Covering the plants with an evergreen bough after the ground has frozen will protect it from wind damage. In general, it is a sprawling herb and is not well suited for growing indoors. This aromatic, ancient culinary herb, also referred to as “wild marjoram,” originates from the hilly, Greek countryside, and is now grown all over the world. During the summer, generous amounts of dried oregano are often added as the aromatic and flavorful topping to a tomato and cucumber salad in Portugal, but it can be used to season meat and fish dishes as well. Oregano is a hardy perennial plant that is easy to grow in the home garden. Even common oregano, Origanum vulgare, can take many forms. Factors such as climate, season, and soil composition may affect the aromatic oils present, and this effect may be greater than the differences between the various species of plants. Although it is grown predominately as a culinary herb, oregano makes a nice edging plant and ground cover, requiring little maintenance. Oregano is a perennial plant that has the characteristics of an herb, green and leaflike, with round shaped leaves. You can also divide plants simply to make more plants. Where to Grow Oregano.  Similar FDA warning letters for false advertising and unproven health claims about oregano essential oil products were published in 2017 and 2018. As a perennial, oregano is often grown for 3–4 years but in northern climates where the temperature is colder it is often grown as an annual. The herb is widely used in cuisines of the Mediterranean Basin and Latin America, especially in Argentine cuisine. Oregano leaves are oval, dark green and in opposite pairs. Among the chemical compounds contributing to the flavour are carvacrol, thymol, limonene, pinene, ocimene, and caryophyllene.. If your soil is moist with lots of organic matter, oregano will not perform as well as it does in lighter, dryer soil that is typically well-drained. It is native to temperate Western and Southwestern Eurasia and the Mediterranean region. Most oregano varieties need full sun, however, the golden oregano variety does best in partial shade; its leaves tend to scorch in full sun. Oregano is planted in early spring, the plants being spaced 30 cm (12 in) apart in fairly dry soil, with full sun. Regular trimming will not only cause the plant to branch again, but also avoid legginess. Some varieties show a flavour intermediate between oregano and marjoram. Do not add compost or fertilizer to its growing area. The dried and ground leaves are most often used in Greece to add flavor to Greek salad, and is usually added to the lemon-olive oil sauce that accompanies fish or meat grills and casseroles. Barbara Gillette is a Master Gardener, Herbalist, beekeeper, and journalist with decades of experience propagating and growing fruits, vegetables, herbs, and ornamentals. It helps to know the botanical name, although that is not always available. Oregano prefers light, well-drained, slightly alkaline soil with full sun. By using The Spruce, you accept our, Oregano: Learn How to Grow, Dry, and Use the Popular Herb, 6 Beautiful Herbs For Gardens and Containers, How to Grow Sweet Marjoram in Your Kitchen Garden. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board, Dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil, Western and Southwestern Eurasia and the Mediterranean. The related species, Origanum onites (Greece, Turkey) and O. syriacum (West Asia), have similar flavours. It is a perennial, although it is grown as an annual in colder climates, as it often does not survive the winter. Simple oregano sold in garden stores as Origanum vulgare may have a bland taste and larger, less-dense leaves, and is not considered the best for culinary use, with a taste less remarkable and pungent. , Oregano is related to the herb marjoram, sometimes being referred to as wild marjoram. Oregano has purple flowers and spade-shaped, olive-green leaves. History Since oregano was originally grown in Greece, it was first used by the Greeks.  There, it is most frequently used with roasted, fried, or grilled vegetables, meat, and fish. Oregano seeds require some light to germinate, so cover only slightly with soil. You should w… Oregano combines well with spicy foods popular in southern Italy. The flowers stalks are spiky and may be white, pink, or purple. Marie Iannotti is an author, photographer, and speaker with 27 years of experience as a Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulture Educator and Master Gardener. Oregano doesn’t need quite as much water as most herbs. Oregano is no exception—it will grow in soil that is only moderately fertile. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. The flowers should be pinched to keep the plants bushy and prevent it from bolting to seed. When using seeds, you can generally expect that roughly ¼ of the seeds won't grow, so you may want to plant several. In Turkish cuisine, oregano is mostly used for flavoring meat, especially for mutton and lamb. Soil for Oregano. The smaller varieties also do well in rock and alpine gardens. Much higher concentrations of volatile compounds are achieved towards the end of the growing season. It prefers a hot, relatively dry climate, but does well in other environments.. , Drying of the plant material affects both quantity and distribution of volatile compounds, with methods using higher heat and longer drying times having greater negative impact. Cuban oregano (Plectranthus amboinicus), also known as Spanish thyme, is a member of the mint family. are usually hardy sweet marjoram (O. Bees love oregano flowers and will cover the plants as they take up nectar and pollen. Unless you are growing it only for ornamental reasons, the best option for choosing oregano is to taste and smell it. Oregano's most prominent modern use is as the staple herb of Italian cuisine. Used since the middle 18th century, oregano is derived from the Spanish orégano and Latin orīganum via the Classical Greek ὀρίγανον (orī́ganon). It can pollinate other more sophisticated strains, but the offspring are rarely better in quality. Wet soils can cause root rot. Since different species of oregano will cross-pollinate, you may not get what you expect from seed you saved yourself. Oregano is a must-have in a culinary garden. Oregano is related to the herb marjoram, sometimes being referred to as wild marjoram. Large amounts of nutrients, such as … Oregano may need some winter protection in hardiness zones 5 and lower.  This is a compound Greek term that consists of ὄρος (óros) meaning "mountain", and γάνος (gános) meaning "brightness", thus, "brightness of the mountain". Water thoroughly only after the soil is dry to the touch. Some plants may not even be in the oregano family, but are used in the same way for cooking. Oregano is a perennial herb, growing from 20–80 cm (7.9–31.5 in) tall, with opposite leaves 1–4 cm (0.39–1.57 in) long. Cutting stems all the way back to the ground will encourage more stems from the base and a fuller plant. Most of the necessary pruning will be accomplished by regular harvesting, but to keep oregano plants healthy, follow the guidelines for pruning woody herbs. Choose between seeds or clippings. The flowers are purple, 3–4 mm (0.12–0.16 in) long, produced in erect spikes. Do not add compost or fertilizer to its growing area. Oregano will grow in a pH range between 6.0 (mildly acidic) and 9.0 (strongly alkaline), with a preferred range between 6.0 and 8.0. Sandy loam is best suited for oregano. Allow the soil to dry out fully between waterings.  Oregano essential oil is extracted from the leaves of the oregano plant.
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