Oregano is a key element in Mediterranean (especially Italian), Spanish and Mexican dishes. Oregano has a very pungent flavor that goes well with potatoes, tomatoes
, seafood and poultry.
Oregano is also high in antioxidants and fiber, which make it not only a great additive for meals but very good for you.
There are several varieties of oregano such as, 'Compactum', which grows very low and acts as a ground cover that gives off a fragrance when stepped on. 'Greek' oregano and 'Mexican' oregano are probably the most popular. Mexican oregano is very similar to Greek, but has a stronger flavor.
Oregano grows best in a sunny location with well-drained soil. It is very adaptable but does best in light, fertile, slightly alkaline soil. The more sun it receives, the more pungent the taste can become. In the garden, space plants about 24" apart; if growing in a container, try some of the more compact versions.
The purple or pink flowers can attract bees and butterflies, but are best picked just before the buds open. Divide plants every few years when they become woody. Water only during dry conditions to avoid root rot.
You can grow oregano from seed, but it is very slow growing. The preferred method is by transplants purchased at a local garden center or from stem cuttings or divisions.
Cut succulent stems as needed, and snip fresh leaves for adding to food. Hang cut stems upside down to dry in a cool, dark location with good air circulation. Pull the leaves from the stems when they are completely dry, crumble them, and store in airtight jars. Fresh leaves can also be frozen for later use.
Pests & Diseases
Oregano does not have any significant pests nor diseases. The only concern is to not over-water, as this could lead to root rot.
If you love Greek or Italian food then Oregano is a must in your herb garden. You can buy the store bought stuff in the grocery store, but nothing compares to the flavor of home grown, fresh oregano.