I am planning on harvesting my thyme. The thyme plants, 7 week-old since planting (seed pod going in a hydroponic system), are short and tiny compared to other herbs. I'd like to harvest some sprigs and still allow the rest to grow. Where/how should I cut? Should I pinch off whole stems where they branch off or should I keep some vital parts for regrowth?


Please see photo below. Don't mind the basil behind. I know the thyme is being overpowered...


  • 1
    Pictures, please?
    – Stephie
    Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 4:09
  • 1
    hydroponic for thyme? Thyme likes dry soils to get better and full scent. But as Stephie wrote: we need a picture to see how large, healthy and how many branches the plant has. Few branches should be ok, but you used the word "harvest", so it seems you want to collect more than just for "today" meal. Is it right? Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 9:52
  • @GiacomoCatenazzi It actually came as a seed pod with the amateurish hydroponic system I got from Amazon. Total rookie here, so I am learning to make it healthier. I actually just plan on harvesting for a curry dish I am cooking tonight. Two servings and recipe says "several sprigs"...
    – Eddie Kal
    Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 15:59
  • 1
    Cook here: If you took all of your thyme, that would be what “a few sprigs” are in a recipe. Especially if they are as thin and lanky as yours.
    – Stephie
    Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 16:52
  • 1
    Wait? Seven weeks from seed isn’t much. And I second @GiacomoCatenazzi: Thyme wants sun, warmth and not too much water for full aroma.
    – Stephie
    Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 17:00

1 Answer 1


Ordinarily the answer to your question would be that you need to cut or pinch off all the long stems, immediately above a bud (or pair of leaves). Assuming that the longest of these stems are about 5" tall, I would leave 1.5" to 2" on the plant. The reason for doing this is to encourage the plant to develop more of a bushy habit, which will give you more, shorter, tender stems instead of fewer, longer and more woody stems. However in your case it looks like maybe the thyme is growing a bit lanky because it's being shaded by the basil, which could mean it won't grow bushy because it will always be seeking out the light.

As has been pointed out, thyme is a slightly odd companion for basil and other such annual herbs. It would be better grown alongside other perennial, oily herbs like rosemary and sage, which prefer dryer conditions.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.