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How to Care for Oregano Plant

fresh oregano image by joanna wnuk from

Oregano serves culinary, medicinal and decorative purposes, and is an aromatic addition to both indoor and outdoor herb gardens. Although this perennial herb originates from central Asia and the Mediterranean, it grows wildly or with little care in some areas of North America. Grow oregano from cuttings rather than seed for optimal flavor, and plant it in your garden or in containers. Check the care instructions for your specific oregano variety, as some will survive winter in zones 5 through 9 while others may require indoor care in colder weather.

Amend the soil with sand, gravel and shells to promote drainage and mimic the rocky conditions of its native habitat, as recommended by The Herb Society of America. This is not necessary in well-drained outdoor soil, but it improves growing conditions in containers.

Place oregano plants in an area that receives full sunlight outdoors, or in an indoor window that faces south. Allow partial shade to gold-leaf varieties to prevent leaf scorch, as suggested by the University of Illinois Extension.

Water the plant after soil becomes dry to the touch because oregano benefits from low to moderate watering.

Mulch the soil to maintain clean foliage and reduce weed growth. The North Carolina University Cooperative Extension recommends application of 3 to 6 inches of mulch after the first hard freeze of winter to improve herb hardiness.

Snip several leaf stems once the plant reaches 6 inches in height, as recommended by Washington State University, because this encourages full, well-rounded growth.

Harvest up until early August, then allow the plant to retain its growth for winter hardiness.

Divide the plant in half every two to year years to restore productive growth and prevent woodiness. Ensure that each plant half contains adequate roots for replanting.


Enrich the soil with compost; oregano does not require fertilizer.


Oregano may not tolerate high humidity.

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