Lemon Thyme

Thymus x citriodorus | Rating: 1 votes | Print / Pdf

Small, pink and lemon scented, often mistaken for a cocktail.

Like others in the genus, Thymus x citriodorus is a low-growing evergreen shrub, but as a hybrid, it boasts a distinctive citrus aroma that its cousins cannot claim to have. Its lemon tang is enough to convince many to add Lemon Thyme, as it is commonly known, to their garden. Another is the beautiful display of tiny pale pink blossoms that appear in generous clusters in summer. Lemon Thyme thrives in moist slightly alkaline, well-drained soil, but requires a lot of sun to make the fullest impression. It is also adaptable as groundcover or edging, and it is comfortable on gravel or soil beds, and rockeries too.

Rate it:
Known dangers?
  • no
Height [m]
  • 0.35
Spread [m]
  • 0.5
Dominant flower colour
  • Purple
Flower Fragrance
  • No, neutral please
Flowering seasons
  • Mid summer
Foliage in spring
  • Green
Foliage in summer
  • Green
Foliage in Autumn
  • Green
Foliage in winter
  • Yellow
Propagation methods
  • semi-ripe cuttings
  • softwood cuttings
  • seed
  • division
  • root cuttings
Growth habit
  • Mat-forming
  • Neutral
  • Alkaline
Hardiness zone
  • Z4-9
Heat zone
  • H9-1
Winter temperatures [°C]
  • -34 - -1
Heat days
  • 0 - 150
  • well-drained
  • well-drained but frequently watered
Soil type
  • sandy
  • chalky
  • loams
Sun requirements
  • Full sun
  • Sheltered
Standard category
  • Vegetables & herbs
  • Herbs
Grown for
  • Culinary use
Creative category
  • Kid Approved
  • Simple food
  • For Beginners
  • Outdoor food
  • Bonsai
  • For birds & bees
  • For every season
  • Tough survivors
Garden type
  • Cottage garden
  • Rock garden
  • Kitchen garden
Garden spaces
  • Flower beds
  • Borders
Gardening expertise
  • beginner
Time to reach full size
  • up to 10 years
18 Related plants



Its common name is Thyme and it has been one of the most used herbs for centuries, but the Thymus genus includes a vast range of more than 350 species. Mostly semi-woody perennials, their foliage provides an unmistakably refreshing aroma thanks to the oils contained in very fine hairs on its tiny grey-green leaves. Its stems are wiry, but when flowering, it becomes awash with tiny pink, white or lavender blossoms, depending on the particular species. Thyme loves a range of soil types, from moist to well-drained and neutral to alkaline, and the sun. With its aroma and an ability to repel pests, it is a great addition to any garden.

Thyme 'Red Elf'

PLANTS Thymus 'Red Elf' | -34°C - -7°C beginner Full sun

Red creeping thyme

PLANTS Thymus coccineus | -29°C - -7°C beginner Full sun

The creeping nature of thymus coccineus, which is commonly known as thyme coccineus group makes this collection of thymes a highly functional groundcover option. Plus, the fact that their aromatic leaves release a pleasing fragrance when stepped on makes them ideal for planting along walkways and between gaps in paving stones. An abundance of flowers in shades of pink and purple appear in summer, creating a spectacular carpet of colour. Thyme coccineus group does best in sandy soils with good drainage and likes sunny positions. In addition to walkway adornments, this collection is excellent for livening up a rock garden.

Caraway thyme

PLANTS Thymus herba-barona | -34°C - -7°C beginner Full sun

A small plant with a big range of uses, thymus herba-barona or caraway thyme is ideal for groundcover thanks to its dense, creeping, dark green foliage and the masses of pink, tubular flowers that bloom in summer and create a stunning garden feature. The leaves also have a caraway fragrance, making this plant a good choice for walkways and between paving stones where standing on them will help to release the fragrance. Caraway thyme likes sunny spots and prefers sandy soils with good drainage. It does not like moist soils so frequent watering is not required. The creeping growth of caraway thyme is ideal for adding mass colour to a rock garden or for planting in a container and placing on a patio. This plant can also be used for flavouring food, making it a pretty and handy addition to a herb garden too.

Pallas thyme

PLANTS Thymus pallasianus subsp. pallasianus | -34°C - -12°C beginner Full sun

With its enticing citrus-fragranced leaves and pink flowers, thymus pallasianus subsp. pallasianus or pallas thyme is a treat for the senses and if grown amongst paving stones or similar areas it will attract many visitors keen to enjoy its fragrance as their footsteps release the foliage’s scent. Pallas thyme likes relatively fertile soils that are well-drained and should be grown in a sunny position. This plant is very pretty for edging purposes and also makes a groundcover well worth pausing for and appreciating during garden strolls. Its preference for average soils also makes Pallas thyme an attractive contender for pride of place in a rock garden.

Thymus praecox

Woolly thyme

PLANTS Thymus praecox | -29°C - -7°C beginner Full sun

Thymus praecox is also known as Mother-of-Thyme or Creeping Thyme, due to its' creeping nature. It's good for ornamental ground cover or for a rockery. It's an attractive plant with lots of small bright pink flowers that cover the plant in the springtime. Like other varieties of thyme, the foliage is edible and can be used in your cooking. This plant will take moderate foot traffic over it, so it's good for growing between paving stones, or as a lawn. It's evergreen and will bring butterflies to your garden. It's very easy to look after, it will grow in most conditions as long as it gets plenty of sunshine, and it won't require much maintenance.

Woolly thyme

PLANTS Thymus pseudolanuginosus | -29°C - -7°C beginner Full sun

It can get a bit hairy coming up with your perfect garden design if you're afraid you’ll overlook something, but with thymus pseudolanuginosus or woolly thyme the only hairiness you need to worry about is displaying the eye-catching hairy foliage of this plant to maximum effect. This foliage forms an attractive groundcover and is enhanced further by pink blooms, which appear in summer. Woolly thyme does very well in sandy soils that have good drainage and should be grown in a spot where it will receive lots of sun. This plant is a good choice for growing between paving stones and its picturesque appearance can help people to view a previously harsh rock garden with warm and fuzzy feelings.

Thymus x citriodorus Aureus

Broadleaf Thyme

PLANTS Thymus pulegioides | -18°C - -1°C beginner Full sun

The key difference between Thymus pulegioides and other species of Thyme is the size of its leaves. Commonly called Broadleaf Thyme, its foliage is larger than the thin, almost needle-like leaves on other members of the genus. In fact, its mid-green, oval shaped leaves are certainly more prominent. The semi-woody bush grows very low to the ground, and in summer, displays vivid purple and lilac flowers on short erect stems. A lover of moist, slightly alkaline soil, Broadleaf Thyme makes for excellent edging, and can quickly settle on gravel beds and in rockeries. Pruning, and in particular deadheading, in early spring can promote growth.

Thymus serpyllum

Creeping thyme

PLANTS Thymus serpyllum | -34°C - -1°C beginner Full sun

Like other members of the Thymus genus, Thymus serpyllum is a species that offers a wealth of culinary options. What is different, however, is that this evergreen subshrub is mat-forming, keeping low to the ground and spreading steadily. It has tiny linear, mid-green foliage that is typically aromatic, while in summer, a multitude of short stems host clusters of purple blossoms bringing a wave of colour to the plant. It can thrive in moist or well-drained slightly alkaline soil, and is perfectly at home as groundcover, edging or as a feature on a rockery. The fact it fills the air with thyme fragrance is a major plus.