Herbs > Thyme Herb

Reader q&a on thyme problems:

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General Information
See our page on Thyme.


I grow thyme from cuttings. I cut a piece, put in a 4" pot and then it grows into a plant. In the summer I put them in the garden. Every year I let some thyme plants go to flower but I am never able to get seeds. Is there anything I am doing wrong? I have even tried having the flowers rub on each other but still no success. Please advise me how to let the flowers go to seed.

Thank you.

The Green Chronicle replies...

Rubbing the plants together will not help. Thyme is pollenated by insects. If your plants are flowering and there are insects around then they should produce seed. Thyme is cross-pollenating so you need at least two plants close enough together to stand a chance of fertilising each other via the insect pollenator. It may be that you are missing the seeds: they come in bell shaped capsules soon after the flowers turn brown, if they are not collected at that stage they will drop to the ground.
In any event, if you do raise thyme from seed it will not "come true", in other words it will lose its varietal characteristics. This could be both an argument against raising plants from seed and for trying to do it. You might raise a brand new variety of good quality, but you could raise a lot of plants without the qualities you value from your vegetatively propagated plants.
I think your problem is most likely timing, as in comedy that is a most important element in gardening, especially the difficult art of saving seeds.