Marjoram (Origanum majorana) is a perennial herb usually grown as an annual for the fragrant foliage which is used to flavor dressings and meat dishes. The tops of the plants are usually cut as they start to flower and are best dried slowly in full shade. The herb has what are described as a blend of sweet pine and citrus flavors. Marjoram is frequently used in herb blends such as herbes de Provence.
Marjoram originates in the Mediterranean region of the world and was admired by Greeks and Romans as a universal symbol of happiness. Marjoram is considered a tender perennial, yet has proven hardy even in Zone 5.
Growing the Herb Sweet Marjoram
Sweet Marjoram will grow well in any fertile, well-drained and loamy garden soil. Since the seed is very small, it is best sown in flats in the greenhouse and the seedlings transplanted outside after all danger of frost has passed.
Outdoors, in containers, and hydroponic cultures.
Marjoram usually grows to a height of 24 to 36 inches (60 – 90cm).
Marjoram plants should be spaced between 15 and 18 inches (38 – 45 cm) apart.
Preferred pH Range
Marjoram will grow in a relatively wide pH range between 6.1 (mildly acidic) and 8.5 (alkaline) with a preferred range between 6.5 and 7.5.
From seed, sow indoors six weeks before last frost; or direct sow in fall; or winter sow in coldframe or unheated greenhouse. Propagates well through softwood and semi-hardwood cuttings. Propagates well through rootball division.
Seed Germination Period
Sweet marjoram seeds will germinate in approximately 8 to 14 days.
Number of Seeds per Gram
There are approximately 3,500 Marjoram seeds per gram.
Marjoram prefers a rich, loamy, well-drained soil.
Alternative Growing Media
Soilless potting mixes (Pro-Mix, Sunshine Mix, etc.), perlite, vermiculite, coco peat, rockwool, and Oasis cubes.
Time From Seed to Saleable Plant
Seeds to finished plugs, 6 weeks. Plugs to saleable plant, 2 to 4 weeks.
Sun & Lighting Requirements
Marjoram grown outdoors prefers full sun.
Marjoram will grow indoors satisfactorily under high output T5 fluorescent plant lights, compact fluorescent, or high intensity discharge (metal halide or high pressure sodium) plant growing lights. Keep 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.
Perennial. Zones 6b to 11.
Water regularly, being careful not to overwater. Allow soil to go almost dry between watering, then soak thoroughly.
Potential Plant Pests and Diseases
Marjoram can be susceptible to whitefly, spider mites, and thrips, but has minimal disease issues.
Marjoram is known to attract bees, butterflies and birds. Evergreen. Aromatic foliage. Suitable for containers.