My thyme doesn’t look good


I planted thyme beside the driveway in 2019.
Although I did not do anything for overwintering, it came back and even became larger with pretty flowers last summer.
Now it doesn’t look growing but I’m not sure if it’s still too early to judge..? (pics of 2019 and 2020 are taken mid of July)

Also as it’s located next to the driveway, where snow pile with salt stays longer, it might be harming the plants gradually. I think I’ll start placing mulch before winter. If I do every season, the area will be getting higher.. is that alright?
Any suggestion/ advice would be highly appreciated.


Thyme is a terrific ground cover and should grow well if planted in a sunny spot where the soil drains well and remains relatively dry.  It’s a little early (end of April) to tell how well your thyme will grow this season, so be patient!

Although thyme is considered moderately salt-tolerant, exposure to excessive salt could prevent the thyme from thriving.  If you feel that salt might be affecting the health of your thyme, consider trying other salt-tolerant plants or ground covers – start with a couple of plants to see how they grow in that spot.  The city of Oakville includes several salt-tolerant perennials in its Draft recommendations for boulevard plants for Oakville.

You mention that there is lots of snow in the area the thyme is planted.  If the soil does not drain well, when the snow melts, or when it rains throughout the growing season, the resultant soggy soil could harm the thyme.

Mulching should help prevent the thyme being heaved by frost during the winter and to keep the plants dry.  A mulch layer about 7.5 cm (3 inches) deep should help protect the thyme. Adding mulch improves soil structure and drainage, as well as its ability to hold nutrients, not to mention preventing weeds from growing.  Mulch decomposes and should not add to the overall height of the planting area, so I don’t see this as a concern.  Also, you can remove the layer of mulch once spring arrives.

I suggest that you check that the variety of thyme you planted is suited to the amount of sun it receives.  Most thyme varieties prefer full sun, but some tolerate partial shade.  You did not mention whether your thyme is in a sunny or shady spot.  Sometimes sunlight conditions change over the years – for example, if tall shrubs or trees are planted nearby, a very sunny area can become quite shady as these plants grow.

I’ve been growing thyme for a number of years and find that some years, the plants thrive, while other years they die back a lot (some patches have actually died!).  You may simply need to add new thyme plants to your patch to fix this issue!

Despite the advice above, you may find that your thyme returns just fine every summer – and that you don’t need to change anything you are doing!

April 25 2021