Oregano, also known as wild or Pot Marjoram, is a member of the mint family that is native to Europe, the Mediterranean region and southern and central Asia. Possessing medicinal properties that have been used by herbalists dating back centuries, modern herbalists promote many potential health benefits and home-grown remedies derived from this most versatile herb.
Plant Type: Oregano is a hardy perennial that may need winter protection to survive in the colder zones. It may grow two feet tall with a rounded, sprawling spread of 18 inches. White or pinkish-purple flowers appear in mid to late summer.
USDA Planting Zones: Zones 4 to 9B
Oregano will grow in well-drained, sandy, even dry soil with a pH range between 6.0 (mildly acid) and 9.0 (strongly alkaline) with a preferred range between 6.0 and 8.0.
Propagate Oregano by rooting stem cuttings or by crown division. To help restore vigor and improve flavor, divide the crown and roots every 3 to 4 growing seasons.
Oregano Plants of some oregano varieties do not produce seed but other oreganos may be started from seed. Some of the plants grown from seed may not have good flavor.
The influence of growing conditions such as climate, season and the soil composition in your herb garden will have a greater effect on the flavor of your Oregano, than the difference between the various species of Oregano that you may choose to plant.
Plant Oregano in full sun and well-drained soil. Space plants 10–12 inches apart.
The Oregano cultivars which are adapted to colder climates often have an unsatisfactory flavor and intensity.
Harvest Oregano by snipping leaves as needed. For best flavor, harvest leaves just as flower buds form. To dry, cut stems, rinse and lay out to dry or hang in bunches in a location away from direct sunlight.
Store leaves out of direct sunlight, in airtight containers. Do not crush the leaves until just before use. Add the crushed leaves ten minutes before serving the sauce spiced with Oregano.
Whitefly, spider mites. Powdery mildew.
Oregano, of the highest quality, is so strong that it almost numbs the tongue.
Oregano and its earliest uses were medicinal. Oil of oregano was not used until much later. The Greeks made poultices from its leaves and used them on sores and aching muscles. Romans recommended poultices for scorpion and spider bites.
Oregano tea was used by early settlers in the U.S. to soothe asthma and coughs. Oil of oregano was used for an aching tooth, and some bald men mixed it with olive oil to rub on their scalps to stimulate hair growth. The same mix was also used as a rub on sprains and rheumatic limbs.
Oregano, recommended by modern herbalists, as infusions of the leaves for indigestion, headaches, and coughs and to promote menstruation.
Oregano leaves, grown in an herb garden, then bagged and submerged in a steaming bath will help if you have stiff or aching joints or limbs.
Good Oregano has an aromatic, warm and slightly bitter taste which varies in intensity. The leaves that are frequently used in pizza, spaghetti and marinara sauces, plus many other Italian dishes. It also complements beef or lamb stews, gravies, salads, soups, even tomato juice. Its small flowers can be lilac, pink, purple, or white.