Orange Scented Thyme is a low-growing, wiry-stemmed perennial. The grey-green leaves are extremely fragrant with a delicious scent of balsam and oranges. This native of Southern Europe is now grown the world over as it is such a versatile plant. Its foliage is attractive, the flowers are long-lasting and very pretty, it is drought tolerant and an overall easy-care plant. On top of that it is one of the most useful herbs for the kitchen.
Orange Scented Thyme reaches a height of 30cm (12in) and with its small grey-green leaves and pale mauve-pink flowers that bloom at the tips of the stems in summer, which are highly attractive to bees.
This aromatic, evergreen thyme likes a well-drained light soil, and it should not be too rich in nutrients as this will only encourage the plant to grow 'leggy' and lose its compact shape. Being a native of the Mediterranean it needs a place in full sun.
Suitable for planting in the rock garden, herb garden or the front of a border, thymes are also known as very good container plants and make interesting plants for the window sill or in baskets.
Orange Scented Thyme has a strong citrus tang, without any bitter aftertaste, it is an excellent herb for flavouring stuffings and stews. Pies and chutneys are also given an extra lift when this aromatic herb is added.
This thyme is ideal added to a bouquet garni. Thyme is one of the savory herbs, which are main course herbs used to flavour hardy meals, bone warming soups, and piquant sauces. Excellent with fish, poultry, veal, roasted vegetables, stews and soups or in marmalades and chutneys.
They will blend their essence with other savory herbs like Tarragon and Savory to create some memorable flavours.
Sowing: Sow in spring or autumn at around 13°C (55°F)
Sow seed on the surface of lightly firmed, moist seed compost in pots or trays. Do not cover as they need light to germinate. Cover the seed container with a piece of glass or clear plastic and leave in a position which receives diffused light. Once some of the seeds have germinated air should be admitted gradually. Germination 15 to 30 days.
When large enough to handle, transplant seedlings into 7.5cm (3in) pots to grow on. Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10-15 days before planting out after all risk of frost. For best results, provide any ordinary, well-drained soil in full sun. When transplanting pinch out the tip of each stem to encourage the plants to bush outwards. Plant 30 to 45cm (12 to 18in) apart.
Thyme, like Rosemary and Lavender is one of those plants which will not re-grow if cut back too hard, if you need to trim them wait until new growth buds appear in the spring and cut back to the lower ones.
Leaves can be harvested for fresh use throughout the summer; the flavour is best just before flowering. Harvest sparingly the first year.
To store, cut the stems just as the flowers start to open in spring and again in late summer and hang in small bunches to dry. Save some sprigs in olive oil.
One thing to remember, fresh thyme has a softer flavour and is less intensive that dried thyme. Dried thyme has an added smokiness that goes well in spicy foods.. The dried herb surpasses the fresh one in intensity by a factor of two or three. This phenomenon can also be observed in both oregano and rosemary
Thyme aids in the digestion of high fat foods, and is used to preserve meat.
Thyme is best known as one of the primary components in a classic bouquet garni. When combined with fresh sprigs of parsley and leaves of bay, it will enliven and give depth to the flavour of soups, stews and sauces.
Thyme is also a key element in the traditional, dried, aromatic blend Herbes de Provence and is one of the flavourings in the liqueur, Benedictine. Thyme honey, made when bees collect pollen from thyme flowers, is excellent.
It is popular for its antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Tea preparations are used for sore throats and coughs as well as to improve general immune system functions.
It is used as an antiseptic lotion and mouth wash; as an ointment for skin affections and burns and perfumed with lavender, to keep off gnats and mosquitoes. It is also used for embalming corpses.
To make a tea: Use two teaspoons of dried herb per cup of boiling water and steep for ten minutes. Add sage to the tea if you have a nagging cough. A stronger tea is useful as a mouthwash or rinse to treat sore gums.
Thyme is the companion plant of Cabbages, repelling the Cabbage worm. Dried flowers are used to repel moths from clothing. In Perfumery, Essence of Thyme is used for cosmetics and rice powder. Thyme also enters into the formula for Herb Tobacco.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 50mg Average Seed Count 225 Seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 4500 seeds / gram Common Name Orange Thyme, Fragrant Thyme Family Lamiaceae Genus Thymus Species fragrantissimus Synonym Thymus x citriodorus Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Mauve-pink flowers, spring and summer Height 15 to 30cm (6 to 12in) Position Full Sun Soil Light Well Drained Soil Time to Sow Sow in spring or autumn Germination 15 to 30 days at 13°C (55°F) Harvest Harvest sparingly the first year. Time to Harvest The flavour is best just before flowering.