Thyme is one of the most precious herbs in the garden. This plant’s aroma, taste, and benefits justify its global popularity.
Gardeners all around the world have mastered the art of growing thyme. Today, you can easily grow this plant at home with all the information available about its growth.
One of the most critical aspects of thyme gardening is its propagation.
Propagating any herb from seeds isn’t always the best idea. So, to cultivate thyme efficiently, much of the gardening world uses stem cuttings to do the job.
Growing thyme is no different than any other gardening activity. Propagating it from cuttings does require attention and a bit of effort on your part, though.
In this guide, I will cover all the details of this process so you can grow thyme from cuttings forever.
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When To Take Thyme Cuttings
Taking suitable thyme cuttings might be one of the most important steps in this activity. If you take your cuttings when the stem is still too young, it might not be able to root or survive after rooting.
But thyme stems turn woody as the plant grows older. Woody stems can be very hard or impossible to propagate.
You also don’t want to take your cuttings from a plant that has fully grown its flowering buds. It won’t support rooting correctly.
That’s why you need to focus on two points here:
- Your thyme cuttings should be established, and mature stems
- They should be soft and green, and they should have no flowering buds
Some experts recommend cutting your thyme when the plant or stem has grown at least 2″ inches tall, but waiting for your plant to grow taller is preferable.
That height range usually indicates your cuttings can support the rooting process and transport nutrients efficiently.
The first time I tried to propagate thyme from cuttings, I failed miserably. I took stems that were too young.
So, although the softer the stems, the better, you also don’t want to take cuttings that can’t handle themselves.
How To Take Thyme Cuttings
Before attempting to take cuttings, make sure you’re using sharp pruning shears.
Any tool that isn’t sharp enough can create unwanted tears in the cuttings and the plant. Tears will make them more susceptible to diseases and pests.
Also, as you take off the cuttings, you might accidentally damage the growth nodes. That could destroy your cuttings’ chances of propagating. You need very sharp, workable scissors.
The first principle to remember when taking cuttings is never to remove the whole stem. You want to keep enough foliage for the plant to be able to reemerge.
It’s always advisable to take two-thirds to three-quarters of the stem. Keep at least two or three sets of leaves at the bottom.
Second, the goal of this activity is to propagate thyme. We must focus on obtaining growth nodes at the bottom of our cuttings.
So, find the desired stem on your plant; when you do, you should cut just below the node from where the leaves are emerging.
Take as many cuttings as you want, but make sure not to destabilize the plant. In any case, you shouldn’t cut more than one-third to one-half of the total number of the plant’s stems.
Propagating Thyme Cuttings
Now that you have your stem cuttings, it’s time to turn them into independent plants!
Prepare The Cuttings
First of all, you need to make your cuttings eligible for rooting. To achieve that, remove the leaves at the bottom of each stem. Keep at least two to three sets of leaves at the top.
As such, allow the cuttings to start rooting. Rooting will happen once favorable environmental conditions occur.
It’s crucial not to remove all the leaves. If you do, your plant will not be able to maintain itself once it has fully rooted.
Preparing The Growing Medium (Soil Or Mix)
In this stage, let’s not use regular, unmodified potting soil. I prefer to go a step further and adjust it a little bit.
Experience has shown that adding perlite or sand to the soil helps thyme root faster. This might be because thyme naturally grows in dry areas where the soil lacks moisture.
Mix equal parts of sand or perlite with any high-quality potting soil of your choice. I recommend the famous FoxFarm Potting Soil, which you can find here on Amazon.
I cannot overemphasize the importance of using premium potting soil. Low-quality soils have a terrible texture and are full of pests and diseases.
At this point, your cuttings are extremely sensitive, so they need a smooth, clean medium to grow in.
Use the prepared mix to fill the medium-sized containers or pots up to the rim. Do this right after you moisten it with some water.
Immersing The Cuttings
You have almost reached the last step of this activity. It’s time for you to introduce your cuttings to their growing medium.
Use a stick, your finger, or any thin tool to create holes in the soil that are a bit wider than the cuttings.
Immerse half or more of each cutting in each one of the holes. Firm the soil around the cuttings, so they appear to be standing strong and steady.
Cover the containers with a plastic bag or bottle to trap the moisture around your cuttings. Covering them is a critical step if you want a high rate of propagation.
Tip: Use a Rooting Hormone for Better Results
It’s preferable to use a rooting hormone with thyme cuttings. That will boost your chances of successful propagation. You may find it very difficult to propagate the cuttings. Certain varieties of thyme will not grow without a rooting hormone.
There’s an easy solution. Dip the bottom of each cutting in the hormone before immersing them in the growing medium.
For the best results, I highly recommend you use the same rooting hormone I use. It’s called HydroDynamics Clonex Rooting Gel. It is one of the highest quality brands of rooting hormones on the market. You can find it here on Amazon.
Congrats! You have successfully prepared the whole set for your cuttings to grow. Now it’s time to learn how to care for them regularly.
Looking After Your Cuttings
Moisture And Humidity
Mature plants are far better at trapping and using water than fresh cuttings that have yet to root. That’s why you must diligently keep your plants in a moist atmosphere.
Cuttings need around 70%–80% humidity to root correctly.
You need to seal the containers. You should also check the moisture levels of the soil, and watch the closed environment of your cuttings.
If you feel things are becoming dry, moisten the mix immediately. Remember that excessive and reckless moistening, in this case, can be catastrophic.
Cuttings are naturally prone to rot, and “wet” mediums can make this far more likely. Don’t drench the soil. Use a spray bottle to make the process of moistening more controlled.
Sun And Temperature
In any case, you should never expose your cuttings to direct sunlight. But remember, they can tolerate shade or indirect sunlight.
But even if the thyme cuttings don’t love intense light, that doesn’t mean they don’t love warmth.
It’s important to ensure your “plantings” are in a warm area, especially during the day.
Since we sealed our cuttings with plastic bags, the air isn’t circulating well inside. Lousy air circulation is associated with an increase in pests and diseases.
You shouldn’t worry about that too much. All you need to do is allow your cuttings to breathe for a few hours each day. Uncover the containers and let them sit in a well-ventilated place.
Follow these steps, and your thyme cuttings will become fully rooted after four to six weeks. At that point, they’re ready to be transplanted into new containers.
Enjoy growing your thyme, and don’t forget to share your questions and thoughts in the comments below!