How Much Sun Does Thyme Need?

Whether you’re looking to grow a few pots of thyme or an entire herb garden, it’s important to understand how much sun thyme needs. The following guide will provide some tips on how much sun your herb plants need and what happens if they don’t get enough sunlight.

How Much Sun Does Thyme Need?

Thyme is a temperate-zone perennial herb that thrives in full sunlight. It can be grown in the shade but the plant will be more susceptible to disease and insect attacks. Thyme grows best when it receives at least 6 hours of sunlight per day and prefers a location that is protected from strong wind.

Does Thyme Prefer Full Sun?

Yes. Thyme does well in full sun, but it can also tolerate partial shade and even extreme shade. In fact, many varieties of thyme can survive long periods without any sunlight at all.

However, these plants need a lot of water to stay healthy in low light conditions, so you should make sure they get enough water regardless of their light level preferences.

Thyme doesn’t do very well with direct afternoon sun because the heat may burn its leaves if they’re not protected by other plants or structures (such as a trellis). You might want to keep your thyme out of direct midday light if possible; otherwise, just make sure that you provide plenty of water for it so that it doesn’t dry out!

Can Thyme Grow in Shade?

Thyme is a perennial herb that can grow in either sun or shade. If you have one of these plants, you want to be sure that you give it the right amount of light. Here are some tips:

  • Most thyme varieties require full sun to thrive and produce flowers. However, if your thyme plant is in a spot with only partial sun, it will still grow well there as long as there isn’t too much shade (more on this in the next section).
  • Thyme grows best in full sun but will do fine with a part shade too—just don’t let it get too shaded out by other plants!
  • If you’re trying to decide if your thyme plant needs more or less sun, look at the leaves. If they are green and healthy-looking, it’s doing well in their current location. If your thyme has yellowing leaves or brown edges, move it into more sun for a few weeks before deciding whether to give it more or less light.

Where Does Thyme Grow Best?

Thyme will grow well in USDA zones 5 to 8. It prefers full sun or partial shade, but it can also be grown indoors. Having a fairly fast growth rate, thyme is an ideal plant for container gardening and slopes. The soil should be well-drained, so make sure you have the drainage holes at the bottom of your containers open for proper drainage.

Thyme does best in sandy soil that is high in organic matter. It can tolerate a wide range of pH, so if you have soil that is too acidic or alkaline, it may still grow well. Thyme doesn’t like compacted soil, so make sure to break up any hard soil clumps before planting.

Can Thyme Get Too Much Sun?

There is a difference between “not liking” and “being harmed by.” Thyme will not be harmed by full sun. In fact, it may grow quickly in this environment. To avoid burning the leaves, however, you might want to consider planting thyme in a place that receives partial shade during some portion of the day.

Some people choose to grow their thyme indoors or under glass so they can extend the growing season and control conditions more precisely. This is easy enough if you have ample space for containers inside your home; otherwise, you may prefer to stick with an outdoor bed where you don’t need any special equipment beyond what’s already present on your patio area or balcony (or wherever else).

What Happens if Thyme Doesn’t Get Enough Sun?

If thyme doesn’t receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, it can become stressed and stop growing. It will also be smaller and have less flavor than if it had been exposed to more sun. Thyme, like most herbs, prefers to grow in very sunny areas.

Full shade will make your plants small and misshapen. Partial shade—in which the plant gets some but not all of the required amount of sunlight—can lead to a large plant that produces fewer leaves than one grown in full sun would have produced.


Thyme is a hardy plant and it can tolerate drought, but it prefers to be watered regularly. It likes full sun but will do well in partial shade as long as the soil is kept moist. Thyme is also perennial, which means that once you have established a healthy thyme garden, it will keep coming back every year!

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