French Summer Thyme is not hardy, unlike the English Winter Thyme.
Thyme is a good companion for most plants, it is said to repel cabbage root flies when grown near brassicas.
The leaves are dried and used in pot-pourri.
The plant makes an attractive ground cover for a sunny position. Plants are best spaced about 30cm apart each way.
The dried flowers are used to repel moths from clothing whilst the growing plant is said to repel cabbage root fly.
Common thyme has a very long history of folk use for a wide range of ailments. It is very rich in essential oils and these are the active ingredients responsible for most of the medicinal properties.
Prefers a light, dry calcareous soil and a sunny position. Succeeds in dry soils, poor soils and tolerates drought once it is established. Plants can be grown on old walls. Thymes dislike wet conditions, especially in the winter. A layer of gravel on the soil around them will help protect the foliage from wet soils.
Sow spring in a cold frame. Seed can also be sown in autumn in a greenhouse. Surface sow or barely cover the seed. Germination can be erratic. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Leaves and flowering tops - raw in salads, used as a garnish or added as a flavouring to cooked foods, going especially well with mushrooms and courgettes. It is an essential ingredient of the herb mix 'bouquet garni'. It retains its flavour well in long slow cooking.
The leaves can be used either fresh or dried. If the leaves are to be dried, the plants should be harvested in early and late summer just before the flowers open and the leaves should be dried quickly.