Thyme, Pepolino - Thymus vulgaris

Thyme, Pepolino - Thymus vulgaris

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Thyme in the flower beds

In addition to being a very well known, used and cultivated aromatic, vulgaris is also grown in the garden as an ornamental plant; produces small roundish cushions, with erect stems, arranged to form a dense crown, with small oval or lanceolate leaves, dark green, light green, gray green. Some species have greyish foliage due to the thin hair that covers it. In late spring or in summer it produces innumerable small flowers, which bloom at the apex of the branches, at the leaf axil; they are lilac or pink, but there are species with white or purple flowers.
The perfume of the type depends on the species, the thymus vulgaris and the thymus serpillum produce foliage with intense scent of thyme, a delicate and pleasant aroma; thymus cytriodora also contains geraniol and other essential oils, which give the foliage an intense lemon aroma.
Thyme species are all plants of Mediterranean origin, there are also hybrid varieties, with particular characteristics, such as variegated foliage, large flowers or compactness in development.

How to grow it

The pepolino It is a well rustic and resistant plant; it easily supports short periods of drought and frost. It fears excessively intense frost and for prolonged periods, strong winter humidity and very prolonged summer drought.
it is generally planted in the garden, in the flowerbed of aromatic herbs, or even in the flower beds of perennial flowers or in the rock garden, where the elegant foliage and the very prolonged flowering make the thymus or pepolino a protagonist.
In general it prefers soft and fresh soils, well drained motion, as the excesses of watering can lead to a rapid deterioration of the plant.
From March to September he prefers to be watered when the soil is very dry, especially if the climate is very hot; in the cold months we can avoid watering, and it can often be a good idea to cover specimens exposed to the elements with a non-woven fabric, especially in areas with a very harsh winter climate.

Growing tips

In spring we spread on the ground around the plants some slow release granular fertilizer, which will guarantee the right level of mineral salts throughout the summer.
Thyme tufts are generally pruned by about half or a third, at the end of winter, to encourage the development of new stems and to remove the branches ruined by cold and weather; in fact often the thyme, even though it is an evergreen plant, tends to lose its foliage when the climate is not ideal, therefore in case of water stagnation or prolonged drought.
By pruning the clumps in this way, the lower part of the plant is also prevented from lignifying, thus preventing it from stripping off the foliage, lengthening excessively in height.
Often, to always have tender and green stems, and luxuriant foliage, we tend to periodically replace small pepolino plants with new plants; actually if watered in spring, and pruned at the end of winter, the small pepolino plants can stay at home for many years, giving new luxuriant vegetation every year.

Thyme, Pepolino - Thymus vulgaris: The merits of thyme

Besides being a beautiful plant, elegant and compact, thymus vulgaris is widely used in the kitchen, where its intense aroma accompanies meat, fish and vegetables; it is used fresh, but also dried, taking the leaves before flowering, but also the flowers, which are dried in the sun; the dried thyme is preserved for months, continuously giving off its particular aroma. This small plant is also used in herbal medicine, as thymol, the essential oil of which it is rich, is an excellent antiseptic, used in herbal teas or even in decoctions, against asthma and urinary tract infections.
Thymus vulgaris oil was once used also by conventional medicine, to produce disinfectants, or even in digestive tablets and toothpastes.