Oregano is a Mediterranean herb with a pungent, earthy flavor. It makes a delicious addition to all kinds of recipes, including pizza, marinades, beef stew, pasta salad, and much more. If you’ve been thinking about growing your own tasty oregano, this article is for you!
In this guide, you’ll learn how to plant oregano from start to finish. I’ll go over what growing conditions you need, how to start oregano from seed, where to find seedlings, and even how to harvest.
With this guide, you’ll be well on your way to having your own continuous supply of delicious, homegrown oregano. Let’s get started.
Why Plant Oregano
Whether sprinkled on a pizza, added to soups, used in a marinade, or incorporated into a salad, oregano is a tasty herb that packs a lot of flavor into a very small package. It’s also incredibly fragrant with a deep, almost woodsy aroma which is why you’ll find it in savory dishes like this Instant Pot Tri Tip recipe.
Additionally, oregano is high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help your body reduce inflammation, fight viruses, and improve digestion.
Oregano is easy to grow from seed or seedlings. Plants thrive in a variety of locations with very little attention or care. It’s a great herb for beginners because it’s easy to grow!
Growing Conditions for Oregano
Learning how to plant oregano starts with knowing what it needs to grow. Easily enough, oregano is not picky, and it does well in a variety of growing conditions.
With adequate sunlight and the right soil, oregano grows well both indoors and outdoors.
It tends to be an aggressive spreader, so choose a spot where you don’t mind it taking over a bit. To keep oregano more contained, plant it in a pot.
Oregano performs best in sandy, well-draining soil. Unlike many other garden plants, It doesn’t need a lot of organic matter to thrive. Poor soil works just fine as long as it’s well-draining.
The ideal soil pH is between 6.5 and 7.0, but oregano isn’t too picky. It does well with a pH of anywhere between 5.5 to 8.5.
In most areas, full sun is best for oregano. Plant it in a location that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily.
The one exception is if you live in a very hot region. In that case, afternoon shade is beneficial for keeping the plants from getting too hot.
Temperature and Humidity
Oregano does well in a range of climates. Its ideal growing temperature is between 60-80 degrees, but it can handle hot summers and fairly cold winters. In zones 4-9, oregano is perennial, meaning it will survive the winter and come back the next spring.
Oregano does best in drier climates. You can still grow oregano in humid areas, just make sure your plants have plenty of air circulation by spacing them properly and pruning regularly.
How to Plant Oregano From Seed
Starting oregano seeds takes a bit of time, but the process is simple and rewarding! There’s nothing like watching tiny seeds grow into strong and healthy plants.
Starting oregano from seed is also a lot cheaper than starting with seedlings. An entire packet of seeds often costs less than just one starter plant from a nursery.
Starting Oregano Indoors
Starting oregano indoors is one of the best ways to grow it. Seeds germinate more reliably indoors, and young plants transplant well.
To start oregano from seed, it’s helpful to have some basic seed starting equipment.
A huge seed starting setup isn’t necessary to learn how to plant oregano from seed, but having a few quality tools is helpful. At the minimum, you’ll need a container or seed starting trays to plant in, a seed starting mix, something to water with, and of course, oregano seeds.
How to Start Oregano Seeds Indoors
Choose a planting container and fill it with seed starting mix. Sprinkle a few seeds over the mix and water gently with a spray bottle. Don’t cover the seeds because oregano needs light to germinate.
If you have a heating pad, set your containers on it to keep the seeds warm and speed up germination.
Make sure the seeds have access to light by placing the containers in front of a sunny window or using a grow light.
After about six weeks, and all danger of frost has passed, harden off the plants and move them to their permanent location outside.
Direct Sowing Oregano
The best time to plant oregano outdoors in spring is after all danger of frost has passed and daytime temperatures are regularly in the 70s or above. In fall, plant oregano several weeks before the first expected frost so plants have time to get established before winter.
How to Start Oregano Seeds Outside
Choose a suitable planting location and loosen the soil. If you’re using a container, fill it with a high-quality potting mix like Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix.
Sprinkle a few seeds over the soil and gently press them down to ensure good contact. Oregano seeds need light to germinate, so don’t cover them.
Water gently to avoid displacing the seeds. Keep the soil moist by watering regularly while seeds are germinating.
When the seedlings are a few inches tall, thin the plants to one every 12 inches.
Planting Oregano Seedlings
Starting with seedlings is another great way to plant oregano. Seedlings make it quick and easy to start, and they’re usually not hard to find.
Small oregano plants can be found at many grocery stores year-round. These can be planted outdoors or kept inside during the cold months. In the springtime, it’s possible to find oregano seedlings at garden centers and nurseries.
How to Plant Oregano Seedlings
Planting oregano seedlings is simple. Choose a suitable planting location and loosen the soil. If you’re planning to grow oregano in a container, fill it with potting soil.
Dig a hole for your new plant and place it in the hole. Bury oregano to the same depth that it was in the previous container.
Water thoroughly and watch it grow!
Caring for Oregano Plants
Oregano plants are easy to care for. They do very well with hardly any attention or ongoing care!
Rain is often enough to keep oregano plants healthy and happy. If you’re not getting regular rain, water your plants with about an inch per week.
Allow the soil to dry out before watering again.
Fertilizing usually isn’t necessary for oregano. Plants thrive all on their own, even in poor soil. If your in-ground soil is very poor and the plants just aren’t performing well at all, you can add a small amount of balanced fertilizer like Burpee Organic.
If you decide to use fertilizer, start with just a small amount. Overfertilizing often leads to rapid growth but weaker flavor.
Once the stems are at least four inches long, you can start harvesting oregano. Trim a few stems at a time or harvest an entire bunch by cutting the plant back by about 1/3.
Regular harvesting encourages the plant to keep producing, so don’t be afraid to harvest often! To avoid giving the plants a shock, don’t prune more than 2/3 of the plant at any time.
Oregano can be used right away or preserved for later by drying the stems or freezing the leaves in olive oil.
Wrapping up How to Plant Oregano
Learning how to plant oregano is so simple you may be tempted to start growing other herbs as well! If so, check out How to Plant Herbs. With our helpful guides, it’s easy to start a thriving herb garden.
For more tips on planting and growing, check out the Seed Starting page on our website. There we’ve put together guides for how to plant all kinds of things like flavorful herbs, beautiful flowers, and many different types of tasty vegetables. It’s a fantastic resource for beginners and experienced gardeners alike. You’re sure to find some tips and helpful tools to help you on your gardening journey.
Inspired to start your own herb garden? Then learn more about planting and growing specific herbs with our guides and info posts!