Oregano prefers a sunny spot; however, in zone 7 and farther south, it benefits from a little afternoon shade.Rich, nutrient-filled soil is the foundation of a great harvest, but your plants will eventually use up those nutrients and you’ll need to replace them.So, for best results, you’ll also want to feed oregano with Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® Edibles Plant Nutrition throughout the growing season (follow the directions on the label).Oregano spreads easily; in late spring, cut it back to one-third of its size in order to make the plant bushier.To ensure you have fresh oregano at your fingertips year-round, another great option is to grow it indoors in a water-based (aka hydroponic) system. .
How to Grow Oregano
and cultivars Common Name Oregano Plant Type Perennial herb Mature Size 2 feet tall, 18-inch spread Sun Exposure Full sun to part shade Soil Type Dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil Soil pH 6.5 to 7.0 (slightly acidic to neutral) Bloom Time Summer Flower Color Pink, purple, and white Hardiness Zones 4 to 10 (USDA); depends on species Native Area Eurasia, Mediterranean.Local nurseries will usually carry the most popular kitchen herbs, while catalogs tend to offer the widest variety of oregano plants.Oregano is one of those Mediterranean herbs that grow well in full sun, planted in lean-to-average soil that is well-drained.Covering the plants with an evergreen bough after the ground has frozen will protect it from wind damage.Large amounts of nutrients, such as nitrogen, can change the flavor of this herb.Marjoram is a type of oregano with a less pungent, sweeter taste, often used in French and English cooking.( The variety usually used in Mediterranean cooking, this is the type most people associate with oregano flavor.Oregano needs regular pinching back, beginning when the plant is only about 4 inches tall.Pinching back the growing tips will make the plants bush out and prevent leggy, straggly growth.As the plant grows larger, this pinch-back ritual should be a weekly affair; any growth you are not using for cooking or drying can be discarded.You can begin harvesting when plants have reached 4 to 5 inches in height, cut sprigs for use.Though it is perennial, oregano is well-suited to growing in pots, either as indoor plants or on a deck or patio.Some growers find that adding a good amount of perlite, vermiculite, or sand to a peat-based potting soil gives the best results.In early spring or fall, divide plants into segments when the centers begin to die out or the stems become too woody.In cold-winter climates, cut back the stems of the oregano plant after the first frost kills the foliage.Leave a short umbrella of stems to protect the root ball, Cover the ground with 3 to 4 inches of dry mulch for the winter.Although it is grown predominately as a culinary herb, oregano makes a nice edging plant and ground cover, requiring little maintenance.Bees love oregano flowers and will cover the plants as they take up nectar and pollen.Beekeepers purposefully plant oregano near apiaries because it adds a wonderful flavor to honey made by oregano-eating bees. .
How to Plant and Grow Oregano
A staple of Italian-American cooking, oregano is found in everything from pizza and grilled meats to salad dressings and sauces, with delicious results.In fact, we like it so much that, according to some sources, Americans consume more than 14 million pounds of this tasty herb every year.Small, edible blooms in pink, lavender, or white form on spikes in mid- to late summer.And Cuban oregano, Plectranthus amboinicus, is a member of the mint family, with a distinctive camphor, or menthol-like aroma.Italian cultivars sold commercially are often hybrid crosses between O. vulgare and O. majoricum, resulting in a mild, less bold flavor than the Greek type.In ancient Greece, the aromatic herb was described as “joy of the mountain,” and said to have been created by the goddess Aphrodite.Interestingly, oregano did not find huge popularity in the United States until soldiers stationed in Italy returned from World War II and brought back a taste for the herb they’d come to love in pizza sauce.You can also start seeds indoors at any time of the year, provided you’ve got a sunny location, or a grow light.In the spring, use a sharp knife or garden shears to cut four- to five-inch pieces of softwood stem at a 45-degree angle.Simply dig up an existing plant and cut it through the root ball into two or more sections, then replant the divisions in pots or a different area of your garden.So even if you don’t plan to make pizza sauce every night, be sure to trim it regularly throughout spring and summer to encourage bushy growth.If you want more control over this than you would if you simply allowed the birds and the wind to handle the reseeding for you, collect the seed heads when they are completely dry, shake them into a paper bag or envelope, and store them in a cool, dark place until you’re ready to plant.Use blasts of water or insecticidal soap to get rid of these tiny, soft-bodied, pear-shaped pests that suck the life out of plants.They cause mottled leaves that turn yellow or brown and wilting foliage, stunting growth, and potentially even killing your plants.Though these miniature bugs are so tiny you may not be able to see them clearly with the naked eye, you will probably notice little webs dotted with white specks if you have an infestation.This disease can cause new shoots to be pale, and large areas of leaf tissue can die and drop.If an arctic blast is nigh, and you must harvest or abandon your crops, cut your plants back to the ground and bring the stems indoors to dry.If you don’t, check out this guide to the best dehydrators on the market today on our sister site, Foodal.Place a perforated paper bag over the bunches to catch any bits that fall off, and to keep dust off the leaves.Store the dried leaves in an airtight plastic or glass container in a cool, dark location.This is an easy way to add a touch of flavor to salad dressings, to drizzle on bread, or even to share the fruits of your harvest with friends.The flavor of oregano matches particularly well with that of garlic and fresh tomato, and the three are heavily relied upon in Italian cooking, presumably since the time when the herb first made the short hop across the Ionian Sea from Greece to Italy.So, let’s start our culinary enjoyment of oregano with grilled eggplant rollatini with lemony herbed ricotta, from our sister site, Foodal.Continuing our tour of the Mediterranean, let’s move to Greece next with this recipe for chicken gyros with tomato salad and feta, also from Foodal.Plant Type: Perennial herb Tolerance: Drought, heat Native to: Mediterranean and Middle East Water Needs: Moderate Hardiness (USDA Zone): 5-10 Maintenance: Moderate Season: Summer Soil Type: Average Exposure: Full sun Soil pH: 4.5-8.7 Time to Maturity: 45 days Soil Drainage: Well-draining Growth Rate: Average Attracts: Flowers attract bees Spacing: Single plants: 7 inches; row: 5 inches with a 9-inch row gap Companion Planting: Broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, squash, tomatoes Planting Depth: Seeds: surface sow under light scattering of soil; transplants: same depth as container Family: Lamiaceae Height: 12-24 inches Genus: Origanum Spread: 18-24 inches Species: vulgare Common Pests: Aphids, leafminers, spider mites Common Disease: Mint rust. .
How to Grow Oregano from seeds
This herb dries well, and retains its strong flavour and aroma if stored in an airtight container.The instructions on how to grow oregano from seed that follow provide some useful tips and tricks.Use bottom heat to achieve a constant soil temperature of 15°C (60°F) for best results.Prepare containers or plug trays using sterilized seed starting mix, and water the soil.Pot on as necessary or transplant to the garden in late spring to early summer.Cut plants back after flowering to prevent them from getting straggly.Store dried leaves or whole stalks in air tight containers away from bright light.Oregano is particularly good for repelling cabbage moths, and it can be planted between rows of Brassicas for this purpose. .
Starting a herb garden
Firm favourites include: basil, rosemary, mint, parsley, coriander, lavender, thyme, sage and oregano.Some herbs (like basil, chives, lemongrass, parsley and thyme) do best when they are bought as seeds.It's best to buy other herbs like mint, rosemaryand tarragon as actual plants.Spacing your herbs the correct distance apart is also important, as overcrowded plants will go hungry.Herbs in general do not need a lot of space, one square metre is enough for about ten plants.If you choose to plant your herbs in a container, make sure it has at least one hole in the bottom.The lime juice acts as a catalyst that will help the herbs make the most of the soil's nutrients.Growing your herb garden in a big pot is a good idea, because then you can bring it inside in the winter and you can move it around to get the most sun.Herbs need as much sun as possible in order to reach their full capacity for flavour and fragrance.The rule of the green thumb is for the herbs to get a minimum of four to seven hours of direct sun per day.If this is not possible, your herbs will still grow, but they might be a bit scraggly and disease prone, so give them a little extra attention.Use fresh basil in salads or liquidise them with pine nuts for pesto.Sprinkle fresh basil on pizzas Handy tips: pinch the centres as plants grow to encourage bushiness.Uses: the seeds and leaves can be used in curries, soups and stews or as a stuffing for chicken.Uses: dried leaves and flowers can be used in potpourris, cosmetics or in netting sachets to keep your linen smelling fresh.Handy tips: before the last flowers have opened, cut stems and hang in bunches upside down in a warm airy place.Once dry, remove the leaves and flowers and store them in an airtight jar.Lavender flowers are very fragrant and the herb can be used as an attractive landscape plant as well.Fresh or dried leaves add flavour to soups, stews and pasta sauces.Sprinkle over pizzas, salads, vegetables and meat or fish dishes.Handy tips: pick fresh leaves whenever you need them or cut stems just before the plant is in full flower.Dry them on a wire rack in a airy place then pick off the leaves and keep them in an airtight container.Uses: fresh leaves can be used in soups, stews and sauces, or as garnishing on almost any dish.Handy tips: Soak seeds for 48 hours to speed up germination.Handy tips: don't worry if it doesn't grow straight away, germination is often erratic.Location: tolerates poor, dry soil and grows well indoors.Also a great stuffing for chicken or a flavouring for salads and roast vegetables.Handy tips: pinch back new growth to encourage bushiness.Other useful herbs to grow are aloe vera, comfrey, feverfew, lemon balm, marigold and rosemary. .