Gardeners looking for thyme as ground cover always have one question that is commonly asked, is creeping thyme invasive or manageable?
The creeping thyme is a woody, perennial plant of the Thymus class. It acts as a superb ground cover for sunny areas. Creeping thyme is edible like its other family members. It produces a pleasant herbal aroma related to the thyme used in cooking.
Why is Creeping Thyme the Best Ground Cover?
This creeping thyme has foliage that has a fine texture and produces flowers of different colors depending on the type.
- Creeping thyme is loved by many gardeners and grown as a ground cover because
- It grows very fast covering the ground fast
- Tolerates foot traffic
- Appears to have more flowers than foliage during peak blooms
- Covers the ground in color breaking up the green
- It is a perennial plant that returns every year and requires less maintenance than grass
- Does not grow tall – 2 to 4 inches maximum
- Although not harvested, it is edible. It can be made into teas and other herbal remedies.
- Ideal for gardeners who worry about pets or kids having friendly plants around the yard
- Has tiny hair-covered leaves with small-sized flowers growing in clumps
- Deer and rabbit resistant
- Facilitates pollination to other plants around your garden or yard
- Attracts bees
- Has a nice fragrance
So is creeping thyme invasive? Before we conclude, it is best to look at the growth habit of this vine.
Growth Habit of the Creeping Thyme
- Creeping thyme grows to a height between 1-4 inches but spreads to about 24 inches or more
- Its color ranges from silvery gray to dark green
- Some do flower very little while others burst into profusions of rose, red, lavender, or white
- All creeping thymes spread around by sending stems along the surface of the ground to grow the roots and leaves.
- Creeping thymes with long segments between leaves cover the ground quickly and end up being very dense. Longer segments mean faster growth.
- The creeping thyme with short stems spends less energy spreading and making more leaves and roots. This type grows more slowly but results in a dense carpet that withstands foot traffic. Short segments mean slower spreading.
- Generally, creeping thyme takes about a year to get established and begins to spread in its second year.
From the above description, we can conclude that the creeping thyme is not invasive rather it grows in a controlled manner or can be maintained.
Creeping Thyme Varieties
There are several types of creeping thyme with different colors and characteristics. Here are some of the most popular types
- Pink Chintz. This variety is characterized by fuzzy, dark, green foliage with light to dark pink flowers. It spreads fast and reaches 24 inches in diameter.
- Purple Carpet. This is the most grown creeping thyme. It is low growing and features beautiful lavender flowers in early to mid-summer. It creates a purple carpet, beautiful for the eyes and soft to walk on. Individual plants spread to about 18 inches.
- Spicy orange. This variety looks like carpet flowers than the other varieties. It produces pink clusters of flowers that appear sporadically. Its needle-shaped green leaves are beautiful spreading 10 to 12 inches.
- Mediterranean creeping thyme. This plant produces lots of deep pink flowers in big clusters spreading up to 18 inches. It grows best in full sun and attracts plenty of butterflies and bees.
- Elfin. This is the slowest growing creeping thyme of all varieties. It grows closest to the ground rarely reaching an inch in height and between 2-8 inches in diameter. It has gray tinted leaves and pale pink flowers.
- Red creeping thyme. Referred to as coccineus this thyme is identified by magenta flowers. It grows very flat and covers a lot of areas fast. Its flowers are small but prolific and spread up to 18 inches in diameter and an inch tall.
- Highland cream. This variety features dark green leaves tipped in a creamy white hue and small lavender blooms. It reaches up to 2 inches tall and spreads to about 1-2 feet.
- Wooly thyme. This creping thyme has beautiful silver-green oval leaves in tiny spirals. It is drought-resistant and loved for its leaves. This variety produces some purple to pink flowers during summer. It does not do well in hot climates that are all year round.
- Doone valley. It features dark green leaves and light purple to pink flowers that bloom in summer. In cooler temperatures, the plant seems like it has old covered tips at the end of its leaves.
Conclusion – Is Creeping Thyme Invasive?
Though it creeps and grows fast, we can be confident to conclude that creeping thyme is not invasive. It is only a fast grower with a beautiful view and soft leaves to walk on. What more could you ask for?