Oregano is a versatile herb that can be used to flavor soups, stews, pasta, breads, salads, and more. Learn how to grow it at home.
Fresh oregano adds depth and flavor to many dishes. Easy to grow at home, it’s a warm weather-loving herb that is perennial in zones 5 and warmer, meaning it will come back each year. In cooler areas it dies back during the winter instead of staying evergreen, but then vigorously re-grows in the springtime. Oregano spreads easily, so a couple of plants will produce as much oregano as one cook could possibly use.
Here’s how to grow oregano in your garden.
Where to Plant Oregano
Oregano grows best in full sun and well-drained soil. It will also grow in rocky soil, though. Native to the Mediterranean and Europe, oregano can thrive in areas with tough growing conditions. If you have swampy or heavy soil, plant oregano in a container or raised bed.
When to Plant Oregano
Plant oregano at the same time at which you set out other warm-weather herbs in the garden, including basil, rosemary, and sage. Both soil temperature and nighttime air temperature should be at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Prepare the Soil to Grow Oregano
The best soil for oregano is soil that drains really well. To break up heavy clay soils, add organic matter to sandy soils, or just generally improve your existing soil, mix 3 inches of aged compost-enriched Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics™ All Purpose In-Ground Soil into the top 6 inches of native soil. If planting in a raised bed, fill the bed with 100 percent organic Miracle-Gro® Raised Bed Soil. Fill containers with lighter, fluffier Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics™ All Purpose Container Mix for the ideal root growing environment for potted oregano. (For best results, pair great soil with just the right plant food—see details on that below!)
How to Plant Oregano
You can grow oregano from seed, but it is much easier to start with strong young plants like those from Bonnie Plants®, which are easy to find at garden centers and home improvement stores. If you do decide to grow from seed, fill a tray with Miracle-Gro® Seed Starting Potting Mix, which is specially formulated for fast root growth, and sprinkle seeds on top. Mist them, cover the tray with clear plastic wrap to keep the seeds moist while they germinate, then put the tray in a sunny window or under a grow light. Once you begin to see growth, uncover the tray. When the seedlings are several inches tall, they can be planted outside.
When planting young plants, make sure that the stem does not become buried in soil. The top of the root ball should be at the level of the surrounding soil. Allow 12 to 18 inches of space between plants, as they will spread out as they grow. (Oregano actually makes an excellent, fragrant groundcover.) If planting in a container, choose a pot that measures least 14 inches across the top. After planting, water thoroughly.
How to Water Oregano
Water seedlings once or twice per week for the first few weeks. The soil should be about as moist as a wrung-out sponge. Once the plant has developed a good root system, you can decrease watering. Oregano does not like “wet feet,” so always check to make sure that the top inch of soil is dry before watering.
How to Feed Oregano
Oregano is not a big eater, so using Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics™ All Purpose Plant Nutrition Granules, a continuous release plant food, allows the plant to get the nutrition it needs over time rather than all at once. This food contains natural ingredients to feed microbes in the soil, as well as vital micronutrients to grow stronger, vibrant, and more productive plants (versus unfed). Follow label directions when feeding.
How to Prune Oregano
Oregano is a vigorous grower and quickly can become overgrown and woody. Cut the top 2/3 of the plant off in the spring, once the plant has begun to grow again. Be sure to harvest regularly (up to 1/3 of the plant) throughout the season to keep the plant producing tender new growth. Always water after pruning.
How to Harvest and Use Oregano
Use hand pruners or kitchen shears to snip oregano stems. To dry, tie several stems together and hang them upside-down in a cool, dry location. Fresh oregano does not hold up well in cooking, so add it just a few minutes before the dish is done.
How to Grow Oregano: Recap
- Plant oregano in full sun and well-drained soil.
- Prepare the soil before planting by adding Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics™ All Purpose In-Ground Soil, or using Miracle-Gro® Raised Bed Soil or Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics™ All Purpose Container Mix.
- Plant oregano at the same time as other warm-weather edibles.
- Water plants thoroughly at the time of planting, then consistently throughout the season.
- Feed plants regularly with Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics™ All Purpose Plant Nutrition Granules.
- Prune plants in the spring after new growth appears.
- Snip oregano leaves for drying or fresh use.
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