Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:31 pm
Thyme is a valuable kitchen herb, not only in Mediterranean cuisine. Both the leaves and the flowers of this aromatic herb are edible. But what happens when the thyme blooms?
- thyme flowers do not need to be cut off
- the herb can be used before, during and after flowering
- flowering time varies depending on the variety, earliest flowering from May onwards
- aroma is most intense before flowering
- for preservation shoots better cut before flowering
When thyme blooms
Thyme (Thymus), also known as quender, can be harvested almost year-round, whether it is in bloom or not. Both the shoots including leaves and the small pink or purple inflorescences are usable.
- most varieties bloom between June and July
- some even in August
- depending on location and weather conditions even until October
- edible with and during flowering without problems
- blooming thyme neither inedible nor poisonous
- aroma is not as intense as before flowering
- content of essential oils decreases with flowering
- flowers and leaves also dried still good seasoning herb
Accordingly, this culinary herb can still be harvested without any problems and, if necessary, dried when it is already in bloom. Then, for example, it can be used well as a seasoning herb or to garnish dishes. Thyme flowers are always best used fresh or dried accordingly.
Tip: It is best to choose a dry and sunny day for harvesting. The best time of day is midday, the flowers are open and the sun provides an intense aroma.
Cut before the beginning of flowering
If you cut thyme in spring just before or at the beginning of flowering, it is most aromatic, as already mentioned. This is especially important if you want to dry or otherwise preserve the herb. In this case, pruning before flowering is useful. In doing so, you can cut it down by up to two-thirds without any problems, but without cutting into already woody parts, because here it will not sprout again.
After cutting, you can bundle the crop into small bunches and hang them to dry in a dark, dry and well-ventilated place. Within eight to ten days it will be dried and can be stored accordingly.
Missed the bloom?
Whether or not you cut off the thyme flowers, thyme can and should be pruned regularly. If this is not done, the shrubs will become more and more barren and soon will not produce any significant yields. If the time before flowering was missed, you should make up for it immediately after flowering.
- cut off wilted and withered shoots immediately after flowering
- leave healthy shoots
- the plant will be able to put more energy into the herb
- in no case cut off too much
- do not cut at all from August onwards
- do not fertilize anymore
- everything else would affect winter hardiness
If you wait too long with the cut, this would encourage the plants to form new shoots again. This, in turn, would lead to the fact that these fresh shoots can not mature in time before winter and usually freeze. In addition, the resulting wounds can no longer heal. Due to this, radical pruning before flowering makes the most sense. If in doubt, it is better to wait until spring.
Tip: If, despite everything, you still want to harvest or cut thyme in the fall, you should limit yourself to a few herbaceous tops.
Frequently asked questions
How can you use the thyme flowers?
On the one hand, they offer themselves as edible decoration for breads, salads and other dishes and on the other hand, you can pickle them together with leaves, for example, in vinegar, oil or honey and thus make your own thyme oil or a delicious thyme honey. In addition, the flowering herb also makes a very aromatic and also healthy tea.
When should you harvest the flowers in particular?
Blossoms are best harvested close to the time of serving, because they wither quite quickly. Usually, however, you harvest not only the flowers, which, by the way, are very small, but small flowering branches, they are particularly decorative.
Is it useful to leave some thyme flowers to form seeds?
Of course, this is possible, but not worthwhile, especially for sowing, because thyme self-seeds and is much easier to propagate by cuttings. However, the seeds are edible, so it may make sense to leave some flowers. Like the seeds, they are not quite as aromatic as the leaves. In addition, thyme flowers are a popular bee pasture, so you are also doing something good for the insects.