6 Tips For Growing Red Creeping Thyme In Texas

Red creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum coccineus) is a beautiful and versatile ground cover plant that is well-suited for the Texas climate. This low-growing perennial herb features tiny, aromatic leaves and vibrant red flowers that add a splash of color to any garden or landscape. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, growing red creeping thyme can be a rewarding experience. In this article, we will provide you with six essential tips to help you successfully grow red creeping thyme in Texas. Let’s get started!

1. Choose the Right Location

• Sunlight: Red creeping thyme thrives in full sun, so it’s important to choose a location that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Ensure that the area is not shaded by trees or other structures.

• Soil: Red creeping thyme prefers well-draining soil with a slightly alkaline pH level. Texas soils tend to be alkaline, which makes it an ideal environment for this plant. If your soil is heavy clay or compacted, consider amending it with organic matter, such as compost, to improve drainage.

• Water drainage: Good drainage is crucial for red creeping thyme. Avoid areas with poor drainage or heavy clay soil that can retain excessive moisture, as this can lead to root rot and other problems.

2. Planting Red Creeping Thyme

• Timing: The best time to plant red creeping thyme in Texas is during the early spring or fall when the weather is mild. Avoid planting during the hot summer months when the temperatures are intense.

• Spacing: When planting red creeping thyme, space the plants about 6 to 12 inches apart to allow them to spread and fill in the area over time.

• Planting depth: Dig a hole that is slightly larger than the root ball of the plant. Place the plant in the hole, making sure that the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Gently backfill the hole with soil and firm it around the plant.

3. Watering and Maintenance

• Watering: Red creeping thyme is drought-tolerant once established, but it still requires regular watering during the first growing season. Water deeply, providing enough moisture to reach the root zone. After the plant is established, reduce watering frequency, as excessive moisture can cause root rot.

• Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the plants to help conserve moisture, suppress weed growth, and regulate soil temperature. Avoid placing mulch directly against the stems to prevent rotting.

• Trimming: Red creeping thyme benefits from regular trimming or light shearing to maintain its compact shape and encourage dense growth. Prune the plant after the flowering period to promote new growth and prevent it from becoming woody and leggy.

4. Fertilizing

• Soil testing: Before fertilizing, it’s advisable to conduct a soil test to determine if any nutrient deficiencies exist. Texas soils are often rich in nutrients, so additional fertilization may not be necessary.

• Organic fertilizers: If your soil lacks nutrients, use organic fertilizers with a balanced ratio of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Apply the fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions, taking care not to over-fertilize, as this can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of flowers.

5. Controlling Weeds and Pests

• Weed control: Red creeping thyme is known for its ability to suppress weeds, but it’s still important to keep the area around the plants weed-free. Regularly inspect the planting bed and remove any weeds by hand or use mulch to smother them.

• Pest management: Red creeping thyme is generally resistant to pests and diseases. However, occasional issues with aphids, spider mites, or thrips may occur. Monitor the plants regularly and use organic pest control methods, such as insecticidal soap or neem oil, if necessary.

6. Winter Protection

• Cold hardiness: Red creeping thyme is typically hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 9. However, in Texas, where temperatures can be extreme, providing some winterprotection for the plants is beneficial.

• Mulching: Apply a thick layer of organic mulch around the plants in late fall to insulate the roots and protect them from freezing temperatures. This will also help prevent soil erosion and conserve moisture during the winter months.

• Covering: In areas where the temperatures drop significantly, consider using frost blankets or row covers to provide additional protection. These covers can be draped over the plants during cold nights and removed during the day to allow sunlight and air circulation.

• Watering: During the winter, reduce watering frequency to avoid waterlogged soil, which can lead to root rot. Water sparingly only when the soil is dry to the touch.


With its vibrant red flowers and aromatic foliage, red creeping thyme is an excellent choice for ground cover in Texas gardens. By following these six tips, you can ensure the successful growth and maintenance of red creeping thyme in your Texas landscape. Choose a sunny location with well-draining soil, plant during the appropriate season, provide adequate watering and maintenance, fertilize if needed, control weeds and pests, and provide winter protection. With proper care, you can enjoy the beauty and benefits of red creeping thyme year after year. Happy gardening!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *