Thymus Species, Creeping Thyme, Mother of Thyme, Wild Thyme

Thymus serpyllum

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Thymus (TY-muss) (Info)
Species: serpyllum (ser-PIE-lum) (Info)
Synonym:Thymus adscendens
Synonym:Thymus affinis
Synonym:Thymus albidus
Synonym:Thymus angulosus
Synonym:Thymus angustus


Alpines and Rock Gardens




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round

Suitable for growing in containers


under 6 in. (15 cm)


6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)


USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



Bloom Color:



Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall


Grown for foliage




Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

By simple layering

By serpentine layering

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Flagstaff, Arizona

Delta, Colorado

Brandon, Florida

Welaka, Florida

Cherry Valley, Illinois

Melbourne, Kentucky

Salvisa, Kentucky

Cumberland, Maryland

Billerica, Massachusetts

Grand Marais, Michigan

Andover, Minnesota

Kansas City, Missouri

Protem, Missouri

Deerfield, New Hampshire

Ithaca, New York

North Tonawanda, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Lititz, Pennsylvania

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Austin, Texas (2 reports)

Katy, Texas

Pflugerville, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Weatherford, Texas

South Jordan, Utah

Leesburg, Virginia

Wytheville, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Nov 10, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A pretty aromatic plant forming spreading woody-based mats which generally self-layer. The foliage is hairy and semi-evergreen here. It will tolerate limited foot traffic, which releases the scent. This is not a culinary thyme, and it does not make a good seasoning.

In my area (Boston Z6a), people wanting a uniform thyme lawn are usually disappointed, as plants can be short-lived, with much winter dieback, and usually the "lawn" grows in patches only. Here many weeds can outcompete it. It is not low-maintenance. It's better used in cracks and crevices about the edges of a path or in a rock garden.

Prefers lean, sharply draining soils.

There are many cultivars.


On Nov 10, 2015, Sequoiadendron4 from Lititz, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

A slowly creeping, ground hugging mat of foliage with beautiful fuchsia colored blossoms in early summer. I'm not sure all of the plant files pics correctly depict 'Mother of Thyme' but instead another thyme. This plant doesn't grow more than 1-2" tall. It needs no care at all and even takes light foot traffic (at least by children). I planted two from 2x5" pots two years ago and both are now about 2' in diameter.


On Jan 20, 2012, BarbaraParis from Comerio, PR (Zone 11) wrote:

I grew some from seeds two or three months ago. They are growing well. I hope they thrive in Puerto Rico's tropical weather.


On Jan 22, 2011, anyoltime from Brandon, FL wrote:

Does well in zone 9 tampa once established.march /april is a good time to start so it can be well established to endure summer heat/humidity that we have to deal with down here. stays evergreen here to 24 degrees that i know of(the lowest its been this year). clover can be a problem tough to get out once it gets in.
dont plant next to pavement/concrete in full sun the combination is just to much.full sun is ok as long as your not close to pavement/concrete. seems to like the cool winters turns darker green. most clumps grow from 12 to 24 inches max. ive had some flowering the first summer but nothing like the seed packets show mabey more this summer.?


On Jun 4, 2009, NancyMcD from Grand Marais, MI wrote:

This is an excellent lawn plant where grass fails to thrive due to poor, sandy soil and dry conditions. Here we get about 30" of precipitation a year, and summers can be dry. Mother-of-thyme does far better than grass in our lawn. It takes foot traffic well and smells like heaven. It mows beautifully and defeats weeds. It's easier to keep out of the garden beds than grass is, and if it does get into the beds, we dig it out and plug it into the lawn somewhere else. I highly recommend it.


On Nov 19, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

Wonderful little plant for rock gardens, edging and just to use as "weed control" in some areas. Beautiful purple flowers in summer. Easily divided and/or moved. Takes root easily. I use it in a variety of places. Not finicky about soil as long as drainage is good.