Large Thyme Thymus pulegioides

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
large thyme


Thymus pulegioides, commonly known as broad-leaved thyme, is an aromatic perennial herb with a bushy growth habit. The plant is characterized by its small, oval to elliptical leaves that are green in color and sometimes have a slightly grayish tint. The leaves are opposite, and each pair is spaced a short distance apart along the woody stems, giving the plant a full, lush appearance. During the flowering period, the plant produces tiny, tubular flowers that are usually pink to lavender in color. These flowers are arranged in dense clusters at the tips of the stems, creating a decorative effect that is quite attractive to bees and other pollinators. The blooms stand out against the greenery of the leaves, giving the plant a delicate appearance when looked at from a distance. The overall form of broad-leaved thyme is somewhat cushion-like, and the plant often spreads to form a mat of foliage. Its aroma is fragrant and herbal, released when the leaves are crushed or brushed against, making it a favored choice for planting in sensory gardens or along pathways where its scent can be appreciated.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Broad-leaved Thyme, Lemon Thyme, Large Thyme, German Thyme

    • Common names

      Thymus arcticus, Thymus britannicus, Thymus chamaedrys, Thymus chamaedrys var. montanus, Thymus montanus, Thymus nitens, Thymus ovatus, Thymus praecox subsp. arcticus, Thymus serpyllum var. montanus, Thymus sylvestris, Thymus thracicus, Thymus villicus.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Thymus pulegioides, commonly known as broad-leaved thyme, is not generally considered toxic to humans. In fact, it is often used as a culinary herb. However, excessive intake of any plant can potentially cause gastrointestinal discomfort due to the presence of volatile oils and other compounds. As with any plant, individuals could potentially have an allergic reaction, which might manifest as skin irritation or more severe symptoms if they have a specific sensitivity to it. Still, there isn't a significant concern about this plant's toxicity for general human consumption when used in normal culinary amounts.

    • To pets

      Broad-leaved thyme is not known to be toxic to pets. It is a culinary herb used by humans and generally does not pose a risk to pets if ingested in small amounts. However, if a pet were to eat a large quantity of the plant, it might experience mild gastrointestinal upset, such as vomiting or diarrhea, due to the same volatile oils and other compounds that affect humans. Like humans, pets could also potentially have an allergic reaction to the plant. Nonetheless, broad-leaved thyme is not regarded as a typically hazardous plant for pets.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1 foot (30 cm)

    • Spread

      1 foot (30 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Culinary Use: Thymus pulegioides, commonly known as large thyme, can be used to flavor various dishes, especially in Mediterranean cuisine.
    • Aromatic: The plant emits a pleasant fragrance, which can be enjoyed in the garden or when used in potpourris and sachets.
    • Attracts Pollinators: Large thyme flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies, providing a valuable nectar source for these beneficial insects.
    • Garden Aesthetics: With its low-growing habit and pretty flowers, large thyme can enhance the visual appeal of garden borders, rockeries, and herb gardens.
    • Habitat Creation: The plant can provide shelter and food for a variety of small insects, thereby contributing to the biodiversity of a garden environment.
    • Culinary Garnish: The leaves and flowers of large thyme can be used as a garnish on dishes, adding both flavor and decorative appeal.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Antiseptic: Thymus pulegioides contains compounds that can help reduce the risk of infection in wounds.
    • Antispasmodic: It may alleviate spasms in the muscles.
    • Carminative: The plant is traditionally used to help relieve flatulence and bloating.
    • Diaphoretic: Thymus pulegioides is known to induce sweating, which can be beneficial in reducing fevers.
    • Expectorant: It has been used to help clear mucus from the respiratory tract.
    • Antioxidant: Contains compounds that may protect cells from oxidative damage.
    • Antimicrobial: Exhibits properties that can help fight against certain pathogenic microorganisms.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Thyme honey production: Thymus pulegioides, commonly known as large thyme, is a favorite of bees, and its flowers can be used to produce a uniquely flavored honey.
    • Natural dye: The plant can be used to obtain a natural dye for textiles, producing shades of green when used with mordants.
    • Companion planting: Large thyme can be planted alongside vegetables in gardens to help deter pests, thanks to its strong scent and essential oils.
    • Culinary enhancement: Dried or fresh leaves can be used in cooking to add flavor to various dishes, such as soups, stews, and sauces.
    • Preservation of foods: The herb's antibacterial properties make it useful for extending the shelf life of certain food products when incorporated into packaging.
    • Decorative potpourri: The aromatic leaves and flowers of large thyme can be dried and added to potpourri mixes for a long-lasting fragrance in the home.
    • Flavoring agent in spirits: Thymus pulegioides can be infused in alcohol to create thyme-flavored spirits and liqueurs, adding complexity to cocktails.
    • Garden aesthetics: As an ornamental plant, large thyme can be used to create visually pleasing herb gardens with its small, attractive flowers.
    • Floral arrangements: Fresh or dried, the sprigs and flowers of large thyme can contribute texture and fragrance to floral bouquets.
    • Soil erosion control: The low-growing, mat-like quality of the plant makes it effective in preventing soil erosion on slopes and in landscaping.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Broadleaf Thyme is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Broadleaf Thyme is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Courage and Bravery: Historically, Thymus pulegioides, commonly known as large thyme, has been associated with courage. In ancient times, knights would often carry sprigs of thyme as a sign of bravery.
    • Strength and Vitality: Large thyme is believed to embody the spirit of strength and vitality, perhaps because of its robust flavor and its hardiness as a plant.
    • Healing: Since large thyme is known for its medicinal properties, it has been a symbol of healing and recuperation.
    • Cleansing: Its antiseptic qualities have lent large thyme a symbolic meaning related to cleansing, both physically and spiritually.
    • Affection: In the language of flowers, large thyme can represent affection, possibly due to its pervasive and pleasant aroma that has been cherished in various cultures.

When soil is dry
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to early summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Lemon thyme should be watered deeply when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, which usually amounts to once a week in moderate climates. Avoid overhead watering to prevent fungal diseases, instead water at the base of the plant. In hot and dry weather, you may need to increase watering frequency. Provide about one gallon of water per square foot every week during the growing season. During the dormant period in winter, reduce watering but do not let the soil completely dry out.

  • sunLight

    Lemon thyme thrives in full sun, requiring at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. Choose a spot in the garden that receives unobstructed sun for the majority of the day. It can tolerate partial shade, but the flavor and aroma of the leaves are enhanced by ample sunshine.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Lemon thyme prefers temperate conditions and grows best in temperatures ranging from 60°F to 80°F. It can survive in temperatures as low as 20°F and as high as 90°F, but extreme temperatures can negatively affect its growth. Providing some protection from intense heat in the high end of its range is beneficial.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune lemon thyme to promote bushier growth and to maintain the desired shape. The best time to prune is in the early spring or after it has flowered. Trimming back about one-third of the growth will encourage new leaves to develop. Regular trimming also prevents the plant from becoming woody.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Large-leaved thyme thrives in well-draining soil with a pH between 6.0 and 8.0. A mix of two parts garden soil, one part coarse sand, and one part compost is ideal, providing good drainage and fertility.

  • plantRepotting

    Large-leaved thyme should be repotted every 2 to 3 years to refresh the soil and accommodate root growth, ideally during spring.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Large-leaved thyme prefers low to moderate humidity levels, typical of its native Mediterranean environment, and does not require high humidity.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place large-leaved thyme in a sunny spot, minimal care.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in full sun, well-draining soil, trim to shape.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Thymus pulegioides, commonly known as large thyme, begins its life cycle as a seed, which germinates in spring when temperature and moisture conditions are favorable. The seedlings develop into small, woody-based perennial plants with tiny, aromatic leaves and produce a mat-forming habit. During its vegetative stage, large thyme spreads through its creeping stems, which root at the nodes and increase the size of the plant. Flowering generally occurs in late spring to summer, displaying clusters of small, tubular, lilac to purple flowers that attract pollinators, such as bees. After pollination, the plant produces small nutlet fruits that contain the seeds, completing the reproductive cycle. The plant then enters a period of dormancy in winter, where growth slows down or ceases until the return of favorable conditions in spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to early summer

    • Thymus pulegioides, commonly known as lemon thyme, is typically propagated through stem cuttings. This method is particularly popular because it is straightforward and generally has high success rates. To propagate lemon thyme by stem cuttings, a mature plant during its active growth phase, usually in the spring or early summer, is ideal for providing cuttings. A 4 to 6-inch (10 to 15 cm) long stem is snipped just below a node, where leaves emerge, and the lower leaves are removed. The cut end of the stem is then dipped in rooting hormone powder to encourage root growth and planted in a well-draining soil mixture. The cutting should be kept in a warm, moist environment with indirect light until roots develop, which typically takes 2 to 4 weeks. Once established, the new plants can be transplanted to their desired location.