The Q&A Archives: Extra Tiny Creeping Thyme

Question: I have seen a tiny creeping thyme (I believe that is what it is) only about 1/4 inch tall that I would like to plant between flagstones on a path. Would you tell me the variety's botanical name and if possible a source of the seeds or plants. I can get no satisfaction from local nurseries or normal seed catalogues for a variety as small as that.

Answer: There are several creeping thymes that meet that description. In my garden I grow one supposedly called "Elfin" and another called "Minimus" but in my experience there are several meeting that description and they are all sold or passed along under a variety of names. In any case the foliage stays tight to the ground at about a quarter inch or so but the blooms might be a scant inch high if that. In order to be assured of the type of plant you want you need to purchase plants rather than seeds and you will probably need to order them from an herb specialist such as Richter's (they offer a Thymus.praecox spp. articus 'Minor' which sounds like a good possibility) or an ornamental/perennial specialist with a good selection of thymes such as Caroll Gardens (they offer a T.serpyllum 'Minus' which also sounds like a good possibility)(1-800-638-6334). With a little trial and error you are bound to find one you like. Do keep in mind that thyme stays smallest under somewhat harsh growing conditions -- in overly rich soil or in lower light levels it will grow bigger and softer than normal. Good luck with your search!

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