How to Harvest Thyme Without Killing the Plant

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is a plant native to the Mediterranean. It is a small, aromatic herb that grows easily. Learn how to harvest thyme without killing the plant.

Thyme is a perennial herb; you should be able to harvest thyme throughout the year if you live in a temperate climate zone. If where you live the winters are very strong with frost or snow, you should protect the thyme plant or grow thyme in pots to be able to keep it indoors.

Growing thyme is very easy, thyme is a plant that does not require much care and develops easily. If you harvest thyme correctly, you will have very abundant harvests, so we will explain how to harvest thyme without killing the plant.

When to Harvest Thyme

When to Harvest Thyme? The most important thing to harvest thyme without killing the plant is to wait until the thyme plant is 8″ to 10″ (20 to 25 cm) tall to harvest thyme. Once the thyme plant has reached the right height, it can be harvested without the risk of the plant dying.

Early summer is also the best time to harvest thyme, just before the thyme begins to flowering. Of course, you can harvest thyme when it has already flowered, but its aroma and flavor will be milder.

Always harvest thyme in the morning when the plant’s dew has dried. In the morning is when the thyme plant has the best concentration of essential oils.

Any time you harvest thyme, leave at least 3″ (8 cm) of stem at the bottom to allow the plant to grow back strong. Pruning or harvesting thyme encourages the plant to continue to grow, so it is good to harvest thyme.

So, to harvest thyme without killing the plant, the most important thing is to wait until the thyme plant has reached the right height.

when to harvest thyme
When to Harvest Thyme? Never harvest thyme before it reaches a height of 8″ to 10″ (20 to 25 cm).

How to Harvest Thyme Without Killing the Plant

How to Harvest Thyme Without Killing the Plant? To harvest thyme without killing the plant, you must use sharp, disinfected scissors. It is important to never pull the thyme plant to harvest because you could damage the roots of the plant. If the roots of the thyme are damaged, it may receive fewer nutrients and the plant will not recover from the harvest.

Thyme has woody stems, and you should leave a few inches (cm) of the woody stem when harvesting so that the thyme can recover and regrow strongly.

In the first harvest of your thyme plant, do not harvest more than 1/3 of the plant, so it can recover. After a while, you can harvest up to 2/3 of the thyme plant, but remember to always use sharp disinfected scissors.

The best time to harvest thyme is in the morning when the dew dries, which will improve its conservation. It is not advisable to harvest thyme after a rainy day, because the humidity will make the subsequent drying and preservation process difficult.

Following all these tips you will be able to harvest thyme without killing the plant, now we will explain how to store thyme correctly.

how to harvest thyme without killing the plant
How to Harvest Thyme Without Killing the Plant? Use sharp scissors to harvest thyme without killing the plant. Never pull the thyme plant to harvest, it could damage the roots.

How to Store Thyme

How to Store Thyme? Thyme should be stored both fresh and dry. To store fresh thyme in the refrigerator, first, wash the thyme leaves and dry them with a towel to remove moisture. Then place the thyme leaves in a paper bag or plastic bag with holes and place the bag in the refrigerator. This way, you should be able to keep fresh thyme in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

How to Dry Thyme

How to Dry Thyme? Another option to store thyme longer is to dry the thyme. Fresh thyme will have a less intense flavor and aroma than fresh thyme but can be stored for a long time.

  • Prepare a dark, dry, and cool place, well ventilated.
  • Thyme should be placed in a wooden or plastic box with holes, with kitchen paper underneath and on top (to avoid dust).
  • It is important to separate the thyme plants so that they are aerated, avoiding crowding, as far as possible.

Thyme will be dry in 2-3 weeks, depending on temperature and ventilation. Then package the thyme in a hermetic jar, in this way you should be able to store the thyme for up to one year.

You should also dry the thyme with a food dehydrator, it is a much faster and simpler way. Set the dehydrator to the lowest possible temperature and check every 30 minutes how the thyme is drying. In approximately 2 to 4 hours the thyme will be dry, then let it cool and pack it in hermetic jars.

We hope that this article about how to harvest thyme without killing the plant will be very useful and that you will have an excellent harvest. We recommend our article about how to harvest parsley without killing the plant.

how to dry thyme
How to Dry Thyme? You should dry thyme naturally, which will take 2 to 3 weeks, or in a dehydrator, which will take 2 to 4 hours to dry thyme.
About Henry Morgan

We are the Morgan family, Henry, and Julia, both agronomists from the University of Michigan, where we met. We are experts in putting our hands in the soil and developing organic foods and improving production processes for decades. Likewise, we have worked for companies such as Mondelez International, BASF, Monsanto, etc. currently in our role as science writers for TheGardenStyle.com as well as advisors in promoting large scale food growing in urbanized areas. In this website, we share what we are most passionate about, gardening and farming. Enjoy and see real photos on our website.