Is Creeping Thyme Invasive? (No, here’s why)

Creeping Thyme is a popular herb plant that craves well-drained soil. The plant can tolerate shade but prefers full sun.

Seriously, though, should you be concerned about growing this plant in your garden? Is it invasive? Here’s what I know:

Creeping thyme is not invasive. While it grows up to 6 – 8 inches in height, it can spread out about 10 inches wide. However, it’ll not choke out other plants in your garden, neither will it spread uncontrollably.

Invasive thyme can be a nuisance in gardens because of its woody stems. If you want to maintain your garden space, prune thyme back to encourage new growth. 

creeping thyme

This plant is generally resistant to many garden pests and diseases, including Aphids, snails, and aphid blight.

If you grow this type of thyme in your yard, you don’t need to monitor it too much or water it too much.

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Is Creeping Thyme a Perennial?

Yes, climbing thyme is a perennial that spreads rapidly in the garden and produces flowers. While it can be invasive, it does not kill or smother other plants. 

In fact, this plant is actually beneficial for your garden. Its roots will help prevent other plants from sprouting and spreading, so keep it away from your desired plants.

It will be tolerant of some soil conditions, but it requires a pH balance between 7.0 and 9.5.

Prune Creeping Thyme 

If you’re concerned about the plant’s invasiveness, you can prune it. Once it has spread its roots, it won’t come back. 

Despite the fact that this plant is not invasive, you’ll still need to take care of it to ensure that it doesn’t outgrow the rest of your garden. 

This plant will thrive in a landscape with little care and will continue to grow until it overgrows its boundaries. Its leaves can be removed in the fall but will not reappear until spring.

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Creeping Thyme is Not a Pest 

You can remove its roots and it won’t return. You can also cut it back after the flowers have flowered. If you’d like to use the plant more frequently, you can trim it more than twice a year. 

It doesn’t need a lot of fertilizer, but you can make it more attractive by applying fish fertilizer in the early summer.

Identification of Creeping Thyme

creeping thyme identification | Plant Gardener

The plant’s foliage is a dark green color, and the flowers are light pink or purple. The plant isn’t invasive, but it isn’t as desirable as other plants.

It’s best to avoid it in gardens that are already overcrowded with other plants. If you’re concerned about its invasiveness, you can cut it down to size. While it may be a little invasive in the garden, it won’t harm your garden.

How Big Does Creeping Thyme Grow?

Creeping thyme can grow up to 4 – 6 feet high. It doesn’t need to be mowed. It can be pruned to keep it looking nice. It will grow back and reseed itself, but it won’t be a weedy plant. It’s a perennial that requires very little care and has no predators.

Creeping thyme is not a weed. It is a popular groundcover that is easy to maintain. It spreads by sending its stolons along the ground, growing roots and leaves. It prefers sandy or rocky soil.

It tolerates most soil types, including clay. It grows well in sand and rocky soil. It’s a tough plant, so make sure it’s not in a place where it could become invasive.

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Will Creeping Thyme Choke Out Other Plants?

In most cases, creping thyme will not choke out other plants. It doesn’t have that characteristic. A woody perennial herb, creeping thyme grows best in a sunny location.

Its distinctive foliage and flowers are attractive, producing a pleasant herbal aroma.

The leaves and stems are edible, and you can make teas from them, as well as use them in herbal remedies. However, if you’re wondering if creeping thyme will spread and become a nuisance in your yard, you should know that it will not.

What Does Creeping Thyme Smell Like?

The creeping thyme plant has no particular scent. Its low, curly stems are attractive and blend well with surrounding lawns. 

They tolerate foot traffic, so it’s a good choice for areas with foot traffic. The low-growing varieties are especially suitable for patio pavers and stepping stones, where foot traffic will step on them. 

They also have very few seeds. If you want to grow creeping thyme in your yard, it’s important to know how to keep it in check.

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Creeping Thyme is Slow-Growing

Creeping thyme can be slow-growing and should be pruned in spring to maintain its compact appearance.

Longer segments are better, as they allow the plant to spread faster. It requires a year to establish itself and will start spreading in its second growing season. 

For best results, plant the creeping thyme in your garden after 70 degF, in well-drained soil. In rare cases, it grows 8 to 12 inches high and spreads easily.

Pruning Creeping Thyme

If you’re not comfortable with pruning, you can use a compost-based weed killer to kill the weeds. This plant is a great alternative to synthetic chemicals and can replace grass. It’s ideal for dry, shady areas.

You can even grow it indoors with a grow light and a bright window. These plants can be kept indoors as they’re easy to care for.

Creating a Lush Green Landscape

Creeping thyme can be a great choice for gardeners who want a soft, lush green landscape. Its short, stocky stems are perfect for landscaping and can be used as a grass replacement. 

But be careful – they’re not as easy to walk on as grass! So, it’s better to use a paving stone in a sunny spot.

Its level of growth makes it an excellent plant for a patio, but be careful – it can cover your paving and cover stepping stones. If you’re concerned about the spread of creeping thyme, choose a slower-growing version.

It will grow to a height of about 6 inches and spread out about 10 inches, but it will not take over a garden. You can mulch around the creeping thyme and control it from spreading.

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Creeping Thyme Needs Full Sunlight

When growing creeping thyme, you should keep it in full sunlight. The herb relies on sunlight for energy, and will not grow well in a shady area. If you don’t give it enough sunlight, it will spread excessively. 

When it’s fully grown, it will take one to two years to establish itself and begin to spread. If you don’t give it sufficient sunlight, it will start to wilt and spread.

Taking Care of Creeping Thyme Plants

Once it’s established, creeping thyme is an easy plant to care for. Unlike many other herbs, it doesn’t need much care and is incredibly resilient. 

It can survive in the most challenging of environments and spread reasonably. If it isn’t trimmed, it might spread uncontrollably and be ineffective. Keep an eye on it.

Cultivars of creeping thyme differ in the length of their stems. A shorter stem segment means that the plant will spread slowly. 

But the longer stem segments mean more rooting space and will spread the plant more quickly. If you want your thyme to grow and spread, you can also propagate it. If you’re interested in propagating creeping thyme, it will send more stems in the ground.

Creeping Thyme and Soil pH

Creeping thyme grows best in full sun, but it can tolerate a little shade in the afternoon. Its leaves and stems will grow out of the soil as it grows.

A high-pH soil will prevent the plant from spreading, but it will still need some moisture to thrive. 

Dry soil will make it easier for thyme to grow. In addition to spreading, this perennial is also great for attracting beneficial insects.


Creeping Thyme, a popular ground cover, is explored in this blog on PlantGardener. Discover its captivating beauty, but delve into precautions against potential invasiveness. The article navigates the fine line between its ornamental appeal and the need for responsible cultivation. Gain insights into managing Creeping Thyme in your garden, ensuring a balance between aesthetic charm and ecological responsibility. Learn to harness its benefits while preventing unintended environmental consequences. Dive into the world of Creeping Thyme with Plant Gardener’s comprehensive guide, striking a harmonious chord between garden aesthetics and ecological mindfulness.

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It’s been well-established that Creeping thyme doesn’t spread uncontrollably, hence it’s not invasive. 

However, keep in mind that most climbing shrubs and bushes will spread beyond the ‘set’ boundary if you don’t care for them.

So the ball is in your court, are you going to allow your plant to choke out other plants in your garden? Okay, you know the answer already.

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