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Is Thyme A Perennial Plant? (Explained)

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Last updated on September 23rd, 2022 at 03:28 pm

The life cycle of a plant and, therefore, the possibility of its availability, ability to withstand different weather conditions depending on the season in the year depends on whether it is an annual, biennial, or perennial plant.

One may wonder, “is thyme a perennial plant? Thyme is a perennial plant. You can find it throughout the year irrespective of the plant hardiness zone you live in! Continue to be engrossed in this article to know more about this herb.

Thyme is generally a frost and drought-tolerant plant. However, some species are more rugged and therefore can adapt to adverse growing conditions more than others.

Is Thyme A Perennial Plant?

Plants are classified based on their lifecycle as annual, biennial, and perennial plants. Annual plants complete their life cycle during a year.

They germinate from seeds or other parts, bloom, produce seeds, and die within a year.

Biennial plants complete their life cycle within two years. That is, they germinate from seeds or other viable parts and grow to some extent in the first year, continue their growth in the second year, bloom, and produce seeds in the second year.

Perennial plants have a life cycle that is beyond two years. They grow and flower for many years.

Thyme is a perennial plant throughout most of the United States. So, you do not need to replant it every year!

Plant Hardiness Zones and How It Affects Thyme

The growth and survival of any plant depend on the area’s weather conditions where it is grown. Some of these conditions are temperature, air, wind, rainfall, sunlight, and relative humidity.

The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) created the plant hardiness zone map to serve as a guide for selecting plants that can survive the weather conditions of the specific zone, both its highest and lowest temperatures.

It serves as a means of comparison to help gardeners compare their climate with the climate in which a plant is known to grow optimally.

There are 13 plant hardiness zones. Eleven of these zones fall within North America. Each zone differs from the preceding zone by an average temperature of 10oF. For example, Zone 10 is 10oF warmer than zone 9.

Thyme can grow optimally from zone 4 to zone 13. But as a perennial plant? Continue to peruse this article to learn more.

Is Thyme A Perennial Plant In Plant Hardiness Zone 4 (United States)

 Plant hardiness zone 4 is characterized by long warm days in the summer and freezing temperatures of –10 to -20 0F during the winter. The English thyme can survive the adverse weather conditions in zone 4.

It is also a perennial plant in zone 4. To achieve better growth, the thyme planted in this zone should be done in greenhouses or covered with heavy mulch, especially during the winter months.

Is Thyme A Perennial Plant In Plant Hardiness Zone 6 (United States)

If you live in the US zone 6, with its average yearly low temperature of -10 0F. (-23 °C.) and the average temperature high of 0oF, you may wonder if your thyme can grow and flower for many years.

Because of its cold hardy nature, thyme can survive the climate conditions in Zone 6. It is also a perennial plant in zone 6. In areas with frost, it may become dormant in the winter and come back with new growth in the spring. Many gardeners recommend planting it around mid-March through mid-November.

Is Thyme A Perennial Plant In Plant Hardiness Zone 9 (United States)

Zone 9 is the zone with one of the best conditions for gardening. Thyme is a perennial plant in zone 9 as it can survive the climate conditions in Zone 9. It is recommended that the earliest time to plant thyme, especially in Zone 9a, is January. If all other factors are favorable or better still, you should plant the thyme around February. The best favorable month for late planting in October.

Is Thyme A Perennial Plant In Plant Hardiness Zone 12 And13 (United States)

The climate of Zones 12 and 13 is super-hot and tropical. It has an average annual minimum temperature between 60°F (15.6 °C) and 70ºF (21.1°C). Thyme is a drought-resistant plant and would grow all year round in this zone.

But, to pull through the harsh weather conditions, it should be planted during the cooler months, well sheltered from the sun and irrigated to prevent drying from the heat. Therefore, it is recommended to start planting thyme in December for those in zone 13b.

Is Thyme A Perennial If Cultivated Using Stem Cuttings?

Thyme can be cultivated from seeds, stem cuttings, and the layering of growing stems. However, irrespective of the means of cultivation, thyme remains a perennial plant.

However, the time it takes for each propagation method to germinate or become a viable plant differs, with the seeds taking as long as a month to germinate.

Should I Wait Until My Thyme Grows For At Least 2 Years to Start Harvesting?

Although the life cycle of thyme is beyond two years, it can be harvested at any time throughout its growing season. However, it is best to harvest thyme in the morning after the dew must have dried off.

To ensure many leaves are harvested, it is essential to trim the plant, especially when it gets leggy continuously.

Tips for Ensuring the Growth of Thyme is Optimized

Thyme grows well when grown in an environment with adequate sunlight and in a well-drained nutrient-rich loamy soil. Regular trimming encourages more growth.

It should be protected with heavy mulch during the winter and covered with a light shade in zones with scorching summers. Lastly, plant cuttings are best in propagating thyme then growing it from seeds.


Thyme is a highly flagrant Mediterranean herb valued for its culinary, medicinal, and ornamental uses. It adds a savory flavor to meats, fish, stew, and soups.

You can also use it to add flavor to cakes and teas. English thyme is the most commonly used thyme.

Thyme is also valued for its medicinal properties. It has been used in bronchitis, cough, sore throat, abdominal colic, upset stomach, and stomach pain (gastritis). It is also used as a pesticide.

Oil extracted from thyme is claimed to have properties suitable to use for treating fungal and bacterial infections. In addition, you can use it to reduce inflammation, such as in wounds and rheumatoid arthritis.

Thyme is a perennial plant throughout most of the United States. However, its availability all year round depends on applying proper gardening techniques, which varies depending on the climatic conditions of the plant hardiness zone where the thyme seedlings or cuttings are cultivated.


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