How to plant flats of elfin thyme for a thyme lawn

by KAL
(Northern California)

I have flats of elfin thyme to plant and want to know if I need to cut them up. I want to end up with a thyme lawn (sooner rather than later!). Does it hurt the thyme if I plant the flats all close together for instant gratification? If I should cut them, how big and how far apart should the pieces be. Thank you in advance for your answer!

Drought Smart Plants reply:

I'm guessing you have straight flats of thyme that has all grown together? This is fine to cut into pieces, each with their own roots. If it's plugs, I don't recommend it as the plugs are so small that it's more trouble than it's worth.

Either way, you will have to be patient, as thyme has its own schedule.

All you can do is provide the right soil (extremely well drained, with a small amount of nutrients such as worm castings sprinkled around before planting) and some moisture to get them started.

Your thyme lawn will still take up to three seasons to fill in. Thyme is slow to get established, but then makes up for it with good growth the third year on.

I don't recommend planting too closely to get instant results, although if you want to try this then re-space later, there is merit to this idea.

I would carefully figure out which ones will get moved in the future, so that the spacing stays about right - each plant will grow to around 40-50cm across, so if you plant them approximately 20cm apart, eventually you could move half of them to the right distance. The only problem with this is that your lawn may no longer be flat. Carefully fill the holes that are left by removing 50% of the plants with some sandy soil and tamp it down.

Good luck with your lawn!

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