Gardening Q&A: How can I keep my thyme alive?

The experts at the RHS answer your gardening questions...

Question: I love growing different kinds of thyme for cooking but the plants always suffer over winter and usually die. Can you give me some tips for getting them to last so I don't have to keep replacing them?

Answer: Thyme doesn't mind most winter temperatures, especially in cities and towns, but its main enemy is winter wet. A well-drained soil is vital. If you are growing thymes in containers, make sure they have drainage holes in the bottom. Choose a John Innes No 2 compost and mix in 25% horticultural grit or perlite. They are not particularly long-lived plants; they can become woody or sparse, but should last two or three years. You can take cuttings 5-8cm long at this time of year, so you'll always have a supply of young plants coming in. If you grow common thyme, you can sow seed now in a well-drained compost on a sunny windowsill.

Send your questions for the RHS to: expertgardeningadvice@gmail.com.

Only a few questions per month can be answered. For further advice on handling problems in your garden, visit www.rhs.org.uk/advice.


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