Growing Silver Thyme in Northeast Florida Herb Gardens
Uses and Origins for Silver Thyme Herb Plants For Northeast Florida:
Thymus vulgaris ‘Argenteum’ herb plants are natives of the Mediterranean area. Many forms or varieties are available today, each with their own unique characteristics and common uses. This selection of silver thyme has larger leaves with the barest hint of a white line surrounding the edge of the leaves and a soft gray green overall coloring.
With so many Thyme strains out there, confusion reigns supreme, with common and botanical names misapplied frequently and tags on plants often stating the wrong thing. In fact, the tags for this thyme came in as Thymus citriodorus and claims a lemony smell and flavor. It is not however, the variegated lemon thyme, either the white variegated or the golden yellow variegated cultivar of Thymus citriodorus. It has very little to no lemon scent or flavor at all, just a clear thyme aroma and taste. So that`s a good lesson for all of us thyme lovers, use your nose when picking thyme selections for your garden, it never lies to you like those little tags!
So if your looking for a true thyme flavor and a pretty garden color contrast. This strain of Silver thyme is for you. Use these pretty little Silver thyme plants in the same way that you would use any thyme. They add a nice color contrast to a mostly green herb garden.
Leaves fresh, dried, frozen or added into herb oils, vinegars and butters. Thyme is the “season all” of herb plants and goes well with everything! When in doubt, add some thyme!
Growing Season for Northeast Florida Silver Thyme:
Silver thyme herb plants, are an evergreen sub shrub, or perennial planting that should last for a few years of more in the garden. Plant them any time of the year from S & J Nursery containers or from seed in the spring.
Sun Exposure for Silver Thyme in Northeast Florida:
Plant Silver thyme herb plants in a full sun or afternoon sun location in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area gardens.
Soil Preference for Silver Thyme Herb Plants in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area gardens:
Silver thyme herb plants do not require extremely fertile or moist soils to grow and thrive. Plant into any well drained area where water does not stand after a rain.
In Northeast Florida, unless you have a sandy garden spot, planting Silver thyme into dry soils may prove to be a bit difficult during our rainy seasons. If planting your thyme herbs into the ground, consider adding some sand to areas where water will stand after rains, or planting your thyme herbs into raised beds, elevated mounds, or containers.
Silver thyme makes an ideal container garden herb. I like to use a clay pot planted half way into the ground and filled with 50 percent sand and 50 percent good quality garden compost. That way, I know I can be in control of how much water my herbs are getting, and they never sit in water during summer rains.
Water and Fertilizer Requirements of Silver Thyme Herb Plants:
Silver Thyme herb plants do not require heavy watering, and they like the soil a little on the drier side. Weekly watering for in ground plants and weekly to biweekly for raised bed or contained plantings should be sufficient for the Jacksonville and St. Augustine are landscape.
In general, herbs require little in the way of fertilizer. To much fertilizer with herbs can be worse than not enough. Over fertilization can lead to lush green growth with a reduced quantity of volatile oils in the leaves. Reduced oils, means reduced flavor and aroma in your herbs.
However, in Florida`s sandy soils you may find your plants in some need of some help, particularly if compost wasn’t added to the soil when planting. Try fertilizing with a mixture of fish emulsions and seaweed at one ounce of each per gallon of water. Put into a sprayer and water every other week or as needed with the mixed solution.
If you find your plant struggling at any point, make up a batch of compost tea and water generously. Repeat as needed weekly or biweekly.
Size of Silver Thyme Herb Plants When Mature:
Silver Thyme is a low growing spreading mound of foliage. Its deep dark green leaves have a delicate appearance and plants may grow from 6-12 inches or more in height depending on harvesting practices. They can be expected to spread to 1-2 ft wide so give them plenty of room to grow.
Harvesting Silver Thyme Herb Plants in the Northeast Florida Landscape:
Silver thyme can be trimmed for harvesting any time during the year. Trim back the foliage to just a few inches above ground for your main harvest in summer when the flowers begin to form.
Use Thyme leaves fresh, or dry them by hanging them upside down in a cluster till dry, you can also strip the leaves from the stems and spread out over a mesh screen or paper plate and allow them to dry that way. Store dried thyme leaves in an airtight container out of the reach of sunlight.
Thyme leaves can also be frozen or added to herb vinegars, oils and herb butters.
Blooms of Silver Thyme Herbs for Northeast Florida Landscape:
Silver Thyme will have tiny clusters of little clear pink flowers in summer. Bees love the flowers of all Thyme plants!
Sowing Silver Thyme Herb Seeds into Northeast Florida Soils:
I am an impatient gardener. Thyme is slow to germinate from seed and slow to establish itself from seeds sown into the garden.
In Northeast Florida start seeds in the spring, I recommend planting a cluster of seeds into one small area and allowing them to grow, rather than sowing a single seed every 4-6 inches in a row. Divide your cluster in the fall to make more Thyme plants. One gardener recommended 20 seeds into a 4 inch pot, that’s my kind of gardener! Thyme herb plants will not mind being crowded, and you’ll have enough leaves to actually harvest a bit from without waiting till next season.
Thyme can also easily be propagated from stem cuttings by trimming off the top few inches of growing stems, striping the leaves off the lower portion and planting the cut stems into moist sand for a few weeks. Check your cuttings after a few weeks, if they come right out of the sand, leave them a bit longer, if they begin to resist when gently tugged, plant the new rooted cuttings out in the garden and you’ve got yourself some more thyme!