If you are looking for an herb that is hardy and easy to grow, look no further than oregano. Oregano is a perennial herb and it belongs to the mint family, and they are native to hot, arid regions. A plant perfect for regions that don’t receive much rain. It is a signature ingredient added to Italian, Spanish, and Mexcian dishes.
Understanding how to grow oregano can save you money at the store and also provide you with delicious, fresh leaves for your own cooking and even your medicine cabinet.
Oregano is a cousin of the mint plant. It originates from Greece, where it grows wild on the hills. It is also known as wild marjoram. It provides a delicious contrast between sweet and spicy to any dish it is added to. Although it is popular in Italian cooking, it is also used in Greek, Turkish, Spanish, and Mexican cooking.
Oregano has health benefits as well. Maybe this is why you want to learn how to grow oregano. You can eat it fresh if you like. However, it is more popular to create oil from the oregano plant. Using steam, the oil can be drawn from the plant. This produces a strong-smelling oil that can be used for a variety of reasons. It needs to be mixed with another oil in a 1:3 ratio. A few drops of this oil goes a long way. It can be used as an antibacterial salve. There are also antioxidants within it. It can be used to treat the common cold, indigestion, and muscular pain. It is a great natural remedy to a host of ailments.
How to Grow Oregano From Seed
When choosing where you will grow your oregano, be aware that this herb is a perennial and it will come back each year. Knowing this, you can add this attractive plant to your flower beds for some eye-pleasing contrast. You can also easily keep it in a container year-round.
Learning how to grow oregano from seed is a simple process that is suitable for those new to growing their own herbs. When using seeds, it is best to start oregano in seed trays in the spring to later be transplanted into the garden. Avoid using oregano seeds that have been stored for long periods of time. As time goes on, the quality of the oregano seeds decreases which also decreases the chances of a successful sprout. If you live in an area of cold frost winters, you may want to start planting your oregano first indoors and transplant it later once the weather warms up.
Start with soil that is well-drained and light. Oregano grows easily and does not require excessively rich soil. Just make sure that it is healthy dirt. If your soil is hard and has a lot of rocks on it, you should consider tilling the soil before planting any oregano. Hard soil and rocky dirt will cause your oregano to stunt its growth instead.
Make sure that your oregano has a lot of room to grow. Once your oregano is fully grown it will reach upto 2 to 2 1/2 feet tall (61 to 76 cm) and about 2 ft wide (61 cm). For best productivity for your oregano, space the plants at leach 10 inches from each other. If you are growing your oregano herb in a pot, you need a pot that is about 1 feet of diameter for adequate space for it to grow.
Place a seed in each seed pod on top of the soil. Oregano seeds require light to germinate, so do not cover them with soil. Mist the soil thoroughly with a spray bottle and cover with the tray dome to ensure the moisture level is maintained. Place the tray in a warm, bright location. If you are having difficulty keeping the soil warm, invest in a heated seedling mat to put under the tray.
The sprouting of your oregano herb can take a while more than usual, and even more so if you are planting your oregano indoors. Your oregano plant usually takes 5-10 days to sprout from the ground, but it can take longer depending on the quality, climate conditions, sunlight, and frequency of watering it.
Only water frequently the oregano in its first few months of growth, and water them regularly after you have just planted it. Only once your oregano has begun sprouting that can you reduce the frequency of watering it. Check if your oregano needs watering or not by touching the soil. If it feels moist, then your oregano does not need any watering yet, but water them once the soil is dry. If your oregano is planted on a pot, water the pot until the water drains out of the drainage holes, after then stop watering it.
You should notice the seeds sprouting within about a week of planting. They are ready to transplant into the garden once they reach about 6 inches in height. However, you must also make sure that all risk of frost has passed. In the garden space the plants are about 8 to 10 inches apart so they have plenty of room to grow.
To encourage your oregano plant to be more bushy, trim the leaves that are in the tip of your plant and the outer edges also. Only trim once the plant is at least 4 in (10.2 cm) tall, and use scissors or shears to lightly trim your oregano plant. Avoid plucking the leaves as that could damage the plant.
Once your oregano has reached several life cycles and is old, pluck them out. Oregano that are 3-4 years old start to lose their quality and will be less productive, and they will not only occupy garden space, they will also negatively affect the other health of plants as well. If you see some weeds popping out in your garden, pluck them out immediately as they would start draining away your soil’s resources.
How To Grow Oregano From Cuttings
If you want to establish new oregano plants, you can use a cutting to propagate more plants. Use a sharp pair of scissors or shears to make sure your cut is clean and crisp. Cut in a diagonal direction above a node. The node is where a leaf grows from or will start to grow from. Next, trim the leaves and buds off the bottom two-thirds of the stem. Make sure that you have at least two leaves on the top. Now you have two options.
When deciding how to grow oregano from cuttings, you can place the cuttings in water. You just need to put the stems in a glass with a bit of water. Then place the glass in a bright, sunny location. Watch the water and change it regularly. Once the roots are an inch or two long, you can put them into a pot. This should be within about two weeks.
You can also place the cuttings directly into a pot of soil. Find a pot with a drainage hole and fill the pot with dirt. Make sure it is moist. Poke a hole in the soil with your finger. Place the stem into the hole. Lightly pat the dirt down around the cutting. Although you can put several stems in the same pot, watch that the leaves do not touch each other. This could cause them to rot.
If you plan on moving your potted cuttings to the garden, wait for at least a month so that the plant has time to establish a firm set of roots.
How To Harvest Oregano
Oregano produces delicious leaves that can be harvested at any time. The best time to reap them, however, is right before the plant starts to flower. Pinch the leaves off the plant. Cut off any leafless stems to encourage more healthy growth.
You have several options once you have determined how to harvest oregano. If you do not plan to use the leaves right away they can be frozen or dried. To freeze them, lay them in air-tight freezer bags and set them in the freezer to be used later in the winter. If you want to dry the leaves, either use a rack in a warm, dry location or use a food dehydrator. Once the leaves have dried they need to be kept in a sealed container and in a cool, dark place.
The best thing about learning how to grow oregano is that you get to appreciate the beauty and scent of this delicious herb. Oregano can be used for more flavorful food and for improved health. Start growing this useful herb today.
Oregano is not the only flavorful herb out there, there are other herbs that can also enhance the flavor such as Basil and Rosemary. If you want to learn more about them, check the rest of our website today!