Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is a species of flowering plant in the mint family Lamiaceae. It was native to the Mediterranean region, but widely naturalised elsewhere in the temperate Northern Hemisphere. Oregano loves the hot, dry Western Australian summers making it an ideal herb to grow. Oregano is a must-have herb in a culinary garden. Aromatic, spicy, and slightly bitter, oregano pairs well with a number of cuisines however is best know for it’s use in Greek and Italian cuisine where it brings wonderful flavour to a number of dishes.
If you have ever wondered how to grow oregano in Perth then look no further. A relatively simple herb to grow there are a few tricks to successfully growing oregano in Perth, Western Australia but get these right and you will be laughing.
When to plant oregano in Perth:
Oregano seeds can be planted from September through until May in Perth. You essentially just want to avoid planting oregano seeds in the winter month.
Where does oregano grow best?
Oregano thrives in the hot, dry parts of your garden where other plants struggle. Oregano likes poor, well-drained soil. Don’t over feed or over-water it.
How much water does oregano need?
Really important not to over-water oregano. You only need to water when the soil is dry. Oregano is best planted in a sunny, dry part of a garden, so remember to keep an eye on it during particularly hot weather and water if it’s looking thirsty. If you are planting in a pot just be sure not to over-water and that your pot has drainage holes.
Types of oregano:
The most common form of oregano is known as “Origanum Vulgare” or “Wild Marjoram” which comes in several varieties. The most popular strand is the Greek Oregano.
- Greek Oregano – Greek Oregano is one of the most popular strands of oregano. It is found in most household kitchens and can be added to dozens of dishes and recipes.
- Italian Oregano – Italian Oregano is the hybrid of the sweet marjoram strand and the common Greek Oregano strand and has been known to resemble both plants with its strong flavour.
- Marjoram – Is a less mild and spicy strand than the Greek Oregano strand. Marjoram can be used in lots of dishes and offers many great health benefits.
- Syrian Oregano – Is mostly found mixed in with a Middle Eastern spice known as “Za’atar”.
- Golden Oregano – Golden Oregano gets their name from their yellow to golden foliage that is covered in delicate pink and purple flowers, during the summer. It is edible and can be used in a wide variety of dishes.
- Cuban Oregano – Cuban Oregano (which is a member of the mint family) is very strong and has thick fuzzy leaves. The flowers of this strand can be lavender, white or pink.
- Mexican Oregano – Mexican Oregano is from a different genus than the other oregano plants but it is still quite popular in Mexican dishes (for its strong flavour and wonderful aromas).
- Ornamental Oregano – As stated before some strands of oregano can not be consumed but can be used for ornamental (decorative) purposes only.
How to grow oregano from seed:
Growing oregano from seeds is easy, fun and rewarding!
- Choose a nice sunny spot in the garden that is protected from the hot Australian afternoon sun. Prepare the planting area well by digging in a Dynamic Lifter and Plant Fertiliser.
- Sow oregano seeds direct into the prepared bed and cover with fine soil or Seed Raising Mix before watering in well.
- Once the oregano seedlings emerge, thin to 50cm apart and feed weekly with a Herb Liquid Plant Food. Mulch around base of plants with organic mulch like pea straw to retain moisture in the soil.
- Harvest leaves and stems as desired, removing flower heads will help extend the harvest window.
How to grow oregano from cuttings:
To propagate your oregano, you can follow these steps:
- Get a hold of some oregano (either from an existing plant or a friend or family member)
- Strip off leaves from each stems’ bottom 5cm
- Place the stem in a glass of water for a few weeks until mature roots have grown before planting
- Store the stem and pot in a humid climate and water occasionally for 6-8 weeks
- Care for your new oregano plant by feeding weekly with a Herb Liquid Plant Food.
How to grow oregano in a pot:
Growing oregano in pots is a great idea. Being able to move your oregano around to get the best conditions and for easy access to the kitchen.
- Choose a pot at least 30cm wide and deep. Position in a sunny spot that’s protected from the hot afternoon sun between 12-3pm.
- Fill starter trays with Seed Raising Mix. Sprinkle oregano seeds over mix, lightly cover and gently water. Keep the soil moist throughout germination.
- Once seedlings reach 10cm tall fill chosen pots with quality potting mix. Transplant seedling into the pot and water in well with a Herb Liquid Plant Food.
- Feed weekly with a Herb Liquid Plant Food and water regularly to keep the soil moist.
- Harvest leaves and stems as desired, removing flower heads to help extend your harvest window.
When to harvest oregano:
Harvesting oregano couldn’t be simpler! Harvest oregano once the stems are around 10cm. You can let your oregano grow to about 20cm tall, and then cut back up to 2/3 of the plant. Don’t be too fussy as regular trimming encourages new growth!
For best flavour, harvest oregano leaves just before the plant flowers. You can eat the flowers themselves, oregano flowers make a great addition to salads.
Storing oregano at home:
The best way to store home-grown oregano is to dry it first. Harvesting the leaves, you need to store them in a dark, dry location to preserve the most flavour. Use glass bottles or airtight plastic containers. Light and air will degrade the flavour of the herb. Dry oregano will last for up to six months.
Companion plants for oregano:
Oregano’s antiseptic and antifungal properties make it a great companion planted alongside beans, cabbage, cauliflower, capsicum, sprouts, strawberries and especially tomatoes.
Oregano care and common problems:
Snails and slugs can be a problem leaving large ragged holes, chew marks on leaf edges. Manage as required.
Oregano may start to grow less well after four or so years. If your plants begin to look tired, replace them.
Check out our other how to grow in Perth guides: