Growing Oregano

Growing Oregano

Variety: Oregano Origanum x majoricum
Zones: 5 to 9
Soil Type: Sandy, well drained soil.
Soil pH: 6.0 to 8.0
Sunlight: Full sun
Watering: light watering needs.
Fertilizer: None required.
Availability: Sold as seeds or live, potted plants. Look for healthy, compact plants free of blooms.

When to plant: Seeds can be started indoors four to six weeks before the last frost. Sow seeds outdoors after the last frost.

Live plants can be planted after the last frost.

Planting Method

Seeds: Seeds can be planted ¼" deep. For outdoor planting, thin plants to 12" spacing one they're established.

Live plants: Starter plants should be planted 12" to 18" apart and watered well until established.

Watering
Oregano is very drought tolerant. Water once a week.

Fertilizing
Oregano shouldn't be fertilized. Fertilizer weakens the flavor of the leaves.

Production
Oregano will continue to produce new shoots throughout the growing season. Be sure to remove any flower buds to encourage leaf production.

Harvesting
Begin harvesting oregano when plants are a 6" tall. Harvest oregano in the early morning for most intense flavor. Cut oregano springs just above the lowest set of leaves, beginning with outer sprigs. Dried oregano leaves have stronger flavor than fresh.

Diseases

Root Rot: Plant will yellow and wither from this condition. Root rot is caused by over watering or poor drainage. Make sure plants are placed in well-drained soil and understand the watering needs of specific plants.

Pests
Spider Mites: Tiny cousins of spider and scorpions, spider mites may appear red to brown or yellow to green. Spider mites damage leaf cells as they suck moisture from them. Plants infested by spider mites may have brown or tan speckled leaves. Ladybugs are a natural predator of spider mites. Sharp blasts of water from a hose can dislodge spider mites and insecticidal soaps can be effective as well.

Aphids: Small, soft-bodied insects that suck moisture from plants. Ladybugs are a great way to control aphids. Consider insecticidal soaps as an alternative to pesticides.

Cleanup
Oregano is a perennial plant. Mulch oregano plants to over winter, and remove any dead stems in the early spring. Oregano plants should be replaced when they become woody, usually after about three or four years.

Saving Seeds
Division is the best way to propagate oregano plants. In mid spring, dig up oregano plants and clear dirt away from roots. Divide your oregano plant into three or four sections; making sure each section has roots and foliage. Replant each section 10" to 12" apart.

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