How to Care for an Oregano Plant

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Oregano is hardy, easy to grow and can be used in cooking, for medicinal purposes and in craft projects. Oregano oil is used in aromatherapy and for cosmetics. Some varieties grow to 3 feet tall, and all oregano plants flower from mid-summer to late autumn. The cuisines of Greece, Italy, Spain and Cuba rely heavily on oregano. The plant grows best in zones 5 through 7 and self-propagates so that once your bed is established, very little work is needed to maintain oregano.

Things You'll Need

  • PH tester
  • Oregano seed
  • Fine mesh or cheesecloth
  • Fertilizer
  • Insecticide
  • Plant oregano in full sun in soil that drains well. Check the soil pH--it should be between 4.5 and 8.7. Sprinkle the seeds on top of the soil and cover them with fine mesh or cheesecloth. Remove the cloth when seedlings appear.

  • Thin the plants to about 12 inches apart in rows that are 18 inches wide. Fertilize the plants once during the growing season with a commercial product made for foliage plants. Mulch the plants and only water them when the soil is dry.

  • Treat plants infested by aphids, spider mites and leaf miners with the appropriate insecticide.

  • Harvest oregano when the plant is at least 6 inches tall. The herb tastes better before the plant flowers, which happens after about five or six weeks. Aggressively pinch back leaves from the top to encourage new growth.

  • Dry oregano by hanging it upside down in a dark, dry area. When it has dried, strip the leaves off the stems and store in plastic bags. Keep the dried oregano out of the light or store it in dark colored jars. Freeze oregano by packing the leaves in plastic freezer bags.

  • Divide the plants every few years in the spring. This prevents the plants from becoming woody and less productive. Dig up the plant and its root ball and cut or separate the plant down the middle. Replant each half and water thoroughly.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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