Breckland thyme – info, planting, care and tips

Breckland thyme (Thymus serpyllum)
Breckland thyme (Thymus serpyllum)

The Breckland thyme is not only convincing as ground cover, but also as a fragrant medicinal and aromatic plant. Here you will find tips for planting and care.

Profile of Breckland thyme:

Scientific name: Thymus serpyllum

Plant family: mint family (Lamiaceae)

Other names: Breckland wild thyme, wild thyme, creeping thyme, elfin thyme

Sowing time: spring

Planting time: spring

Flowering period: June to August

Harvest time: May to September

Location: sunny

Soil quality: stony to sandy, low in nutrients

These information are for temperate climate!

Use as a medicinal herb: bronchitis, cough, digestion, gynecology, epilepsy, joint pain, skin, flatulence, wounds

Use as spice herb: meat, sauces, soups, potatoes, salads

Use in: ground cover, roof greening, planters, apothecary garden, roof garden, herb garden, rock garden, potted garden

Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 5 (-26 °C / -15 °F)

Bee and insect friendly: Yes

Plant characteristics and classification of Breckland thyme

Plant order, origin and occurrence of Breckland thyme

Breckland thyme (Thymus serpyllum) is a perennial that belongs to the mint family (Lamiaceae). It is the wild brother of the thyme. It is native to Central Europe and grows in places that are too dry, stony and sunny for other plants.

Characteristics of Breckland thyme


Thymus serpyllum has a very low growth height of only about 10 cm (4 in). Its cushion-like, dense growth makes it an ideal ground cover.


The leaves of the Breckland thyme are lanceolate in shape. The smooth, fragrant leaves appear green.


The flowering season of Breckland thyme extends from June to August. The small, pink to purple flowers are lip-like and arranged in layers in whorls. Like the foliage, the flowers exude a pleasant scent.


The fruits of Thymus serpyllum are inconspicuous, small nuts.

Breckland thyme – cultivation and care


As a heat-loving plant, the Breckland thyme prefers a location in the full sun.


The ideal substrate for Breckland thyme is low in nutrients and moderately dry to dry. Even longer periods without watering the plant usually survives without problems. A good permeability of the substrate is indispensable.


In spring the young plants can be bought and planted. About 11 to 15 specimens of the Breckland thyme are needed per square meter (10 sq ft), the planting distance should be 20 to 30 centimeters (8 to 12 in).

Care / Fertilization / Watering

Occasional additions of compost have a positive effect on the growth of the Breckland thyme, but otherwise it is very undemanding and does not require special care. If you want to prevent the leaves from being shed in winter, you can cover it with a fleece, but this is not necessary. Thymus serpyllum usually copes well with longer dry periods, but in very dry, hot years it should be watered occasionally.


Every three years the Breckland thyme can be divided. To do this, dig up the perennial plant, divide the root ball with a spade and replant.


Wild thyme can be propagated in various ways. In addition to sowing, it is also possible to divide the plants and propagate them using cuttings. To propagate cuttings, one cuts about 10 cm (4 in) long, woody side shoots in early summer and removes the shoot tips. The cuttings are then placed in pots with permeable substrate and covered with foil.

Diseases and pests

The wild thyme is an extremely robust plant and is rarely affected by plant diseases. Occasionally powdery mildew can occur, but a broth made of common horsetail or nettle can help. Due to its distinctive aroma, Breckland thyme keeps most pests away; only aphids and cicadas sometimes occur. The aphids can best be controlled with a strong water jet.


There are no special measures necessary for the winter time.


When harvesting thyme, the following applies: shoots for drying the thyme are best harvested just before flowering and around midday, fresh leaves for use in the kitchen can be cut continuously.

Collect the flowering herb without roots and without woody parts.

The Breckland thyme must be dried very gently and with as little touch as possible.

It is best to place it in one layer in a warm, shady place.

Use of the Breckland thyme

Use in the garden

The Breckland thyme is a very versatile plant. In the garden. It is often used as ground cover because of its creeping growth. It is also very suitable for planting pavement joints – especially if you are looking for an easy-care alternative to lawn joints that have to be constantly mowed, or if you are tired of scratching out the joints. The wild thyme also cuts a good figure in the rock garden. Cultivation in a pot is also possible, but care should always be taken to avoid waterlogging. Wild thyme is also a valuable bee pasture and can be used for green roofs.


Thymus serpyllum is available in different varieties. The variety ‘Albus’, for example, has numerous white flowers. The flowers of ‘Coccineus’, on the other hand, shine in an intense lilac-red, in winter the leaves turn red. ‘Lemon Curd’ is a robust variety with an intense lemon aroma, which makes the pink flowers a great edible decoration.

Breckland thyme in the kitchen

Breckland thyme is a powerful spice for Mediterranean cuisine, similar to its cultivated, southern brother thyme.

It facilitates digestion in heavy meat dishes. Wild thyme also gives a spicy aroma to vegetable dishes.

Its taste is excellent with sauces and soups, but it is also suitable for seasoning potatoes and salads.

Breckland thyme as a medicinal herb

Respiratory Organs

The most important area of application of the wild thyme is diseases of the respiratory organs.

Thanks to its antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties, it combats coughs and colds caused by pathogens.

The antispasmodic property helps against spasms when coughing, which makes the plant also effective against whooping cough, chesty cough and asthma.

In addition, the Breckland thyme loosens mucus, which makes it easier to cough it up.


The wild thyme stimulates the entire digestion. Therefore, it is also suitable as a spice for dishes that are difficult to digest.

It can also help with flatulence and heartburn.


Especially folk medicine considers the wild thyme to be a womens herb. Due to its antispasmodic properties, it can relieve menstrual cramps. It can also promote menstruation and regulate the menstrual cycle.

Birth can be made easier with the herb. Breckland thyme and other “bedstraw” herbs used to be stuffed into the mattresses of women who had recently given birth to make the time after birth and the start of life easier for the baby.


Breckland thyme should not be used in large quantities during pregnancy.

Nervous system

The wild thyme is also considered a medicinal plant for the nervous system. It is said to be able to alleviate insomnia. In the past it was also used against epilepsy.

Tea made of Breckland thyme

For coughs, digestive problems, gynaecological disorders and nervous weakness, the Breckland thyme helps best as a tea infusion. To do this, put a teaspoon of the herb in a cup and dash with boiling hot water and let it steep for 5 to 10 minutes. The tea can be sweetened with honey to enhance the effect.

Drink this tea in small sips and let the steam of the tea work on you.


Externally, the Breckland thyme can be used against the consequences of small accidents, such as bruises and contusions, and also against wounds and skin inflammation.

A tincture can be prepared and used for embrocations.

Wild thyme tea can be used for baths, washings and compresses.

Breckland thyme can be used for these ailments and diseases


  • asthma
  • bronchitis
  • chesty cough
  • common cold
  • cough
  • cough cramp
  • hoarseness
  • sore throat
  • tracheal catarrh
  • whooping cough

Digestive System

  • diarrhea
  • digestive weakness
  • flatulence
  • halitosis
  • heartburn
  • stomach complaints


  • abdominal diseases
  • menopausal complaints
  • periodic cramps

Nervous System

  • epilepsy
  • insomnia
  • nervous weakness

Locomotor system

  • crushes
  • dislocations
  • joint pain
  • sprains


  • badly healing wounds
  • eczema
  • erysipelas
  • facial Rose
  • inflamed wounds
  • shingles

Medicinal properties

  • antibacterial
  • anti-inflammatory
  • antispasmodic
  • calming
  • expectorant
  • hemostatic
  • sweaty


  • birth easing
  • menstruation-promoting

Side effects

Not known


Ask your doctor or pharmacist. Visiting this page can not replace the visit to the doctor. For serious or unclear complaints, consult your doctor.

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