Description

So pretty you hate to cut it (but oh, the flavor)

Days to Maturity: 80 to 90 from direct sow

This certified organic Italian oregano is a treat for the senses. Pungently aromatic, the fragrance alone will start your mouth watering. And even when it's not in bloom with clusters of lavender-pink flowers, the plant is attractive enough with its red-flushed green leaves and purple-brown stems to take its place alongside flowering plants in the bed or border. Whether you grow this perennial as a flowering beauty or a culinary herb, you will appreciate its ease of culture, spicy scent, and handsome garden presence.

Italian oregano is one of the most important herbs in Italian, Greek, and Mexican cuisine. Mainly used dry (the flavor is much more intense when the leaves are dried), oregano pairs perfectly with the bold flavors of tomatoes, onion, garlic, and beef. (And interestingly, the oil is often an ingredient in men's colognes. Who knew?) Oregano is at the heart of all the great spaghetti sauces, lasagnas, and other Neapolitan dishes you prepare, so why not grow it in the garden or in a patio container?

Italian oregano is a bushy perennial with broad 1½-inch leaves. The foliage becomes ready to pick when the plant is just 6 inches high or so—about three months after sowing, when it has been transplanted into its final container or the sunny garden, and it is growing and branching reliably. Most of us pick the leaves on an as-needed basis all summer, but if you want to grow this plant just to dry the foliage as spice, wait until midsummer to harvest. If any random flower buds appear along the way, pinch 'em off fast! The flavor deteriorates when this plant starts to bloom.

That said, you may also want to keep your Italian oregano coming in the garden for years, so one method is to let a single plant, or maybe two, bloom and go to seed in the border. Next spring, you will have lots of little oregano plants, which you can then thin and transplant as needed. Meanwhile, the rest can be used for culinary purposes or as flowering ornamentals.

Oregano is perennial, thriving in full sun and soil that's on the dry side. Once established in your garden, this plant will want to dry out a bit between waterings. When you do water it, do so thoroughly, letting the water really penetrate deeply into the soil. This will encourage roots to grow down and find their own water sources, meaning even less maintenance for you.

Many of us can't imagine a kitchen garden without a pot of oregano, so here is how to get this plant to fit on the windowsill without blocking the light. In the garden, Italian oregano reaches about 12 to 18 inches high and wide, and in outdoor containers, it's just right for a 10-inch pot. But that's not practical for your average indoor herb garden. To keep the plant smaller, continuously pinch the central stem. This encourages side-shoots to grow and keeps it from getting too tall.

Oregano lives about five years as a useful culinary plant, longer as an ornamental. It gradually becomes woody, a very pretty effect but one that reduces the flavor and texture of the leaves. When your plants reach this stage, let them go to flower and set new seed for spring. It's easy!

Sow seeds in well-drained to dry, neutral to alkaline soil in full sun, or start them indoors in your Bio Dome or seed flats. They germinate in about two weeks. Even if you aren't using the fresh leaves as seasoning, trim the plant back every few weeks throughout the growing season to encourage better branching and the formation of more foliage.

Details

Skip Product Specs
Genus Origanum
Species vulgare
Variety Organic Oregano, Italian
Item Form (P) Pkt of 100 seeds
Zone 5 - 10
Days To Maturity 90
Habit Mound-shaped
Seeds Per Pack 100
Plant Height 12 in - 18 in
Plant Width 12 in - 18 in
Additional Characteristics Edible, Easy Care Plants, Flower, Pest Fighter, Cut-and-Come-Again, Fragrance, Herbs, Pruning Recommended, Butterfly Lovers, Rose Companions, Hummingbird Lovers, Certified Organic
Bloom Color Pink, Lavender
Foliage Color Dark Green
Harvest Season Early Summer, Late Summer, Mid Summer
Light Requirements Full Sun
Moisture Requirements Moist,  well-drained, Dry
Resistance Heat Tolerant, Humidity Tolerant, Pest Resistant, Disease Resistant
Soil Tolerance Normal,  loamy
Uses Cuisine, Outdoor, Border, Containers, Ornamental

No Reviews Yet

Leave a Review