Oregano, an herb with a robust scent and flavor, loves to grow in pots where it can spill over an edge of a pot or low wall. However, its trailing growth also makes it a good seasonal ground cover, or it can serve as a nice edging along a path. In late summer, enjoy Greek or Italian oregano’s white flowers against its bright-green leaves.
Quick Guide for Growing Oregano
- Plant oregano in spring, once all chances of frost have passed or start seeds inside 6-8 weeks prior to the last frost date.
- Space oregano plants 8 to 10 inches apart in a sunny spot with fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.0. Offer partial shade if growing in warm climates.
- Give young plants fertile soil to take root in by mixing several inches of aged compost into the soil.
- Keep soil consistently moist and water when the top inch becomes dry.
- Encourage fabulous leaf production by regularly feeding with organic water-soluble plant food.
- Once oregano is established, harvest sprigs with sharp gardening shears or scissors.
- Harvest often to promote new growth, but avoid pruning more than one-third of the plant at a time.
Site and Soil for Growing Oregano
Oregano prefers a sunny spot to grow. However, in zone 7 and farther south, it needs afternoon shade. Grow plants in well-drained soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.0. If you do not know your soil pH I'd suggest getting a soil pH kit to test it.
To improve your soil, blend a few inches of aged compost with the top layer of your existing soil. Oregano grows beautifully in containers, too. For best results, fill pots with a premium quality potting mix that is formulated for container growing. If you place your containers outside be sure to put some mulch on the top layer of the soil to help retain moisture.
Rich, nutrient-filled soil is the foundation of a great harvest, but your plants will eventually use up those nutrients and you’ll need to replace them. I usually spray our vegetables and herbs with seaweed emulsion every 6-8 weeks during the growing season.
How To Grow Oregano
Oregano spreads easily; in late spring, cut it back to one-third of its size in order to make the plant bushier. In milder climates (zone 8 and southward), oregano is evergreen. Zone 7 and northward, protect plants with mulch through the winter or cover them with a cold frame or portable greenhouse cover. Small plants in containers can be moved indoors for the winter. Cut out dead stems in the spring before the plants begin new growth.
To ensure you have fresh oregano at your fingertips year-round, another great option is to grow it indoors in a hydroponic system. When you use an indoor growing system, it’s simple to both plant and care for your oregano plants. Indoor hydroponics also means you don’t have to worry about the weather outside. We currently grow our herbs inside and outside.
TROUBLESHOOTING WHILE GROWING OREGANO
Root rot, spider mites, and aphids can all attack oregano. Be sure oregano is well-drained to prevent disease, and pick off any browning or spotted foliage.
HOW TO HARVEST OREGANO
Harvest plants often for continued new growth. Begin by snipping sprigs of oregano as soon as the plant is several inches tall. The flavor of oregano is most intense in mid-summer, just before it blooms. This is the best time to harvest leaves for drying. This herb is stronger dried than fresh. For a big harvest, cut the stems just above the plant’s lowest set of leaves; this encourages new growth for the next cutting in late summer.
How To Store Oregano
Oregano leaves may be dried, frozen, or refrigerated. I prefer to dry our oregano and store it in mason jars. Always store your herbs in a cool, dry location.
How To Use Oregano
Oregano does not hold up well to prolonged cooking when used fresh. Add fresh leaves at the end of the cooking process or use dried leaves for sauces or anything that requires a long simmering time.
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