The diminutive and tiny Elfin Thyme

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Thymus serphyllum ‘Elfin’ or Elfin thyme is without a doubt the most perfect thyme to plant in pathways, patios and as a thyme lawn.


The very fine, compact growth of medium green tiny leaves is covered in pink blooms for about three weeks at the end of June or into July. The way the growth appears like scales, on this extremely low-to-the-ground variety is unique.

This is a very pretty plant, seldom bothered by die-back or diseases.

I plant it specifically to attract bees because of the huge quantities of wild pollinators and domestic honeybees that come for the nectar it produces in abundance. Not to mention its cuteness.

The honey made from all kinds of thyme is sought after by the connoisseur.

Pruned back to control the growth just encourages it to grow thicker than ever. I love the texture of Elfin thyme, like a rough carpet to wriggle your toes in.

One of my favorite uses for this variety of thyme is planted around stone steps; it fills in quickly and cascades down to cover the sides to soften them.

Two years ago, I pulled up generous clumps from an established planting and gave them to the Stairway to Heaven.

This year, they are all blooming and filling in nicely.

The perfect time to do this is if a good rainy spell is in the forecast as hot and dry weather can put an end to them quickly.

How to Grow Elfin Thyme


Plant in very well drained soil; if you have clay soil, add some turkey grit or small gravel for extra drainage. Don’t plant it under eaves or where it will get winter wet, and don’t use salt based de-icers as this will kill it.

Grown in full sun or at least four to six hours of sun will give it compact flat growth. A slightly mounding growth habit will result from lower sun exposure.

As a named variety, Elfin thyme is only reproduced by vegetative propagation, as if it’s seed propagated it won’t always come true.