Thyme favors a full sun location in well-drained soil. It requires a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight, but as many as 10 is not too much. This hardy herb can survive in freezing temperatures, but dies quickly if deprived of sun. You may also notice its leaves turning brown or yellow if not exposed to full light. You can place it in both direct and indirect sunlight for similar results. Growing thyme in shady areas is possible, but you can anticipate a longer lifespan if your thyme is grown in sunny areas. Full sun decreases soil moisture and helps eliminate root rot.
Table of Contents
How Many Hours of Sun Does Thyme Need?
Be sure your thyme plant receives a minimum of 6 hours of full sun daily. This is what makes the herb grow and thrive. Because the plant originated in the Mediterranean, it desires a hot climate and its fullest potential will not be reached without at least 6 hours of full sun. However, don’t limit your plants to 6 hours: up to 10 hours of full sun is ideal, especially if trying to revive your plant.
- Thyme grows best when it receives 6–10 hours of full sun.
- If growing indoors, your thyme plants should be placed near the sunniest windows.
If you are growing your thyme inside, plants should be positioned on the brightest windowsills of your house or apartment. Depending on the direction of your home, you may need to move your plants from one window to another during the day.
Can Thyme Grow in Indirect Sunlight?
Thyme tolerates indirect sunlight well and will flourish as long as you provide a minimum of 6 hours of exposure. The more sunlight the better, whether it is direct or indirect. Aim for at least 10 hours a day in an indirect light environment. When growing thyme indoors, keep the plants as close to sunny windows as possible to ensure adequate sunlight.
- Thyme plants can flourish in indirect sunlight.
- If you are growing thyme in indirect sunlight, provide at least 10 hours of sun per day.
- Do not allow your thyme plants’ surrounding environment to drop under 60℉ (16℃).
You may not be able to position your plants on or near windowsills if outdoor temperatures are frigid. If cold weather occurs where you live, put your plants as close to the natural light as possible without allowing their surrounding environment to dip below 60℉ (16℃).
Can Thyme Grow in Shade?
Thyme can grow in shade, but there are some drawbacks. For example, when thyme is planted in shady areas, its flowers may fail to bloom. If they do occasionally bloom in light shade, the color and size of the buds are typically lackluster. If this is important to you, it is best to look for a sunnier planting spot.
- If you don’t have access to a full sun area, you can still grow thyme.
- Thyme grown in shady areas may not produce flowers.
- Shady areas may be moisture-rich, leading to substandard growth.
It’s important to consider the soil conditions in shady areas of your garden. If you live in a humid region, shady sections of your property probably feature damp soil. Thyme grows best in soil that is dry and has a tendency to grow poorly in wet or moist soil.
What Happens if Thyme Doesn’t Get Enough Sun?
The first and most noticeable side effect of sun deprivation is brown or yellow leaves. Thyme flowers may also be affected. They often lack vibrant color and might not grow to their full size. Buds may even fail to bloom entirely if no sunlight is provided.
- Sun-deprived thyme may fail to produce flowers.
- Thyme kept from the sun may be spindly and have noticeably yellow or brown leaves.
- If soil remains moist due to lack of sun, thyme may be attacked by root rot.
Thyme that is not exposed to enough sunlight may also develop a spindly or woody appearance and leaves on the stem may become sparse. These conditions usually go away if you move the plant to a sunnier area. Harvesting thyme without enough sun and heat can also kill your plant.
Can Thyme Get Too Much Sun?
All perennial herbs can get too much sun. However, this is not something you typically have to worry about with thyme. Thyme responds well to hot, dry conditions. Because it is a Mediterranean plant, thyme wants as much full sun as it can get.
- It is difficult to expose thyme to too much sun.
- Signs of sun damage may include blistering or a gray tinge near the stem.
Only in the heart of summer, when days are longest, is thyme in danger of too much sun exposure. This occurs on rare occasions, and the telltale signs include a gray tinge where the leaves meet the stem, blister-like marks on the leaves, and flowers that look dry or have lost their color. However, brown leaves and wilting are far more likely to be caused by too much moisture than excessive sun exposure. Never assume too much sun is the problem with thyme. Suspect humidity and moisture first, since this is typically what damages thyme.
How Much Sun Does Thyme Require?
6 hours of direct sunlight is necessary for thyme to thrive in your herb garden. Extra amounts of sunlight is good for your thyme plant, however. 10 hours or more is appropriate. Yellow or brown leaves usually indicate that the plant is not getting full sun.
- Full sun and good drainage are vital to healthy thyme plants.
- Thyme prefers soil that is well-drained and enhanced with other plants and perennial herbs.
- Thyme is an evergreen botanical and survives well in cold temperatures, but cannot live without light.
- You can grow the thyme in shade, but its lifespan is enhanced by the natural sun.
- Similar results are achieved with direct and indirect sunlight.
- Full sun ensures that excessive moisture is kept from the soil, thus preventing root rot.
If there is an extremely sunny spot in your garden, this is the ideal location to grow thyme from seed or plant a seedling. Thyme will grow fastest in direct sunlight. It has little or no need for partial shade.