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Is Creeping Thyme Drought Tolerant? (Explained)

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Last updated on September 23rd, 2022 at 02:44 pm

One of the basic requirements for any plant to grow properly is water. Crops vary in the amount of water required for sustenance.

While some plants need a low amount of water to supplement rainfall, others have little or no need for such augmentation.

Plants would thrive in swampy or arid areas, in moist soil or dry soil, and adequately drained soil or high water retention capacity soil.

But, of course, it all depends on the plant you are dealing with. Creeping thyme, for instance, requires minimal watering.

 A xeriscaper may ponder, “Is creeping thyme drought tolerant?” Yes! Creeping thyme is drought tolerant and can handle water shortages. It is a plant that loves heat and, like all plants, needs sunlight to enhance photosynthesis. Sufficient rainfall is adequate to keep it blooming and growing. It can withstand dryness, survive in arid regions. It is sensitive to overwatering.

Feel free to be engrossed and learn more about creeping thyme.

Does Creeping Thyme Like Sun Or Shade?

From the mint family, creeping thyme has varieties and species, some of which are more tolerant to cold weather like, Elfin thyme.

Generally, creeping thyme survives so in various degrees of light exposures, ranging from mild shade to full sun. It can handle shades (if it receives sufficient lighting ) but thrives best under full sunlight.

The plant loves heat and grows well when placed under direct sunlight. Moreover, its leaves are not scorched by the rays of the sun.

To achieve the best growth result, creeping thyme should receive at least six hours of sunlight per day.

Although it grows in light shade environments, sufficient sunlight makes it bloom. As a result, its flowers blossom primarily during summer.

Like all other plants, Creeping thyme requires sunlight as a key energy source to fuel its survival. The plant uses sunlight in the process of photosynthesis to gain nutrients for growth.

Creeping thyme is an agent for slowing weed growth. It absorbs all the sunlight and prevents rays from reaching the weed below due to its shrubby nature.

Inadequate sunlight weakens the plant and lessens the flowers produced. It could also cause the oval evergreen leaves of creeping thyme to turn yellow,  brown, and thin out.

It is thereby necessary to consider a good location with sufficient sunlight when planting and growing creeping thyme.

How Often Do You Water Creeping Thyme?

This prostrate perennial subshrub can survive and thrive in various soil conditions, but the best habitat is moist and well drainage, sandy or rocky soil.

Creeping thyme requires much less water than traditional turf grasses.

Therefore, it is used as a top substitute for creating a ground cover, border for patios, sidewalks, and as a filler.

Its ability to grow with minimal water makes it ideal for xeriscaping gardening and landscaping. It is intolerant to wet, poorly drained soils; because of this, it doesn’t require frequent watering or irrigation.

However, Overwatering and excess humidity results in root rot and possibly plant death.

Though it is drought tolerant, it requires extra care to prevent it from drying out when planted newly. It is susceptible to drying and may occur within the first 3-6 months.

In the early weeks, you have to ensure the soil always stays moist; never let the depth of dryness go beyond 1 cm or 2 cm.

It takes a year to be established, after which natural precipitation (rain, dew, and snow) is sufficient.

In mild winter, creeping thyme remains fresh and evergreen.

But when the winter is deep, it needs protection against excess moisture to prevent its roots from getting drenched, drowned, edema, or dying.

The creeping thyme is to be protected by covering the ground where it is planted with more sand or gravel. The additional sand will absorb extra moisture and thus enhance the dryness of the soil.

 It’s advisable to water creeping thyme once a week in the summer season to grow healthily and properly. The plant could also be watered weekly in spring, though this isn’t a necessity.

Apart from withstanding drought, creeping thyme is also resistant to deers, rabbits, pets, and other pests.

So when you use this plant as a ground cover, you can have peace of mind because you’re assured it won’t get eaten by pets.

You also won’t have your heart in your mouth and a scowl on your face when children run along.

How Long Does It Take For Creeping Thyme To Grow?

Generally, creeping thyme takes one year to be fully established and spreads in the second season. Fast spreading creepers, e.g., Carway thyme, spread 18-24 inches by the second season.

In comparison, slow-spreading creepers spread about 12 inches by the end of the second season, e.g., wooly thyme.

It is advisable to use fast-spreading creepers in outdoor sites where space isn’t a concern. You could use slow-spreading creepers to fill pathways. They are notable for complementing rather than concealing.

Creeping thyme is easy to grow as it requires low maintenance. You can purchase it from a nursery or garden store.

It comes as plugs, small potted cuttings as well as seeds. Also, it reproduces via division or propagation.

You should moisten the soil before you transplant plugs or seeds. Then, space the plugs/ seeds 18 inches apart so it can spread evenly as it grows.

When transplanting, dig out a hole the plug size, insert the plug, then cover with soil so that the soil hugs the roots snugly.

Observe it, so it doesn’t go dry, and water it regularly within the early stage. Be careful not to drench the roots with water as they only need to be moistened.

It is important to note that different species of creeping thyme vary in growth rate.

Those with longer segments between leaves spread faster, while those with short stems spread less but are denser. Density enables creeping thyme with-stand foot traffic.

Creeping thyme is a subshrub whose branches lie directly above the ground. It grows 1-4 inches tall and spreads 12-24 inches when it is fully mature.

It possesses a taproot, limp woody brown stems, green oval leaves, and scented flowers.

The flowers are either lilac, magenta, pink-purple but rarely white. Its leaves grow in opposite pairs and are nearly stalkless.

Its flower grows in clusters, blooms in summer, and attracts pollinators such as bees and butterflies. In addition, they possess quite a pleasant fragrance ranging from lemony to spicy to herby.

When grown in a nutritious soil and favorable environment, creeping thyme doesn’t need fertilizer. It may only need to be augmented with fertilizer when planted in poor or acidic soil.

Creeping thyme thrives in soil with a slightly high alkaline pH of 5.5 – 7.0. If fertilizer is needed,  fish fertilizer or any general plant fertilizer works just fine.


Creeping thyme is an exceptional drought tolerant plant that could be cultivated for many purposes.

You may use it to enhance the aesthetic beauty of a place, and it may be used as a ground cover in landscaping.

Let’s not forget its spicy aroma that fills the air whenever it is in full bloom. What more? It’s an edible culinary spice and is used for tons of herbal remedies!

Not only can your creeping thyme be grown outdoors, but also indoors. It could be grown in a container and kept by the window, giving sufficient sunlight to help it grow.

It is a perennial plant but could also be replanted annually, whatever suits you.

If you live in an arid region and need a beautiful, valuable plant with low maintenance, creeping thyme is the best option for you.


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