Native Thyme, or Cut-leaf Mint Bush is an Australian native plant, an aromatic shrub with edible leaves. Here’s how to grow it, eat it and drink it.
Native Thyme, (Prostanthera incisa) is an Australian native plant originally used as a medicinal herb. Also known as Cut-leaf Mint Bush, the perennial plant grows as a shrub reaching up to 1.5 to 2 metres high and wide. It’s commonly found along the NSW coast and around the Central Tablelands.
How to Grow Native Thyme / Cut-leaf Mint Bush
Native Thyme is fast growing in full sun or part-shade. It can be grown from seed but admittedly they are not easy to find. I bought a little plant from an indigenous nursery and I’m growing it in a small pot for the time being until I move it to a more permanent location.
In spring, the evergreen shrub forms bursts of purple flowers. Water well during the summer months but make sure it is not waterlogged to avoid root rot.
As a low maintenance herb, it only needs to be pruned to keep it tidy. The leaves can be harvested by either taking a cutting of a stalk or plucking the leaves off the plant.
Although it’s called native thyme, the herb has a minty quality and peppery flavour which make it well suited to season meats, chicken and fish as well as native Australian meats such as kangaroo and emu. As a versatile herb, use it in marinades, breads, pizza, pasta, BBQ meats and as a substitute for garden thyme or to give dishes a peppery and slightly minty flavour.
Native Thyme leaves can be steeped in hot water to make a tea, or even used in combination with other herbs such as lemon balm. We like to use it in frozen cocktails and slushies such as the Sloe Gin and Blueberry Slushie with Native Thyme, where you can find the full recipe on our sister website, Cocktails & Bars.
NATIVE THYME GROWING GUIDE AT A GLANCE
For temperate climate (Sydney, Australia)
- Sowing Season: n/a
- Sowing Method: seed, seedling
- Position: full sun or part shade
- Seed Preparation: n/a
- Soil: well draining soil
- Sowing Depth: n/a
- Plant Spacing: 80cm
- Row Spacing: n/a
- Plant Height: 1.5-2m
- Germination: n/a
- Time to Maturity/Harvest: n/a
- Water Requirements: keep moist but not overlogged
- Fertiliser Requirements: occasional liquid fertiliser
- Companion Planting: n/a
- Ones to Avoid: n/a
- Succession Planting: n/a
Want to Know More?
You’ll find more information on how to grow native thyme, how to pair it with food and spirits, and how to use it in cocktails including a full recipe in my 260+ page digital book GROW YOUR OWN COCKTAIL GARDEN available now.
You may also like… Australian Native Herb Butter