Oregano belongs to the mint family and is a herb that can live for several years. In addition to its useful properties for cooking and medicine, oregano is a very decorative plant with an aromatic smell, the rhizome of which is strongly branched and woody runners form. If it is allowed to develop freely, it becomes a dense bush, which is adorned with countless pink and purple flowers during the flowering period.

Location, plant substrate, planting and transplanting

Oregano is hungry for sun and warmth due to its origin in the southern locations and needs an appropriate location. It looks great in a herb bed or even an extra herb garden, along with other herbs. Due to the use of herbs in the kitchen, it makes sense to place an appropriate herb area near the kitchen so that it is quickly accessible when needed. The plant substrate should be light, lean and never too damp or wet.

  • Warm and sunny to very sunny location
  • If there is no other way, the plant can also tolerate partial shade
  • Normal garden soil is sufficient, the plant is very undemanding
  • Air-permeable, dry and calcareous soil
  • In a loose plant substrate, the rhizomes are well supplied with oxygen and excess water can ideally run off, the plant does not like moist soil
  • Due to its bush-like growth and strong branching, the oregano should be given enough space
  • A special herb bed or an entire herb garden is ideal for a collection of medicinal and aromatic herbs
  • For convenience in the kitchen, the herbs can also be planted in pots and tubs and then placed in the kitchen
  • There is a special vegetable soil for planting in flower pots, which promotes growth and the formation of aromas
  • If the plant grows too rampant, it will need to be transplanted

Properly water and fertilize in good time

The oregano should be poured carefully, it doesn’t like waterlogging or damp soil over a long period of time. In his home country he has to cope with sweltering heat and persistent dry periods in the summer months, which is why he cannot tolerate too much watering and long periods of rain. If it rains a lot in summer, this must be taken into account when determining the frequency of watering. Collected rainwater is very suitable because it has less lime than tap water. In addition, the rainwater is already stale and richer in nutrients than the tap water.

  • Never keep bales too moist, especially not permanently wet!
  • The upper layer of soil should always be well dried, preferably for some time
  • Before watering again, check with a finger test whether the soil is really dry
  • During hot periods with little or no rain, you can pour a little more
  • Because of its frugal properties, there is little need to fertilize
  • Fertilize from spring to autumn, moderately and only every few weeks
  • Conventional plant fertilizers are sufficient

Cutting and wintering

In optimal conditions, oregano tends to grow strongly, which can quickly get out of hand. So that it does not bother the neighboring plants, it must therefore be cut regularly. If it is used in the kitchen and for medicine, it can also be cut and dried in advance. The normal cut to contain the overgrown growth must be carried out at any time. However, if the plant is harvested for further use, this should only be done when it is in bloom. This is the time when there is the highest content of aromas and spicy oils. The more intense the sun exposure, the more aromas and oils are formed.

  • Regular pruning is necessary if the growth is rampant
  • Plant tends to take over entire beds and must therefore be checked
  • For harvesting purposes do not cut until the flowering period
  • However, individual portions can be removed beforehand
  • It is best to cut above a branch, this way a new branch is stimulated
  • Carry out the full harvest immediately after the flowering period
  • Harvested stems contain many small and extremely aromatic leaves
  • After the flowering period and harvest, the plant can be cut back to just above the ground (about a hand’s breadth)
  • Whole branches including the flowers can also be cut, but always above the branches of the branches

The plant is a survivor and can also adapt well to extreme cold, as there are also very cold winters in their native regions. Winter protection is advisable during the adaptation period and in extreme freezing temperatures, so that the oregano can recover quickly in spring and sprout flowers.

  • Despite its hunger for warmth, oregano is relatively frost-hardy
  • However, it does take some time to get used to the extremely harsh winter cold in higher areas
  • With the onset of the first frosty nights, winter protection is appropriate
  • Cover the garden soil and the plant with mulch, brushwood or fleece for protection
  • After the winter period in the spring months, cut the shoots back to just above the ground, this stimulates renewed growth

The oregano and its propagation

The plant is excellent for multiplying by division, sowing or cuttings. It can happen that after a division the plant gets a different flower color on a soil with different quality characteristics. Despite the same origin, this color change is observed in many places. Another reason for this phenomenon can be the change in solar radiation.

  • Propagation by division, seeds and cuttings
  • Freshly cut shoots take root best
  • Light germs, so the seeds are only placed on the ground and lightly pressed
  • Do not cover the seeds with soil
  • Commercially available potting soil and vegetable soil are suitable for growing in flower pots; these mixtures usually do not contain any additional artificial fertilizers
  • The soil is kept moist, but not dripping wet
  • In order to prevent the counterproductive drying out of the seeds, it is advisable to cover the cultivation pot with a freezer bag
  • If the pot has been covered, it must be aired once a day, otherwise mold can form
  • Alternatively, this can also be sprayed with a water mist once or twice a day
  • Temperatures around 20 ° C are ideal for germination, the first seeds germinate after about 4 to 7 days
  • A bright location should be chosen for growing the seedlings, but without direct sunlight at noon
  • Prick out the young plants at a height of 5-10 cm (separate seedlings)
  • After pricking / singling, these can be used to the midday heat

Leaves, flowers and the maximum height

The oregano can reach a height of 15-60 cm. Its growth depends heavily on the conditions that prevail in its location. The stems are square and reddish brown, on these are small and egg-shaped leaves, which have fine hairs. These leaves are used for cooking, but in most cases only after they have dried out. In the cuisine of the Mediterranean countries, oregano is an integral part and an important spice. It is very often confused with marjoram, as it looks very similar to it and also smells equally. The flowering time is in midsummer, with the onset of flowering you can also harvest. With the flowers, the aromas and oils are also developed in the plant, whose aromatic fragrances permeate the entire garden. The oregano is also used in medicine,

  • Growth height is 15 to a maximum of 60 cm
  • However, due to the extremely branched rhizomes, the plant can expand greatly in width
  • The elongated branches carry the leaves and finally the flowers
  • Flowering time is July to September
  • The herbaceous plant forms numerous oil glands that give off an aromatic scent
  • The oils are only formed with the flowering period
  • The flowers are pink to purple, sometimes purple
  • The dried leaves are used to season dishes and are an important component in the seasoning mixes “Italian herbs” and “Herbs of Provence”

Preserve by drying

The oregano has a very strong taste, with a slightly bitter trace and a hint of sweet spices. The essential oils and phenols in the plant are responsible for the development of taste. The phenols are said to have an antibacterial and antifungal effect. These complex aromas are developed in large quantities in the plant and are valued in many areas. For use in the kitchen and medicine, this is usually dried, in this way it is permanent and there is no mold growth.

  • Preservation by drying
  • Whole branches can be tied together
  • Keep the oregano bouquets in an airy and rather dark room, here they can dry slowly
  • Only after each bouquet has completely dried out, take it to the kitchen, otherwise mold can form
  • The flowers can also be picked and used for seasoning

Infestation with diseases and pests

The oregano is very robust and does not get sick and attacked by pests easily. However, mistakes in care and a wrong location can lead to withering and death of the leaves. It can also be infested with aphids and cicadas. Usually its own essential oils protect it from predators, as most pests don’t like them.

Aphids

  • Infestation of the leaves and flowers
  • Rinse the whole plant with plenty of water, the aphids can also be removed with your hands
  • Completely wash off the affected areas with a small amount of detergent and a suitable sponge
  • Repeat washing and wiping until there are no more lice

Wilted leaves

  • Too moist and permanently wet soil leads to withering of the leaves and the whole plant
  • Dry out the soil and take a pause for watering
  • In future, water less and allow the soil to dry out well between the casting units

Zikaden

  • Greedy insects that suck on the leaves and also lay their eggs here
  • If fungal spores can carry them along and infect the plant, flowering will not take place in the next year
  • Spray the affected plants with a very diluted vinegar essence or with a solution of neem oil
  • Spray mainly on the underside of the leaves

Conclusion
The oregano is a variable herb that is used both in the kitchen and in medicine. The herbaceous growth, the colorful flowers and the lush green leaves beautify every garden and are particularly suitable for a herb bed. The essential oils exude an aromatic and very strong scent, which is a real treat for the respiratory tract. Since it is very easy to care for and can defy frost, it adapts ideally to the conditions in the gardens in the local regions.

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