How to Grow Oregano (origanum vulgare)
- Plant: perennial,
- Hardy to -30°C
- Height: 60-80cm
- Soil: average, well drained
- Exposure: sun
- Propagation: seeds, cuttings
Oregano—also known as wild marjoram—is closely related to sweet
marjoram. It also is a perennial and grows to about 60-80cm. The leaves
are rounded and come to a blunt point at the tip, but often are larger
and coarser than those of sweet marjoram and have a darker green color.
Small, purplish pink blossoms grow at the ends of the stems. Oregano is
shrubby and tends to spread by invasive underground stems.
There is a legend that describes the origin of oregano. A young
servant to Cinyras, the king of Cyprus, was carrying a large vessel,
full of valuable perfume which the king was particularly fond of.
Accidentally, he dropped the container, spilling its contents. He was so
afraid of what his punishment would be that he fainted, and, while lying
unconscious on the ground where the oil had spilled, he was
metamorphosed into the oregano plant.
Oregano grows in well drained, good garden soil where plants receive
full sun. It requires routine watering. Like sweet marjoram, the flowers
should be kept cut back to encourage bushiness and thick foliage. It
makes a good container plant but should be replaced about every 3 years
when it becomes woody. Grow new plants from seeds or by dividing an
The leaves have a sharper flavor than sweet marjoram and taste a little
of thyme. Use them fresh or dried in the same foods you would marjoram
or thyme, especially Italian and Spanish or Mexican dishes.
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