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How to Grow Thyme From Seed

Grow thyme from seed in pots or directly in the ground for a great addition to any kitchen herb garden. Thyme is easy to grow from seed, and easy to care for with a little know-how.

Thyme growing in a terracotta pot.
Growing thyme from seed.

Growing thyme from seed

Thyme is a fragrant and versatile herb. Its fresh flavor adds is delicious with many vegetable or meat dishes, sauces dressings and more. It grows well in pots or in the ground, and is a superb addition to any herb garden, inside or out.

Thyme is relatively easy to grow from seed, but is even easier to grow from a cutting, if you have access to a healthy parent plant. See this post for all the details: growing thyme from cuttings.

Choose a location

I should plant thyme seeds in the location where you are intending to grow it. It can be tricky to transplant, so if you want to grow it in a garden bed, sow the seeds directly in the soil.

Choose a sunny spot with well draining soils. Thyme is originally a Mediterranean herb, so is tolerant of direct sun, and prefers sandy soils.

When to plant

If you are planning on keeping your thyme outside, sow the seeds in the springtime. If you are sowing directly in the ground, ensure that you wait until the last frost has passed before sowing.

If you are planning to grow your thyme indoors, then you can plant the seeds at any time of year.


Sow the seeds 1/4 inch/ 5 mm deep in the soil. The easiest way to do this is to spread the seeds over the surface of the soil, then add a light covering of seed raising mix or good quality topsoil and compost. Firm the soil down slightly, and water well.

Seedling care

Water regularly, but do not allow the soil to become water-logged. If growing in a pot, ensure that there is no standing water in the bottom of the pot or saucer. Thyme is very susceptible to root-rot caused by over watering.

Feed the seedlings with a liquid plant feed every 1-2 weeks while the seedlings are growing.

As the seedlings grow they should be thinned out (remove the smaller ones leaving the strongest to grow), to a distance of around 10 inches/ 25cm.

If you want to grow you thyme indoors, check out this post for more on caring for your thyme plants: How to grow thyme indoors.

Harvesting and pruning

Once your thyme plants are well established and have matured, they can be harvested. This will take around 10 weeks from germination.

To harvest thyme, choose a sprig with mature leaves (darker green in color). Make a clean cut directly above a leaf pair.

Regular harvesting will encourage thicker growth. If your thyme plant starts to look a bit tired and leggy after a couple of years, giving it a good prune can help to reinvigorate it.

Learn how to dry thyme, see this post: How to dry thyme

Growing Thyme: FAQ & Tips

How do you plant thyme seeds in a pot?

To sow thyme seeds in a pot, sprinkle them over the surface of the soil and apply a light covering of soil over the top. Keep the soil moist and wait for them to germinate (will take 10 days or longer).

How long does it take to grow thyme from seed?

Thyme seeds will take around 12-14 days to sprout.
It will take around 10-12 weeks from planting seeds until the thyme is ready to be used or harvested.