Growing Marjoram: A Quick And Dirty Guide

Marjoram is a member of the mint family and an oregano relative. The two herbs are similar enough that oregano is sometimes called wild marjoram. One of the best-known applications of marjoram is in the famous French herb blend known as herbes de Provence. Marjoram is particularly easy to propagate from seed — it tends to self-sow — and from cuttings, root division, or layering. While it does not grow as aggressively as mint, it does send out rhizomes in a similar way and can take over garden beds. 

How to grow marjoram

Start marjoram indoors about two months before your area’s last frost. You can also sow seeds directly into garden beds after the last frost. The ideal temperature for germination is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Water the seed trays or garden bed with a misting bottle to ensure that the seeds get enough water but are not moved around by it. The soil in which you start your marjoram should be kept moist, but not too wet. Marjoram seeds should take between a week and 10 days to germinate.

After about six weeks, harden off marjoram seedlings that you have started indoors before moving them outside. You harden seedlings off to get them used to the outdoors and prevent shock at being suddenly introduced to a new environment. You take them outdoors for short periods that you will increase over about a week.

Transplant marjoram seedlings about six inches apart in a location that gets full sun if you live in a temperate area, or partial sun with a little shade if your location is prone to very hot weather. If you germinate the seeds outdoors, you will want to thin them out to the same distance apart.

If growing marjoram indoors: Use a container that is at least eight inches across and six inches deep. The drainage holes should be large to keep the soil from getting waterlogged. 

Propagate marjoram by root division

Instead of starting from seed, you can grow marjoram simply by dividing an established plant. The simple way to do this is to dig around the plant and then lift the whole root ball out with your shovel. Cut the root ball into about four sections and transplant each.

Propagate marjoram from cuttings by snipping off a six-inch branch with no flowers

Cut at an angle to maximize the exposed surface area inside the stem. Remove the leaves from the bottom two inches and dip into some rooting hormone. Next, place it into a container with a moist seed starting mix. It should start developing roots within two weeks. Alternatively, you can try omitting the rooting hormone. Do not allow the seed starting mix to dry out.

Propagate marjoram by layering

Lay one of the marjoram plant’s branches against the soil and bury it, leaving out two or three inches at the tip. The branch should develop roots, at which point you can cut it off from the parent plant and transplant it wherever you want.

How much sunlight does marjoram need?

If the container is indoors, place it where it will get at least six hours of sunlight daily and where temperatures will be between 60 and 70 degrees.

How much water does marjoram need?

Marjoram doesn’t need as much water as many herbs, making it a great beginning herb to grow. It’s drought tolerant, so missing a day of water won’t make or break your growing cycle. Look to water your marjoram when the topsoil is dry down to an inch. 

Harvesting marjoram

Harvest marjoram with sharp, clean scissors at any point in the season but remove no more than two-thirds of the plant at a time.