How to Grow Oregano

If you’re planning to grow herbs, chances are oregano is going to be included in your selection. Good choice! Oregano is easy to grow and is a perennial herb, meaning that it continues to grow year after year. Whether you’re planting in your garden or as a houseplant, oregano is sure to be a winner.

Before You Plant Oregano

Find a Suitable Place:

  • Oregano is a perennial, it typically produces quality leaves for 2-4 years, so choose an appropriate spot where it can stay.
  • Marked by its Mediterranean origin, oregano likes to grow in full sun.

Prepare the soil:

  • Light chalky soil is best for this herb.
  • Oregano also requires well-drained soil.
  • Fortunately, very little preparation is needed as oregano typically grows just fine in average soil.

Planting/Growing Oregano

What You Will Need:

  • Oregano seeds
  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer (only for container plants)
  • Garden spade
  • Stick or other row marker

How to Plant Oregano:

  1. Oregano seeds can be sown directly into the soil in the beginning of spring, usually around April.
  2. Work the dirt with the garden spade until loose and form the rows marked with a labeled stick.
  3. Plant the seeds 3/4 inch deep and 6 inches apart. Rows should be spaced 18 inches apart.
  4. Cover with removed soil and pat gently to cover.
  5. Water until soil is moist and cover the area with mulch to retain moisture and prevent weeds.
  6. Seeds will sprout in approximately 2 weeks.
  7. When seeds have sprouted, thin plants to 12 inches apart.
  8. Seeds can also be started in containers around March and transplanted 12 inches apart.
  9. Keep the soil moist for the first few months, after which the plant will be able to tolerate dry conditions, including drought.
  10. Avoid adding fertilizer to garden plants to keep the flavor strong.
  11. If planting oregano in a container, follow the same planting procedures to start. Transplant the seedlings to a 12 inch pot at the end of spring, usually around May.
  12. Water container only when dry and feed twice during the growing season.
  13. Oregano plants can grow a bit out of control, so cut back straying stems regularly to keep the plant at the optimum size.
  14. At the end of the season, cut back the leaves and cover the area with mulch to protect the roots from the cold winter.

Harvesting Oregano

What You Will Need:

  • Garden clippers or scissors

Steps for Care and Maintenance:

  1. As soon as the plant is several inches tall and has developed a couple dozen leaves, it is okay to begin harvesting.
  2. Pick the young leaves as they have the most flavor.
  3. It is best to harvest early in the morning while the oils are the strongest.
  4. Leaves are best harvested right before flowers form, usually in July. If seeds have already developed, the leaves will most likely have developed a bitter taste.
  5. To extend the harvesting season, trim off the flowers as soon as they begin to develop. This stops the production of seeds allowing harvesting to take place into November.
  6. Allow the plant to remain as the leaves provide necessary protection from frost and the cold winter. New plants will emerge in the spring.
  7. Once the herb is rinsed with cold water, it’s ready to use, just chop for cooking or store whole leaves in Ziploc bags in the freezer or refrigerator.
  8. Some feel oregano is best used dried. Harvest the leaves on a dry day and allow keep in a cool dark place until they are thoroughly dried out. Store in an airtight container. Dried oregano will last for 3-4 months.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Since the leaves of the oregano are eaten, avoid using any pesticides or sprays. If pests become a problem, try an organic treatment. Be sure to check the label carefully.
  • Oregano is a must-have for Italian cooking. You simply can’t have pizza or spaghetti sauce without it!
  • After 2-4 years, the plant starts to get woody and will need to be replaced.
  • Oregano is a great companion plant for broccoli and beans. It deters the pests that tend to attack these vegetables.

Related Posts

No related posts.

Speak Your Mind