Grow thyme on the balcony

Grow thyme on the balcony

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The thyme (Thymus) is a plant belonging to the Lamiaceae family, widely used in cooking, both for its aroma than for his property. It is one of the most cultivated herbs, it is part of the classic aromatic herbs such as sage, rosemary and basil.

Grow it in pots on your own balcony is an excellent idea, not just to always have hers available fragrance in the kitchen, but also to enjoy the beauty of this shrub, especially when it blooms. The plant is a perennial, with small evergreen leaves, easy to keep tidy.

Like various other aromatics, thyme is very easy to grow in pots, we have already explained in general how to grow thyme in the vegetable garden, in this article we deepen the peculiarities of balcony cultivation. There are in fact some athe foresight of having the plant in a container, from the choice of pot and soil to irrigation.

Description of the plant

Thyme is one officinal plant native to the arid areas of the Mediterranean basin and some areas of Asia, where it was found mainly on rocky slopes. In Italy it grows up to 2000 m of altitude.

Thyme seeds can be stored for 5 years and in just one gram we can find up to 6000 units. Almost fifty varieties of this medicinal herb have been described, usually it does not exceed 50 cm in height and has a shrubby and woody stem, the leaves are small and the flowers, white or pink, give off a strong and pleasant smell.

By size and characteristics it lends itself to being grown in pots, being satisfied even with small spaces.

Location and period

The thyme loves the heat, but it also resists well at low temperatures, and dry, since it fears excesses of damp. For this reason, if you want to keep it on the balcony, it is good to place the pots in well exposed areas to the sun's rays.

It's about a perennial plant, able to withstand the outdoors all year round without major problems, but to plant it it is better to wait for spring, or in any case a moment of mild climate. In this way, the plant will be able to adapt to the new condition and root in the potting soil, facing winter when it is well formed.

Choice of the suitable vase

Thyme grows like a bush, so a pot from diameter of at least 15-20 cm will be fine for our use, the depth ideal is at least 20 cm, to give some ease to the roots.

We can also decide to associate the plant with other essences, possibly also perennial and of similar size, for example sage. Among the herbs we avoid putting thyme together with mint, too invasive to share the container.

On Orto Da Coltivare you will find a general article dedicated to the choice of the pot and its materials, among the various options an excellent proposal is the geotextile fabric, but also the classic terracotta pot is fine, or in plastic, less desirable for ecological reasons .

Choose the soil and fill the pot

Once we have chosen the container we must of course fill it with substrate. Before the soil, it is better to take care to provide a good drainage of any excess water, to avoid stagnation. We then make a state of expanded clay or simple stones.

We can buy the soil in any agricultural center. It is not necessary to buy a specific substrate for herbs: the universal soil it is cheaper and is equally good, possibly certified organic. We can think of us at improve it, adding a little compost well mature, so as to increase the availability of nutrients for our plant, and maybe even a little bit of country land, carrier of useful microorganisms present in nature. Seeing as thyme loves draining soil it's good too mix some river sand, available at a very low price in any construction center, which makes the soil looser.

I recommend filling the jar and leaving it for a week rest before planting, so that the compost, the earth and its microorganisms come into contact with each other. After this time, which is still optional, we can finally transplant the thyme seedling into our pot.

Growing on the terrace

The cultivation of thyme is very simple, to keep it on the balcony, there are only two special precautions compared to having it in the open field and they concern water and nutrients. The fact of having the plant in a limited space implies that the resources available to the roots are scarcer, it is therefore good to intervene periodically with constancy, both irrigating and fertilizing.

How much to wet the potted thyme

As we said the thyme prefers warm and dry climates, hence the plant it must not be watered too much, absolutely avoiding the accumulations of water that could cause the birth of fungi harmful to our aromatic.

The criterion is to keep the soil in the pot slightly damp, the exact amount of water to be used varies according to the climate, as does the frequency.

It must always be taken into account that it is better irrigate often but with little water, rather than on the contrary wet a lot once in a while.
Irrigation should not be given in the hottest hours of the day, trying to irrigate on the ground and not on the leaves.


To fertilize the potted plant we can add compost or manure in pellets once a year, as a contribution of organic substance and nutritional macroelements.

Besides that it is useful every 3-4 months irrigate using nettle macerate with fertilizing action, it is a completely natural fertigation that brings several useful elements to our medicinal plant. You can read how to prepare this macerate.

How to use thyme

Thyme possesses important antiseptic properties, useful on the gastrointestinal level, but its qualities are no less antibacterial due to the presence of thymol, a phenol thanks to which it owes its characteristic odor.

L'Essential oil of thyme it is excellent against fungi, it is also used for diseases such as cough or asthma, thanks to its expectorant function.

Its most widespread use is in the kitchen, in fact it is very suitable for flavoring meat or fish dishes or to give an original touch to salads and risottos.


The term thymus comes from the Greek word thumus which stands for courage, a quality that would be obtained simply by smelling a thyme plant, it was no coincidence that it was widely used by the Republicans during the French Revolution. In addition to courage, the thyme plant has always been associated with positivity and good humor.

We just have to grow a seedling on our balcony so as to benefit from all its qualities!

Video: How to: Indoor Herb Garden