades

No established grades. Quality is determined by the market.

Additional Harvest Notes


Post harvest
Special handling/curing

Dry stems and leaves at <40°C to maintain quality.

Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH): >95%

Temperature: 0°C

Air Exchange: N/A

Duration: 2 to 3 weeks

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates: Leafhoppers, four-lined plant bug (Poecilocapuslineatus), tarnished plant bug, garden fleahopper(Halticusbractatus)

Diseases: None

Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates: Aphids*, spider mites

Diseases: Powdery mildew, fungal crown and root rots (e.g. Rhizoctonia), fungal leaf blights (e.g. Septoria, Alternaria), wilt virus, Botrytis, Sclerotinia white mould, rust

*Indicates pests commonly mentioned as causing significant damage or economic loss to this crop in other regions. 


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario: four-lined plant bug. This crop is in Crop Group 19: Herbs and Spices Group and subgroup 19A: Herb Subgroup. This crop group is being revised and may change in the near future. For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section.  Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product.  For more information, consult an OMAFRA specialist.For pest control products registered on this crop refer to OMAFRA Publication 838.

Tarnished plant bug damage on thyme Garden fleahopper and damage on thyme Four-lined plant bug damage to oregano
Additional Notes

French tarragon is considered a selection of Russian tarragon, which is sometimes listed as a separate species (Artemisia dracunculoides). However, Russian tarragon is inferior in taste and is not commercially grown. Tarragon plants should be removed every three years due to decreasing quality of the plant.

Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1. McKeown, A.W., C.J. Bakker and J. Schooley. 1998-2002. Herb Demonstration Garden, University of Guelph Simcoe Research Station, unpublished.
  2. Westerveld, S., Elford, E., Filotas, M. and J. Todd. 2010-present. OMAFRA herb demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  1. Kowalchik, C. and W.H. Hylton. 1998. Rodale`s illustrated encyclopaedia of herbs. Rodale Press, Emmaus PA.
  2. McHoy, P. and P. Westland. 1994.The herb bible: the ultimate herb reference book. New Burlington Books, London, UK.
  3. McVicar, J. 1994. Jekka’s complete herb book. Raincoast Books, Vancouver.
  4. Readers Digest. 2009. The complete illustrated book of herbs. The Readers Digest Association,Pleasentville, New York.
  5. Schooley, J. and J. Llewellyn. 2009. Growing culinary herbs in Ontario. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. 2009.
  6. Small, E. 2006.Culinary herbs. NRC Research Press, Ottawa, ON.
  7. Thomas, S.C.L. 2000. Medicinal plants: culture, utilization and phytopharmacology. Technomic Publishing Company,Lancaster, Pennsylvania.