Oregano is a perennial herb, growing from 20-80 cm tall, with opposite leaves 1-4 cm long. Oregano will grow in a pH range between 6.0 (mildly acidic) and 9.0 (strongly alkaline) with a preferred range between 6.0 and 8.0. The flowers are purple, 3-4 mm long, produced in erect spikes. It is sometimes called wild marjoram, and its close relative Oregano has purple flowers and spade-shaped, olive-green leaves. It is a perennial, although it is grown as an annual in colder climates, as it often does not survive the winter. Oregano is planted in early spring, the plants being spaced 30 cm (12 in) apart in fairly dry soil, with full sun. It prefers a hot, relatively dry climate, but will do well in other environments
HOW TO GROW
- Choose if you would like to use seeds or oregano plants from your local nursery.Oregano plants are easier to grow, so you should consider this if you are a first time gardener. However, oregano seeds are much cheaper (not to mention the extra pride you feel once you have a sprout), so more experienced gardeners may choose this method.
- Loosen the soil.If you are going to be planting the oregano in an area of soil that is hard or rocky, you are probably going to have to loosen it so that the oregano’s roots can grow more easily. Do this by taking a trowel and shoveling up the dirt over and over, until it is fairly fine. Also, remove any rocks.
- Plant the oregano in the spring.They should be planted in soil that is between dry and moist and where they can get lots of sunlight. It should also drain well. If you are using seeds, they should be planted fifteen cm apart from each other, and only be about 1.25 cm below the surface. Later, thin the plants so they are thirty cm apart.
- Maintain your oregano.Water the oregano only when the soil is dry because since they are native to arid regions, they do not like particularly moist soil. Also, keep your garden free of weeds and bugs.
- Pinch off flower buds when they start to grow.These will reduce the flavor of the oregano
- Harvest the oregano when it is about 6 inches tall.You can cut the plant at about half an inch above the ground.
- Cut back your oregano once the weather gets too cold and cover it with mulch until it is warm again.
- Replace your oregano.This should be done two to four years after you plant, when the oregano has begun to become woody.
- Allow oregano to grow to about 4 inches and then pinch or trim lightly to encourage a denser and bushier plant.
- Regular trimming will not only cause the plant to branch again, but also avoid legginess.
- Oregano doesn’t need quite as much water as most herbs. As the amount of watering depends on many variables, just water when the soil feels dry to the touch. Remember that it’s better to water thoroughly and less often.
- If you have a container, water until the water comes out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the container.
- To ensure the best-quality plants, thin out plants that are 3 or 4 years old in the early spring. Oregano is self-seeding, so the plants will easily grow back.
- You can divide the plants in late spring if you want to put one indoors.
- Root and stem rots
- Spider mites
- Oregano is used for respiratory tract disorders such as coughs, asthma, croup, and bronchitis.
- It is also used for gastrointestinal (GI) disorders such as heartburn and bloating.
- Other uses include treating menstrual cramps, rheumatoid arthritis, urinary tract disorders including urinary tract infections (UTIs), headaches, and heart conditions.
- The oil of oregano is taken by mouth for intestinal parasites, allergies, sinus pain, arthritis, cold and flu, swine flu, earaches, and fatigue.
- It is applied to the skin for skin conditions including acne, athlete’s foot, oily skin, dandruff, canker sores, warts, ringworm, rosacea, and psoriasis; as well as for insect and spider bites, gum disease, toothaches, muscle pain, and varicose veins.
- Oregano oil is also used topically as an insect repellent.