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How To Grow Oregano

Origanum vulgare

Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

Also known as Pot Marjoram, Origanum vulgare is a perennial herb and a native of the Mediterranean region. The plant grows in the garden or in containers to over two feet tall and has oval grayish-green leaves that are frequently used in pizza, spaghetti and marinara sauces, plus many other Italian dishes. It also complements beef or lamb stews, gravies, salads, soups, even tomato juice. It's small flowers can be lilac, pink, purple, or white.

Possessing medicinal properties dating back centuries, modern herbalists promote many potential health benefits and home-grown remedies derived from this most versatile herb.

Growing the Herb Oregano

Oregano needs only a moderately fertile soil to thrive in, though drainage and friability are important. Plant outdoors 12 inches apart after all danger of frost has passed. Plants are easily started from seed, stem cuttings, or mature root division.

Oregano appreciates being hoed regularly and neighboring weeds should be kept under control. Mulching with hay helps keep plants clean outdoors. Oregano lends itself well to container and hydroponic methods of cultivation.

When flowers appear, oregano is ready to be harvested, unless continuous picking of leaves during growth prevents flowering. About six weeks after planting, trim oregano shoots to within one inch of the center which will stimulate lush, bushy growth.

Close-up image of the herb Oregano growing.

Growing Cultures

Outdoors, in containers, and hydroponics.

Plant Height

Oregano usually grows to a height of 12 to 18 inches (30 - 45cm).

Plant Spacing

Oregano plants should be spaced between 12 and 15 inches (30 and 38 cm) apart.

Preferred pH Range

Oregano will grow in a pH range between 6.0 (mildly acid) and 9.0 (strongly alkaline) with a preferred range between 6.0 and 8.0.

Propagation

Sow direct in spring when soil temperature is at least 15 degrees C; or sow in starter cubes or plugs 6 weeks before field planting; or sow indoors six weeks before last frost.

Seed Germination Period

Oregano seeds will germinate in soil in approximately 8 to 14 days, but can germinate in as few as 7 to 10 days in dedicated propagation media such as Oasis Rootcubes, Rapid Rooters, or Grodan Stonewool.

Number of Seeds per Gram

There are between approximately 3,800 and 4,500 oregano seeds per gram.

Soil Requirements

Oregano thrives in well-drained, sandy, and relatively dry soils.

Alternative Growing Media

Soilless potting mixes (Pro-Mix, Sunshine Mix, etc.), perlite, vermiculite, rockwool, coco peat, Oasis Rootcubes.

Time From Seed to Saleable Plant

Seeds to finished plugs in approximately 6 weeks. Plugs to saleable plants in approximately 6 weeks.

Sun & Lighting Requirements

Oregano grown outdoors prefers full sun.

Oregano will grow indoors satisfactorily under standard fluorescent lamps, and exceptionally well under high output T5 fluorescent plant lights, compact fluorescent, or high intensity discharge (metal halide or high pressure sodium) plant growing lights. Keep standard fluorescent lamps between 2 and 4 inches from the tops of the plants, high output and compact fluorescents approximately one foot above the plants, and HID lights between 2 and 4 feet above the plants, depending on wattage.

Have an oscillating fan gently stir seedlings for at least 2 hours per day to stimulate shorter, sturdier, and more natural plant habit.

USDA Hardiness

Perennial. Zones 5a to 9b.

Water Requirements

Water regularly, being careful not to overwater. Allow soil to go completely dry between waterings.

Potential Plant Pests and Diseases

Oregano can be susceptible to whitefly, spider mites, and Powdery mildew.

Companion Planting

Oregano is an excellent companion plant for tomatoes and peppers, as well as many other plants. It is helped when grown with basil. Acts as a repellent of aphids and provides ground cover and humidity for peppers if allowed to spread among the plants.

Special Notes

Oregano is drought tolerant, and suitable for xeriscaping. Suitable for containers.

Buy Oregano Seeds by Botanical Interests

Organic Heirloom Common Oregano Seeds
Use this mild-flavored oregano in pizza sauce, pastas & salsas. Dainty pink blooms add to its beauty as a groundcover.

Heirloom True Greek Oregano Seeds
This culinary oregano jazzes up a multitude of foods - eggs, meats, veggies, and of course, Italian and Greek dishes!