The Ultimate Guide to Planting a Creeping Thyme Lawn

Updated/Fact-Chacked on June 28, 2023 by Gareth James

Looking after a lawn is hard work, and many people find it a chore. If you are considering digging up your lawn this season, you need a few options to replace it – one option is trying a creeping thyme lawn.

This lawn type brings a boost of colour, toughness, and life to your garden; plus, it requires next to nothing in terms of care. All you need to do is to prepare your soil correctly, plant the seeds/plugs, and you’re good to go.

Creeping thyme can also be used to replace grass verges along pathways, which are the hardest to maintain neatly when using grass.

creeping thyme being used in conjunction with pathways
Creeping thyme used to replace grass for a low-maintenance path verge


In this article, we will give you an easy step-by-step guide to creating a perfect creeping thyme lawn. have the best collection of creeping thyme varieties for sale including: ‘Silver Posie’, ‘Doone Valley’,’Snowdrift’,’Archers Gold’,’Ruby Glow’,’Caborn Wine and Roses’

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How to Plant Creeping Thyme

1. Prepare the Area

The first thing you need to do is prepare the area where you’re going to plant the creeping thyme. To do so, start by removing the already present grass. There are a couple of ways to accomplish that.

preparing ground for creeping thyme

The one that consumes the most time and is most environmentally friendly will have to be the lasagna garden. This method involves covering the plants with black plastic or anything that would cut them off light and water supply, including their stems, roots, and flowers. Hence, there’ll be no nutrition whatsoever. However, this method can take 2 to 3 seasons.

Another way to go about things is to dig up the grass manually, but that’s a very tiresome task, which is why some people prefer to go with the third and last way, which is to use a lot of herbicides to eliminate the plants.

2. Adjust Soil Conditions

Creeping thyme will grow even in the hottest conditions; nonetheless, for it to grow optimally, it’ll need moist soil that isn’t overly damp. The creeping thyme can easily go down with root drowning or oedema. This leads us to the soil’s pH, which is best kept between neutral and slightly alkaline.

3. Prepare the Plant

As for the plant itself,  you need to decide whether you’ll be planting plugs or seeds. If you choose to go with plugs, you’ll need to dig a well that perfectly fits the plug. Make sure that it’s cuddled up against the soil from all directions.

preparing the perfect soil for creeping thyme

If you decide to go with seeds, you’ll need to scatter them as evenly as possible, then come back to cover them with a thin layer of soil. Either way, the plants should be situated around 18 inches from each other to give them proper space to grow fully.

Creeping Thyme Idea

This video from Roberta’s Garden gives you some great ideas what is possible with creeping thyme.

Advantages of Planting a Thyme Lawn

  • Low maintenance
  • Attractive to bees
  • Grows quickly
  • Foot-traffic tolerant
  • Edible
  • Pleasant odour
  • Suppresses weeds

Disadvantages of Planting a Thyme Lawn

  • Long preparation time
  • Expensive primary cost

Creeping Thyme Varieties

There are many varieties of thyme, but not all of them are regarded as ‘creeping’.  Thymus vulgaris for example, is the variety we use as a herb, but this variety can become tall and bushy.

You want to find a creeping thyme variety that is ‘mat forming’, low growing and can spread easily.

The table below gives you a few on the best creeping thyme varieties to grow if you are looking for lawn-like low coverage.

NameFlower ColorPlant HeightPlant Spread
Breckland thymePink-purple10-15 cm30-45 cm
Thyme Creeping LemonPink to lavender2-3 inches18-24 inches
Thyme Creeping RedPink to red2-3 inches18-24 inches
Thyme Doone ValleyPink to purple5-8 cm30-45 cm
Thyme Pink ChintzPink2-3 inches12-18 inches
Thyme SnowdriftWhite2-3 inches18-24 inches
Thyme WoollyPink to purple5-8 cm30-45 cm
Thymus ‘Spicy Orange’Purple-pink10-15 cm30-45 cm
Thymus Nitidus’Peter Davis’Pink10-15 cm5-10 cm

Creeping Thyme and Wildlife

Planting thyme will attract an array of wildlife such as bees, butterflies and hover flies. have the best collection of creeping thyme varieties for sale including: ‘Silver Posie’, ‘Doone Valley’,’Snowdrift’,’Archers Gold’,’Ruby Glow’,’Caborn Wine and Roses’

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Creeping Thyme FAQs

Which is the best creeping thyme?

The best creeping thyme depends on your specific garden conditions and desired aesthetic. Thymus serpyllum, also known as wild or mother-of-thyme, is a popular choice due to its hardiness, attractive purple flowers, and ability to attract pollinators.

What is the hardiest creeping thyme?

Thymus serpyllum is considered the hardiest of the creeping thymes, able to withstand colder temperatures and more challenging soil conditions.

What is the longest-blooming creeping thyme?

Thymus praecox ‘Pseudolanuginosus’ or woolly thyme has one of the longest blooming periods of the creeping thymes, flowering from late spring to early autumn.

Is English thyme the same as creeping thyme?

No, English thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is not the same as creeping thyme. English thyme is an upright herb primarily used for culinary purposes, whereas creeping thyme is a low-growing ground cover plant.

What is the difference between Thymus praecox and thymus serpyllum?

Thymus praecox is a low-growing, mat-forming species with slightly larger flowers, typically in shades of pink or lilac. Thymus serpyllum is a more robust, hardy species with slightly smaller flowers, typically in shades of purple. Both can be used as ground cover, but Thymus serpyllum is generally better suited for tougher growing conditions.

What time of year do you plant creeping thyme?

Creeping thyme is best planted in the UK in the spring or early autumn when the soil is moist, and temperatures are moderate.

What is the best creeping thyme for between pavers?

Thymus serpyllum ‘Minus’ is an excellent choice for planting between pavers, as it forms a dense, low-growing mat and can tolerate light foot traffic.
creeping thyme in paving

How fast does creeping thyme take to grow?

Creeping thyme generally takes 2-3 years to establish and cover the desired area fully, although growth rates can vary depending on the specific variety and growing conditions.

What is the easiest thyme to grow?

Thymus serpyllum is considered one of the easiest thymes to grow due to its hardiness and adaptability to a range of soil types and conditions.

Why is my creeping thyme turning brown?

Creeping thyme may turn brown for several reasons, including over-watering, under-watering, poor soil drainage, disease, or pest infestations. It’s essential to diagnose the specific cause and address it to maintain the plant’s health.

Does creeping thyme come back every year?

Yes, the plant is a woody perennial.

What soil does creeping thyme grow best in?

Neutral to slightly alkaline PH soil.

Is creeping thyme poisonous to dogs?

Thyme is safe for all pets.

Is creeping thyme invasive?

No, the maximum growth by width is only 20″.