Growing Oregano In The Culinary Garden

Ed Wike
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Quick Care Guide

The perennial herb fern-leaved oregano (Origanum vulgare hirtum) is one of the easiest and most prolific herbs to cultivate in hanging planters and in the ground. It is rich in the chemical carvacrol, which is known to have potent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Both the leaves and flowers are edible. Fertilize oregano with compost and water in dry periods. Although it can withstand dry spells, it does perform best with adequate moisture. The plant will bloom once a year in the summer and will self-seed. Simply snip off the spent flowers or let them drop and enjoy the next generation!

All About Oregano

Growing oregano in the culinary garden is easy. Just remember to cut the plants back throughout the season if you want to maintain a bushy plant. It is best to plant oregano in a well-drained loamy soil in full sun during the summer. You should also use a balanced fertilizer to provide necessary nutrients to the plant.

Oregano is an aromatic herb, which you can use fresh or dried. It is also a perennial and a member of the mint family. It is closely related to marjoram and is sometimes referred to as wild marjoram. Oregano is high in vitamin A, and during the summer, the leaves add a fresh sweet pine-like flavor to your favorite dishes. When using the dried leaves, you need to add several of them or you will not get the full flavor effect. Lay a few leaves on a hot pan and it will release its flavor.

There are two different types of oregano, Greek and Turkish, and they require different growing conditions. There are several varieties of oregano, which you can choose from. There are also some decorative varieties of the oregano plant, which is easy to grow in the culinary garden. They are usually easier to grow than rosemary and should grow in well-drained soil in full sun in climates where the temperature does not get too cold during the winter.

Planting Oregano

A commonly used herb for cooking in Mediterranean and European cuisines, oregano is an easy herb to cultivate in the culinary garden. It should be planted in the spring and summer, when the ground temperature becomes more than fifty degrees Fahrenheit.

Growing oregano in the culinary garden starts with purchasing the herb at a specialty nursery. Buy the most mature plant available, as it is unlikely that the plant will grow any bigger. Many nurseries stock ready-to-plant oregano plants in the spring, but the herb can also be propagated by cuttings in spring and summer.

Soil in the culinary garden for growing oregano should be well-drained, rich in organic matter, and slightly alkaline. The herb grows well in sandy loam and soils with a pH between 7 and 8. Trim the oregano herb back to just an inch or two from the ground when transplanting it from a nursery to the culinary garden.

Oregano can be harvested throughout the summer so long as the plant receives plenty of sunlight and is in a warm environment. The herb should be cut with the stem and a few inches of the stem attached. Cutting more than two or three inches from the base of the herb root can severely hurt the plant. Oregano has an abundance of oil glands in the stems to help it survive having its base cut off.


The oregano plant prefers full sun but will tolerate light shade. Choose a sunny spot for it.

Watering can be a little tricky. Too much water can lead to root rot. Avoid getting water on the foliage. Use a long-spouted watering can. The soil can easily go dry between waterings. During dry periods, water less frequently but for longer periods.

Dampen the soil during the growing season. It is important to keep the roots moist but not soggy. A mulch thick enough to keep the soil moist but not so thick that it stays wet. Avoid watering the foliage. Water it from the ground to the base of the plant. It is very important to get the right balance.

If your oregano plant is on the dryer side, cut the living oregano stems and create a bouquet with the stems. Hang it upside down in a cool room with good air circulation. This will dry it. Then chop the oregano and use it fresh in your recipes.

Pinching or shearing back the oregano plant will make it bushier and more compact.

Sun and Temperature

The best temperatures for growing oregano in the culinary garden include 18 to 21 degrees Celsius during the day with reduced temperatures dropping to 15 degrees at night. The ideal soil temperature in the growing oregano is 20 degrees Celsius to 30 degrees Celsius. The pH should be between 5 and 7.

While growing oregano requires little sunlight, it is an herb that grows better in areas with sunshine. However, over exposure to the sun can cause the leaves of the herb to burn. It is therefore best to plant them in shaded areas where sunlight is not direct.

Growing oregano either in containers or beds allows for the herbs to grow year round. Given the conditions such as soil pH, temperature, light and water, growing oregano is easy, though the chances of having more oregano are reduced if the herbs are harvested regularly during the growing season.

Herbs such as oregano can be grown almost anywhere. Since it does not need large amounts of light and its water needs are not great, it can easily be grown in an average home garden that is limited in area.

Watering and Humidity

Your oregano plant may droop with poor light. If you notice this, move your potted plant closer to the window and the light.

Your plant may not be receiving adequate humidity. If this is the case, most experts suggest supplemental humidity until your plant becomes more established. You can accomplish this by setting your plant on top of an overturned, saucer-sized container filled with water or placing the plant on a pebble-filled tray. This should keep the plant's roots and growing medium moist. If you use the tray method, you will need to place the tray on top of something that elevates it about 10 inches or higher from the surface under it to keep it from getting wet.

Your plant may not be receiving the right amount of water in the soil. If the white roots are not yet visible at the bottom of your plant, it is probably not getting enough water. Next, dig down deeply into the soil and check to see if there is even moisture in the soil or if it has dried out. You should be able to squeeze the soil and have a broken or loose, crumbly consistency. If your soil has dried out, water your plant.


When it comes to growing oregano in the culinary garden, oregano can prosper in many different conditions on three different soil types. It is a very hardy plant and will even survive in fairly rough conditions. However, for the best tasting heirloom oreganos, the best soil is composted, sandy, and very well drained. When it comes to oregano in the culinary garden, make sure there are no crowds of other plants growing around. Crowding will not give the herbs enough sunlight. Oregano can bloom and grow as high as 28 inches. Since oregano likes well draining soil, it is a good idea to give it deeper potting soil and to put stones around the roots to keep them from going down into the roots of larger plants. The stones will also allow for water to drain better. Planting in good soil and plants that are not crowded in the culinary garden will make plants grow 3 times as well as plants in poor quality soil. Oregano will die if there is ever a frost. To keep oregano in good quality, plant in rich soil that is rich with the compost. If the soil is too rich, the heirloom oregano can be susceptible to fungal diseases. Be sure to plant oregano in deeper pots so that excess fertilizer does not go into the soil.


Traditional Italian marinara sauce of fresh-picked Roma tomatoes easily beats the stuff in a jar or can. And the same can be said for fresh oregano, which is strong smelling and tastes of the Mediterranean. When growing oregano in the culinary garden, harvest the leaves anytime from May to September and dry them to use through the colder months. Or, if you have room, you can amend the soil for growing oregano to plant a perennial herb in the garden.

To grow oregano well, soil should be sandy and well drained, rich in organic nutrients (Alfalfa Meal or Blood Meal) and slightly alkaline. Textures in the soil from sand to silt to clay from 1:1 to 1:3 respectively, are ideal. Other considerations are water drainage and sunlight. You should be careful of excessively rich, moist soil as this can cause root rot and create an environment hospitable to pests and disease. This weed thrives in full sun to partial shade in the culinary garden. The Pacific Northwest, Southwest and northern states have ideal growing conditions for oregano.


Eden Organic Oregano is a popular plant used frequently in cooking throughout the country and beyond. Oregano may be one of the most medicinal herbs in the world.

One form of oregano has been found to contain as much as ten times the antioxidant content of red wine. Not only does it have great culinary value, but the plant is also often used in many of the essential oils that are very popular as a health home remedy.

Oregano deserves its place in the culinary garden. Plants may reach 4 feet and produce a few leaves each season. Pruning can ward off the temptation to harvest the top 4 inches of the plant and aid in the production of multiple quantities of leaves.

Here are some tips for growing oregano.

Grow oregano in well-drained, slightly sandy soil. Cultivate and fertilize in late spring. Oregano can struggle with too much water or humidity.

Oregano can be grown from seed or from transplants, planted in late summer or the early fall.

Most herb cuttings are not very hardy. Plants are best started from roots, or from seed.

Oreganos can appear as early as 3 months from transplanting.

When picking leaves, pick no more than one-third of the leaves on any single plant.


There are three main methods of propagating oregano: from cutting, from seeds and from divisions. Growing oregano from one of the three methods and enjoying its benefits for years to come are the ultimate goals of any home gardener.

Propagation from seed is very easy. While indoor growing is tempting to try, the plant is usually harder to grow and to maintain indoors. Outdoor growing is the way to go because there is more control over the growing conditions. Family members and friends also enjoy harvesting and canning oregano to share or to use in their favorite recipes. Growing from seed however, can take upward of two to three years before your plant is big enough to give you the amount of oregano you desire.

Oregano can also be propagated from cuttings taken in the growing season. Don't overlook this method to maximize your taste of oregano. While this method may take a little longer, cuttings are readily available and very simple to grow. Growing oregano from cuttings is the fastest way to get a lot of oregano for your money.

Divisions are the third and most preferred method of growing oregano. Just like cuttings, divisions are readily available every year for an almost instantaneous oregano crop.

Harvesting and Storing

Oregano is an ancient Greek word that is related to the English word, "mountain", because these plants grow and thrive in rocky, mountainous terrain.

These plants are used as a culinary herb, and the leaves are used in most Mediterranean and South American styled dishes.

Oregano grows best in a climate that is hot and dry.

They do not like to be cold or wet.

Oregano is also known as a medicinal herb.

Growing oregano in your culinary garden is a must, because it is hardy and will likely survive any winters.

Oregano can grow either as a perennial or an annual plant.

Annual Oregano is started from seed, because it does not root well from the perennial, so it must be started from seed every year.

Oregano may be used fresh or its flavor is stronger if it is dried.

The flavor of the leaves is much like the flavor of the oregano you would find in most Italian dishes.

Oregano is suggest for use by pregnant women and/or nursing women because of its ability to increase the flow of milk.

Oregano is also used in homemade insect sprays as well.

Oregano will grow to be at least 8 inches tall and will grow to be approximately 1 foot wide.


Oregano is a perennial herb and is often grown in the kitchen herb garden or flower garden. It is native to Europe but has been introduced to many parts of the world. When grown as a perennial, oregano continues to grow and produce leaves throughout the year. When growing oregano, the best time to harvest the leaves is during the late summer months.

It is best to divide the plants once they are fully mature. After doing this, the plant should be divided again in the early summer in order to encourage the growth of new shoots. In colder climates, the plant can be dug up at the beginning of summer and brought indoors. If this is done, place the plant in a pot filled with fresh potting soil. Replant the plants in the garden in the late summer.

When harvesting oregano, it is best to collect the leaves and flowers by hand. Never use the stems. Oregano should be harvested every two to three weeks, on a regular basis, to ensure that the plant continues to produce.


Do your part to use up the herbs you grow and buy in season for your kitchen. If you grow your own, process the herbs in the traditional way and store them for future use. The essential oils found in fresh herbs can fade over time. Your food won’t be as delicious or fragrant. Here is what you can do with the herbs you grow so they retain their flavor and aroma for a long time:

Dried herbs are the most convenient way to use herbs without using a lot of space. You can store your herbs for a long time when they are properly dried. Simply hang them in a dark, dry place with air circulation. Herbs lose moisture through the leaves, which allow the leaves to become dry quickly. You can also dry your herbs in a food dehydrator or in the oven set at the lowest setting possible. Check the leaves often, and remove them when they are brittle. This doesn’t take very long. Keep your herbs in air-tight glass containers or plastic bags.

Fresh herbs can also retain their flavor for a long period of time if you store them properly. Keep the herbs in a glass of water, with the roots submerged. Place them in the refrigerator and make sure that air circulation is good. This can keep the leaves fresh for a month. You can also immerse the herbs in olive oil for oil infusions, vinegar, and other liquids.


If you are growing oregano and you're having problems with it setting seed or growing tall and leggy, please try these tips:

Make sure you're giving it the space it needs! Oregano grows best in full sun, and it does like its space. If you are crunched for room, try planting it near the edge of the lawn, where the grass gets thin.

Make sure you're planting it where it will get enough water! Oregano likes to stay moist, but not soggy.

If you're growing it indoors (or want to try it indoors), move it outside when the danger of frost has passed. You may be able to grow oregano indoors, but it is definitely best grown outside, in a place with lots of direct sunlight.

You may want to pot your oregano. Try it, and if it seems to thrive, you can bring it back in for the cold months.

To help prevent it from going too far, trim the oregano regularly.

Growing Problems

Grow Oregano if you are thinking about growing your own herbs at home. It is a very popular herb throughout the world and can be used in cooking as well as a health herb. However, before you can start using Oregano in your cooking, you need to grow it at home.

Oregano is very easy to grow and it is not a surprise that it is sometimes called Greek Oregano. Use lots of Oregano as they grow well and they will flourish in your garden.

However, if you want to grow Oregano in your garden, you do need to know the factors that influence its growth. Here are a few things that you need to know.

Know What Time of the Year You Should Grow Oregano

Oregano grows and flowers best in the spring and autumn and it does not do well in very hot weather. It grows the best in temperatures between seventy five degrees and eighty degrees. If the temperature goes above eighty five degrees then Oregano will not grow well.


Growing oregano as a culinary herb garden plant is a sure way to obtain endless amounts of fresh oregano herb for your table and for use in your cooking recipes.

Oregano as a culinary herb vegetable garden plant is said to have originated in the southern regions of Greece and is a plant of high natural oils, and thus the leaves can be crushed and used as part of a treatment for digestive disorders.

There is also a medical evidence that oregano oil may help to treat colds, the flu, and many bacterial and fungal disorders.

Oregano plants are often used as ornamental plants in gardens and flower beds.

In spite of its many uses, oregano plant needs good soil and medical attention to grow to its full potential as an herb garden plant.

The soil and temperature also need to be suitable for good growth.

There are pests in many herb garden plants and they can affect the growth and quality of oregano.

One of the major pests is aphids, which can spread plant viruses.

Therefore it is essential that the oregano plants are checked for insects regularly and they are treated especially against these pests.

There are also fungal diseases that can occur in herb garden plants and cure them immediately before they progress into a major problem.

One such disease is the rust disease.


A few diseases of oregano exist, of which “phytophthora blight” is the most severe. It is caused by phytophthoras, a genus of fungus affecting the growth of plants. This fungus grows underground, spread by the roots, and is difficult to detect. However, its effects are clearly visible from the failure of plant growth, wilting, discoloration of leaves, and the eventual death of the plant. It is spread by water or contaminated tools. Prevention requires keeping the tools suitable for use without spreading the disease. The main method of attack to this disease is using inter-row cultivation to kill the fungal spores. Other types of fungi appear mainly as leaf spots but rarely cause other damage. However, some of them may also cause discoloration and rot and it is important to prevent their development.

Another disease that may affect oregano is the “white rust” disease, which affects the leaves in the early spring before flowering. It appears under persistent conditions of drought or too high temperatures during the night. This appears as a white powdery substance on the leaves which eventually causes defoliation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Growing oregano in the culinary garden The first step in growing oregano in your garden is to choose a plant and prepare the site for planting. Now, your new herb will be thriving in your garden.

How do you stay on top of oregano plant disease?

Once you move your oregano plant into your garden, stand back and allow nature to take its course. Disease and pests are inevitable, but using pesticides is not a good idea. Instead, keep up with regular garden tasks and watch for early warning signs. This gives you time to address the problem before it gets serious. In the event of serious disease or pests, you will have to take action. Spray with a commercially available organic solution or use an organic pesticide-but do it quickly. You can always replace your oregano plant.

Is it necessary to fertilize your oregano plants?

Yes, you should fertilize your oregano plant. The rule of thumb is to fertilize one month after transplanting and then once a month until August. This is the time for regular feeding; your oregano will benefit from the rich natural nitrogen of compost. However, you may choose to minimize vigorous growth. Many gardeners opt to stop fertilizing in the early fall. If you choose this route, remember to stop feeding when your oregano plants start to develop flower buds.