Growing Oregano: A Quick And Dirty Primer

Growing oregano in your garden allows you to have ready access to one of the most popular herbs. Oregano is an essential ingredient for Italian pasta sauces and pizza. You can also use it in dry rubs for grilled and roasted meats and in salad dressings. Oregano is a perennial, which means that you could have a supply of it for years to come once the plant matures. This herb is recommended for beginners because of how little maintenance it requires and because it is often highly productive.

How to grow oregano

If you are planting oregano from seed, sprinkle the seeds on the surface of potting soil in a seed tray and mist with water before covering the tray with plastic. You don’t have to cover oregano seeds with a layer of soil. The temperature inside your home should be between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit to provide oregano with its ideal growing environment, but it can do well at temperatures as low as 50 degrees or as high as 80 degrees. Oregano seeds will take about a week to germinate.

When transplanting oregano outdoors, start after the last frost in spring. Make sure your soil is rich in organic matter and is well-drained. Sandy soil is excellent. If you are planting seedlings or cuttings, space them about 10 inches apart. Plant oregano seedlings in a sunny location, but if you live in an especially warm climate, look for one that offers partial shade.

To grow oregano indoors, opt for pots that are at least six inches across. Place the potted oregano in a sunny, warm location, such as on a windowsill in a window that faces south or west. If your home doesn’t have a lot of natural light, you might want to consider using a grow light. The brighter the light, the more likely you are to be successful. Oregano grows rapidly, so it’s a good idea to cut it back frequently to keep it from filling the pot and making it necessary to re-pot.

To grow oregano from cuttings, cut off three to four inches of new growth from a plant. Cut the stem at a 45-degree angle to maximize the surface area that is exposed to the soil. Remove leaves on the lower two inches. Place the stem in soil that is rich in organic matter. Keep in mind that growing oregano from cuttings can take a long time. You may have to wait up to a year before you can use leaves from your oregano plant.

To grow oregano by root division, look for plants with woody stems. Divide them and plant the divided portions as you would seedlings.

How much sunlight does oregano need?

Most varieties of oregano thrive in full sun, but there are some types that are better positioned in partial shade. Read more detail about your particular oregano type before choosing final locations for your plants.

How much water does oregano need?

Water established indoor or outdoor oregano plants only when the soil is dry an inch below the surface. Oregano is a drought-tolerant herb that does not need a lot of water. Once plants are established, you need to water them only during extended dry periods. Be careful not to over-water.

Harvesting oregano

You can harvest oregano leaves at any point after the plant reaches six inches tall. When growing oregano from seedlings under ideal conditions, you may be able to harvest oregano leaves in as short a time as three months. Regularly harvesting the leaves encourages the plant to produce more and become even bushier. Harvest in the morning after the dew on the leaves dries.