Oregano, Wild Marjoram
The perfect herb for hungry gardeners who love a taste of the Mediterranean.
Super easy and super tasty, oregano is a must for anyone who loves growing and cooking. All it demands is a sunny spot, and it will give you an abundant supply of fresh, delicious leaves for months on end. Its uplifting, slightly spicy scent and taste brings life to pasta dishes, anything with tomatoes in it, and many meats (especially lamb). And, of course, pizza - even a few crushed leaves and a slug of olive oil is enough to liven up even the dullest shop-bought pizza. Although it could be seen as a quintessential Mediterranean herb, oregano is actually a British native, and grows well in gardens with very little care. Bees and butterflies love it too - it regularly comes towards the top of the charts whenever research is done into which plants are best for our pollinating insects.
Oregano is a delight in so many ways whether in the garden or the kitchen. Grow it and you won't be disappointed.
Please note that the pot in the photograph is for illustrative purposes only and is not supplied with the plant.
Plant Type: Herb
Hardiness: H6 Hardy. Minimum temperature -20 to -15.
Plant Height & Spread (at maturity): H 35cm x W 45cm (Mature age: 2 Years)
Foliage Colour: Green
Flower Colour: Pink
Fragrant Flower: No
Aromatic Foliage: Yes
RHS Award of Garden Merit: No
RHS Perfect for Pollinators: Yes
Foliage Type: Deciduous
Soil Type: Acid, Alkaline, Sandy, Chalky, Loam
Soil Drainage: Well Drained, Dry
Light Exposure: Full Sun
Planting Style: Mediterranean Garden, Rock Garden, Gravel & Drought Resistant Garden, Flower Beds & Borders, Border Edging, Coastal Garden, Cottage Garden, Informal Garden, Urban Garden, Courtyard Garden, Banks & Slopes
Season of Interest: Spring, Summer, Autumn
Flowering (from - to): July - September
Harvesting (from - to): May - September
Harvesting Instructions: Oregano dries beautifully, preserving all of its delicious flavour. In fact, some cooks even prefer dried to fresh as it's more concentrated. The optimum time to harvest is in late spring and early summer, before plants have flowered. Flowering doesn't spoil the flavour, it just makes the plants slightly less leafy - you can harvest oregano at any time that there is leaf visible above the soil surface, although the flavour and aroma is best in early to mid summer. As the plant grows from a creeping rootstock, you can cut chunks out as you please, without worrying too much about spoiling the shape of the plant. Cut off the leafy stalks with scissors, and lay out to dry in a warm, dry place such as an airing cupboard, ideally out of direct sunlight. Turn them occasionally and once they're so dry they're crispy, store them in an airtight container.
Give oregano the sunniest spot you can. It will sulk in the shade, and it hates getting its feet wet, so give it the warmest, driest spot in the garden.
Water only to get it established - once it has established you really don't need to water it at all, unless it's in a container. Feeding isn't really necessary either - giving plants too much feed will give you loads of lush leafy growth that's rather short on flavour.
Pruning is simple - cut everything to the base once flowering has finished in autumn - or, if you like the look of the flower heads, leave them through the winter to give some structure, and cut back in early spring.
Oregano can easily be divided if you want to make more plants - perhaps for a wildlife garden or to use in beds and borders as well as in the herb garden, seeing as it's so pretty. Simply dig up and pull the plants apart, replanting the pieces slightly deeper than they were before.