Learn How To Grow Oregano

Oregano In The Garden
oregano herb
(Image credit: Joi Ito)

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is an easy-care herb that can be grown indoors or out in the garden. As it is native to hot, arid regions, the oregano plant is perfect for growing in areas prone to drought. This herb also makes an exceptional companion plant for garden vegetables, repelling insect pests that commonly affect beans and broccoli. Let's look at how to grow oregano in your garden.

How to Grow Oregano Plant

Growing oregano is easy. Oregano can be grown from seeds, cuttings, or purchased container plants. Seeds should be started indoors prior to your region's last expected frost. There's no need to cover oregano herb seeds with soil. Simply mist them with water and cover the seed tray or container with plastic. Place this in a sunny location such as a window to germinate. Oregano seeds usually germinate within about a week or so. Once the seedlings have reached approximately 6 inches (15 cm.) tall, the plants can be thinned down to about a foot (31 cm.) apart. Oregano plants can be set out or transplanted in the garden once the risk of frost has passed. Locate oregano in areas receiving full sun and in well-drained soil. Established plants do not require much attention. In fact, these drought-tolerant herbs need watering only during excessively dry periods. Oregano doesn't need to be fertilized either, as these hardy plants can typically take care of themselves. For optimal flavor (if growing oregano for kitchen use) or more compact plant growth, flower buds can be pinched out as they begin to bloom.

Harvesting Oregano Herb

Oregano herb plants are commonly used for cooking. Plants can be harvested anytime once they have reached 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm.) tall. Harvesting oregano leaves as flower buds form will often yield the best flavor. Harvest oregano leaves in the morning hours once dew has dried. Oregano leaves can be stored whole, placed in freezer bags, and frozen. They can also be dried in a dark, well-ventilated area and stored in airtight containers until ready to use. Oregano plants should be cut back to the ground and covered with a layer of mulch for overwintering outdoors. Container grown plants can be brought inside for growing oregano indoors year-round. Now that you know how to grow oregano, you can add this tasty herb to your herb garden and enjoy it!

Nikki Tilley
Senior Editor

Nikki Tilley has been gardening for nearly three decades. The former Senior Editor and Archivist of Gardening Know How, Nikki has also authored six gardening books.