Growing Oregano:
How to Grow the Oregano Plant Organically

Growing oregano offers the gardener and Italian cook many great opportunities in the kitchen. It is easy to grow, even for the beginning gardener.

Plant your oregano in light soil where it will receive full sun. It can also be grown quite beautifully in pots, which will allow you to bring it indoors for the winter so that it can keep producing.

Growing Oregano: Plant Snapshot (Origanum vulgare)Growing Oregano

  • Family: Labiatae (Mint family)
  • Annual or Perennial? Perennial to Zone 5 – other areas treat as an annual
  • Recommended varieties: Greek Hot and Spicy, Italian
  • Cold tolerance: Usually hardy in most regions
  • When planning vegetable crop rotation, group with crops from this family: Anything other than marjoram and basil
  • Companion plants (see Companion Planting Charts for more info):
    • Companions: n/a
    • Avoid: None
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Growing Oregano: Planting the Seed

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Oregano is easily grown from seed. Other than the occasional watering during droughts, you can more or less let it do its thing after planting without tending to it. There are many varieties to choose from, and depending upon where you live, you may be able to grow some as a perennial. Oregano can also be grown from the cuttings of an established plant.

Plant your oregano where it will receive full sun, and be sure that the soil mixture is light enough and has good drainage.

Seeds can be planted in spring or fall. Be sure to space plants out, particularly if you live in a humid area.

Snapshot: Planting Oregano

  • Planting depth: Dust with soil (0.1 cm)
  • Spacing in rows: 18 inches (45 cm)
  • Germination soil temperature: 60 to 70 degrees F (15.5 to 21 C)
  • Days to germination: 7 to 14 days
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Growing Oregano: From Germination to Pre-Harvest

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Oregano will flourish in full sun but will not tolerate being overly wet, so keep the soil a little on the dry side.

Oregano grown in pots will need a bit more water than plants grown in the ground.
It also requires little fertilizing; a top dressing of compost in the spring is usually all it needs.

Cut the plant back at least twice during the growing season for best results, but leave a good amount of growth in the fall to sustain the plant through the winter.

Snapshot: Growing Oregano

  • Preferred soil pH (see soil pH tester for more information): 6.0 to 7.5
  • Growing soil temperature: 55 to 80 degrees F (13 to 27 C)
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Growing Oregano: Harvesting Time

Oregano can be harvested once the plant is about eight inches high (or when the leaves are large enough to suit your preference), and you can pick leaves as you need them all season. The flavor of the leaves is most intense just before the plant blooms.

Throughout most of the summer, oregano will be covered in flowers. The flowers will not affect the flavor of the leaves, so you can leave them on the plant… they’ll dry out on their own in the fall.

Snapshot: Harvesting Oregano

  • Time to harvest: less than 100 days to maturity
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Storing Oregano, Drying Oregano and Freezing Oregano

Oregano can be used fresh or dried, but most people prefer the flavor of dried oregano as it is a bit mellower.

To dry the leaves, tie bouquets of oregano with string and hang upside down or lay them on screens in a warm dry place until the leaves are crisp. Store in glass jars.

To preserve the oils in the leaves, do not crush them before storage. You'll get the best flavor when the leaves are crushed just before they are added to food.

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Growing Oregano: Pests & Diseases

The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Oregano. For more information about preventing and controlling them, see Organic Garden Pest Control.

Pests

  • Aphids
  • Leaf miners
  • Spider mites

Diseases

  • Leaf spot
  • Root rot
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YOUR Experience & Advice About Growing Oregano

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