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Dying thyme

CeresCeres Posts: 2,126
Over the past couple of years I have lost a lot of thyme plants. The first to go were two separate clumps of bog standard common thyme, and later on the creeping thyme started to succumb. They all looked fine and then suddenly died but with no obvious cause. The heat in the garden two years ago was fierce and last year it was cold and wet. My Mother, who lives in another part of the country, has also noticed thyme plants dying off. Has anyone else had a similar problem with thyme?
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  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,474
    Wet cold is the worst situation for them. I don't grow much thyme etc now, but if it's in the ground, it needs to be really well drained if you're in a wetter area, and if you're growing in a pot,  it needs watered in hot weather. 
    I have mine in pots, and they're tipped on their side over autumn and winter, and against a wall or fence. I can also bring them in if it's severe in winter. That's what I had to do with rosemary too. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,126
    I'm wondering if last summer tipped the creeping thyme over the edge as this area is normally dry and hot but that doesn't explain the loss of the common thymes.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,474
    Hard to say @Ceres . We had a record breaking year of weather here [and in most of Scotland] last year, but it would still have been damper and cooler than many areas of England. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • philippasmith2philippasmith2 Posts: 1,689
    Thymes aren't always very long lived plants particularly if you don't keep them trimmed.
    Sun and well drained soil as already said but given the prolonged dry periods last summer, a certain amount of watering would have been needed.
    Not sure whether yours were in the ground or in pots ?
    Mine have survived here ( SW UK ) in small pots but will need repotting this Spring.
    People often forget the need to trim and renew the soil when in pots or top up if planted but if you can remember, it often prolongs their life.  Same goes for Rosemary, Lavender etc.
  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 1,030
    They really dislike being wet, as others have said.  Good drainage is critical, whether in pots or in the ground.  If repotting or repositioning in a border, incorporate lots of horticultural grit in the soil, about 3 measures of grit to every measure of soil.  They are indigenous to the Mediterranean so you need to replicate similar conditions for success, as much as the UK climate will let you!
  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,126
    All the thymes that have died have been planted in the garden, with varying amounts of light and moisture, and all the plants that have died have been scattered throughout the garden and not confined to one area. Have I got a thyme plague on my hands? Are the frogs getting their own back for the fungal disease that is wreaking havoc amongst the world amphibian population by spreading something beastly around my garden?
  • philippasmith2philippasmith2 Posts: 1,689
    If you really think your Thymes have disease, you may be able to get some assistance from the RHS.
    I've got a feeling that you need to be a member but not sure.  Could be worth an enquiry ?
  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 1,030
    Only those thymes growing in sun and in well drained soil will flourish.  They don't like nutrient rich soil either, preferring impoverished soil, so if they are near any plants where you have applied fertiliser they won't grow well. The most common disease is caused by the Rosemary beetle.  Check here to see if you can identify any symptoms:
    Rosemary beetle / RHS Gardening
  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,126
    Thanks for the replies. You have all given me a few things to consider re the sickly plants. I do have rosemary beetle in the garden.....so pretty and yet so destructive. Looking at the RHS page about the tiny pest I note that it has an appetite for other Mediterranean plants which could be a problem now that many of us are having to adapt our plantings to hotter summers.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 14,196
    you could try areas of paving or gravel - full sun, v sharp drainage
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