A unit of Greenways Nursery, New Delhi

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Oregano is an herb that has a strong scent and taste. It grows well in planters and often spills over the planter’s edge. Since it trails, it makes for a great seasonal ground cover, or one can use it to line a path. Enjoy the white flowers of Italian or Greek oregano in late summer against the lovely green leaves.

Here is how you can grow healthy oregano—

  • The spring season is best to plant oregano. The long stems look fantastic spilling over containers’ edges and to use as a groundcover.
  • Place your oregano plants a few inches apart. Make sure you use a well-lit and well-drained area. Make sure the distance between two Oregano plants is about 8 to 10 inches. For healthy growth, you need fertile soil of pH 6.5 – 7. If you are growing in warmer climates, give partial shade.
  • Adding a good quantity of aged compost or other rich organic material into your soil will give young plants fertile soil that they can take root in.
  • You should keep the soil moist. Water when it becomes dry.
  • Regularly feeding your plants with water-soluble food will encourage amazing leaf production.
  • After your oregano has grown, you can harvest the sprigs using some sharp cutting tool. You can harvest as often as you like to encourage new growth. However, it is best not to prune beyond one-third of the plant in one go.

 

Taking care of Oregano: what you need to know—

Oregano likes to be in the sun, but it can thrive in shaded areas also. Plants should be placed in soil that has a pH of 6.5 to 7.0 and has proper drainage. Oregano also thrives in containers.

Rich, nutritious soil is essential for healthy oregano. However, the nutrients aren’t going to last long, and you will need to replenish them. For best results, add nutrition to the soil and keep it nourished all through the season of its growth.

Oregano spreads easily. In the later part of spring, reduce its size to one-third of the original size to make it bushier. Oregano is best grown in a mild climate where it grows around the year. During the winter, small plants should be taken inside the home in containers. Remove any dead stems before there is new growth in the plant.

You can grow oregano indoors using a hydroponic (or water-based) system. This will ensure that you have fresh oregano all year around.

How to keep problems away?

Spider mites and aphids can attack oregano. To prevent diseases, make sure that your oregano is properly drained. Also, remove any browning and spotted leaves. It is easy to mistake an ornamental oregano plant with sweet marjoram in the garden, but the scents and flavours are very different.

 Harvesting and storing oregano—

For continued growth, harvest plants frequently. Start by cutting oregano sprigs when the plant has reached several inches in height. The right harvest time is mid-summer, after which you can keep the leaves for drying. The herb is more potent dried than it is fresh. To harvest a large amount of this herb, the stems should be cut at the top of the lowest set. This promotes fresh growth and will allow for a larger harvest. Oregano leaves can be frozen, dried, or refrigerated.

Now that you have harvested your oregano, here is how you can use it—

Most restaurants’ secret sauces contain oregano as the “secret” ingredient. It adds depth to Italian and Greek dishes, meats, fish, cheeses, tomatoes, and vegetables like beans and zucchini. It’s a delicious addition to green salads by lightly sprinkling it before you dress it. It’s better to avoid adding Oregano leaves to dishes that need a lot of time to cook, especially when using fresh oregano. If you are using fresh leaves, add them after you have finished cooking the dish to add flavour to it. You can also dry your Oregano leaves for sauces and other dishes that require long simmering. Craft-making can also be done with dried stalks of oregano flowers. Yes, you can make amazing wreaths with them.

So essentially, oregano has many amazing benefits. And that is why it’s a must-have in your kitchen garden. Just like a lot of other herbs, it needs proper care and attention. So, with proper lighting, watering, and nourishment, you can give your Oregano plants healthy growth. And trust us, they won’t cease to surprise you with their growth, and of course, flavour.