To revive a dying thyme plant, you need to begin by addressing the most common causes of thyme death. Thyme prefers dry soil, so if the herb is planted in wet ground, you may be able to revive it by simply watering less frequently. Thyme loves full sun. If it is sunlight deprived, replant it in a sunnier part of your garden or move it to a bright windowsill. Repotting it in fresh soil or adding high-quality soil to the surrounding dirt is essential as well. Trimming away damaged or dying stems and leaves is another important step. Improper pruning often leads to the early demise of this Mediterranean herb.
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4 Steps to Revive a Thyme Plant
If your thyme plants are listless and frail, there are several things you can do to revive them quickly. The most common problem is too much moisture in the soil, which almost always leads to root rot. However, there are other issues that can cause thyme to die. Follow these four steps to bring your thyme plants back to life:
Eliminate Excessive Moisture
If your thyme plants are struggling, the first thing you should do is eliminate excess moisture. The premature death of thyme is usually the result of root rot from wet soil. Thyme is a hardy Mediterranean herb, but thrives best in bright sun and soil that is dry as opposed to moist or wet.
- Too much moisture in the soil is the most common killer for thyme plants.
- Water thyme once every 10–15 days to prevent overwatering and root rot.
- If your thyme is wilting, pause watering for at least 10 days.
- Consider moving thyme plants to sunnier locations to encourage moisture evaporation.
In order to prevent your thyme from suffering from overwatering, only water this perennial herb once every 10–15 days. If your thyme is wilting and the soil is moist, stop watering for 10–15 days. If the soil is chronically moist due to shade, consider replanting your thyme in a sunnier spot. More sun exposure will evaporate excess moisture in the soil.
Place Your Thyme in the Sun
Plant thyme in full sunlight. Although thyme is easy to grow, it will die quickly if deprived of light. Carefully replant your thyme from shady places to areas that get at least 6 hours of direct sun daily. Thyme loves the sun, so pick the sunniest location in your garden. Up to 10 hours of direct sun per day is great for thyme. Shade is far more deadly to thyme than too much sun.
- Replant struggling thyme in a garden location that receives 6–10 hours of direct sun each day.
- Move potted thyme to the sunniest window in your home.
- Thyme loves sunlight and does not tolerate shade well.
If growing your thyme indoors, place it on a windowsill or a plant shelf in direct sunlight for most of the day. Choose south-facing windows in order to maximize the amount of sun your thyme receives. Your plant will thank you by producing renewed growth.
Refresh the Soil
Lack of nutrients from poor soil can kill your thyme. This is particularly true if the plants are potted. There are only so many nutrients in each pot of soil. Eventually, your plant will pull all the nutrients out of the potting soil. After this point, your thyme plant will begin to wilt. To prevent this, re-pot your thyme in fresh soil once per year.
- Re-pot indoor plants every year to refresh soil nutrients.
- Use pots with plenty of drainage holes to prevent overly moist soil.
- Add compost or simple fertilizer to outdoor soil annually.
If the thyme planted in your garden is struggling from a lack of nutrients, add compost or an all-purpose fertilizer once each year. Thyme plants typically grow well with little-to-no fertilization, but the soil they’re planted in can become depleted of nutrients. To prevent this, spread compost in your garden each spring or feed your thyme with this organic fertilizer.
Prune Your Thyme Plants Regularly
Thyme plants will not grow well if you don’t perform annual pruning. Unpruned plants often grow to an excessive length and have sparse leaves. They may also feature a woody or spindly appearance. When old stems and leaves die off, it can choke the healthy new thyme and stunt its growth. Pruning every month can eliminate overgrowth of this type.
- Prune thyme once per-year to encourage the healthiest growth.
- Remove old, bare, and spindly stems when pruning.
- Never remove more than a third of the plant when pruning.
Never cut back thyme plants by more than a third when shaping. If more cutting is necessary to achieve the desired shape, you should still only cut back one-third annually and then wait to cut back more the following year. By gradually removing spindly, sparse tendrils you will cultivate a healthier thyme plant.
Can Thyme Come Back to Life?
It is possible to save a dying thyme plant if its roots are still healthy. First, remove the struggling plant from the soil it is planted in. If you see white roots, then the herb has a chance of bouncing back to life. To take steps to save a dying thyme plant by:
- Repot the plant in fresh potting soil.
- Make sure the plant receives 6–10 hours of full sun per-day.
- Water thyme once every 10–15 days.
Don’t wait to take the appropriate steps if your plant is struggling. Use the tips we’ve covered to make sure your thyme is planted in nutrient-rich, well-drained soil and ensure that is receives full sun each day.
Why Does Thyme Wilt?
In most cases, thyme plants wilt and droop because too much moisture has settled around the roots. This can be from overwatering or from having the herbs planted in moist soil where little sunlight falls. To correct these issues, move thyme to a location where it gets full sun for 6–10 hours. Then, reduce watering to once every 10–15 days.
- The most common cause of wilting thyme is water stress caused by too much soil moisture.
- Move thyme to a sunny location to help dry out the soil it’s planted in.
- Do not water thyme more frequently than once every 10–15 days.
Wilting can also occur from too much sun exposure, although this is somewhat rare. It’s a much safer bet to assume that your thyme plant is struggling from excess water and not enough sun.
How to Save a Thyme Plant
In order to save a dying thyme plant, you should:
- Remove thyme from moist ground. Plant in dry soil.
- Keep your thyme in full sunlight
- Repot or fertilize thyme annually
- Prune on a regular basis
By keeping your thyme in dry soil with plenty of nutrients, providing 6–10 hours of sun each day, and pruning overgrown thyme, you’ll ensure the healthiest plant. With a little love and a lot of direct light, your thyme plant will be thriving again in no time.