Thymus pseudolanuginosus – Woolly Creeping Thyme Seeds Wanted

My front grass is completely dead.  This isn’t a case of not greening up in the spring…it is so much worse….when I rake it everything comes up and I am left with just clean dirt.   I have honestly never seen a case of grubs killing everything in sight, which is exactly what has happened….I suspect because of the mild winter.

wooly thyme rock garden

Since happening across a thyme lawn in northern Vermont a couple of summers ago, I have wanted to consider replacement. The typical steps to install such a thing are to kill all your grass, remove all the remnants of said grass and then you can seed or plant plugs.  Well, those nasty little white worms did step # 1, the wind and a quick sweep of the rake has covered off step # 2 and so I figure I must seize the unexpected labor-saving opportunity and plant the place up with something other than grass.

woolly thyme

This is what I want….. Thymus pseudolanuginosus – Woolly Creeping Thyme  — but I am having a tough time finding seeds (which I prefer, as I have no patience for plug planting).   Please, I am hoping someone has a source that they can share?

creeping thyme

Because if I can’t find wooly thyme seeds, then I think I am going to have to settle for creeping thyme….which is lovely, but I am pretty sure that the pink flowers will clash with deep reds and orange colors that I have going on at the front of the house….and the whole idea starts to make me wonder if I should just go back to grass……

What do you say?  Do you know of a Wooly Thyme seed source? Should I go with the creeping thyme if not, or keep it simple and just stick with grass ( I can always let the critters re-kill everything and try again another time)….and why are my own design decisions so much harder than those I make for my clients!!

images from Fine Gardening and Hume seeds.



10 Responses to Thymus pseudolanuginosus – Woolly Creeping Thyme Seeds Wanted

  1. After a quick bit of googling, I found this forum post where they say that it is propagated only by cutting, with seeds not available commercially (and the lack of any seed sellers that I can find seems to support this claim). Perhaps there is a way you could buy a few starters to get started on a long-term goal of a woolly thyme yard, but then plant the majority of the area with something else for the short-term, and try to clear it away as the woolly thyme grows? Perhaps that is too much effort, though.

  2. Have you thought of putting in a moss lawn. If the soil is compacted enough, and most lawns are, the moss will grow, even in a sunny location. It is a bit of a project to get started, but once established, if is very low maintenance. There is weeding out of unwanted weed seedlings, and occasional watering during summer dry stretches. Also if there are a lot of tree leaves dropping on it in the fall, the leaves need to be removed.

    Once the grass is killed, either by circumstances such as yours, or using something like Round up, bring in some moss from nearby. It is amazing how fast it will spread to the surrounding naked ground.

  3. This is not really the type of plant that can be direct sown into the garden. But full flats in the ground cover section of your nursery or inexpensive six packs are generally easy to come by and grow pretty quickly.

    Thyme isn’t really a low maintenance ground cover though. It needs to be weeded pretty regularly to look nice. And by weeded I mean you practically have to get down on your hands and knees with tweezers to get out all the annoying little weeds that will grow in it.

  4. Mountain Valley Growers in California – you can order plug trays from them. I’ve made two wolly thyme lawns. make sure to apply a light does of liquid fertilizer once every 3 weeks and they grow much faster.

  5. kaveh — I think you bring up a good point….I am un-phased by a grassy mix with my thyme (for the lawn), but last year I tried to get a different creeping thyme to establish between cobbles on a path and I am regretting it. it is so weedy…I need to find a low green ground cover that will take over and choke everything else for this situation…. but back to the lawn area…so long as it is filled in I think I am ok…but I am going to have to clean pine needles off this a lot….so maybe it isn’t such a great idea.

  6. Oh yeah if there are pine needles falling on the area Thyme won’t be so great. Maybe a nice groundcover Geranium like G. X cantabrigiense or G. macrorrhizum.

  7. Don’t settle for the creeping thyme. Although it looks nice, it has to be cut back and get tangled and ratty looking. It’s much easier to pick out or lightly brush woolly thyme. My yard gets blanketed with leaves and maple seeds and the woolly thyme is the easiest to sweep. It mixes especially well with low growing sedums and succulents for a really stunning garden ‘carpet’. Opt for converting a large specimen into many plugs and sprinkle pea gravel over the dirt before planting. It will give the thyme something to hang on to.

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