Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
Oregano is a small-leafed, prostrate culinary herb from the Mediterranean and other parts of Europe and is part of the mint family. Its small dark green, oval leaves are widely used in cooking where it is often teamed with tomato and lamb. It can also be dried to use year-round.
It can be grown in the ground in well-drained soil or in containers such as a pot or trough. It grows happily in among paving stones or to edge steps and can spread 1.5m across. Flowers are seen mainly in summer and are usually pinky purple. Plants may die back in areas with cold winters but will resprout in spring.
New plants can be grown from division of an established plant, cuttings taken in summer, or seed sown in spring. Also look for plants in the herb section at your local hardware or garden centre. If you are unsure of a variety to suit your garden, talk to horticultural staff who can help you with your selection. Here are a couple to consider:
- ‘Aureum’ is a variety with attractive golden leaves widely grown as an ornamental plant.
- ‘Greek’ is highly aromatic and pungent than the common variety, with bright green foliage.
- ‘Rosenkuppel’ an ornamental plant with dark purple bracts and mauve flowers.
Oregano is closely related to marjoram (O. marjorana), which is also an easy-care culinary herb.
Note: Oregano may be toxic to pets.