The three varieties normally grown are 'wild marjoram' (common
oregano), pot marjoram and sweet or knotted marjoram.
Oregano - hardy perennial
Marjoram - half hardy annual
Full sun, light well-drained soil
to Harvest Time
June to November outside, all year with protection.
They are all easy to grow, well-suited to
containers and very useful in the kitchen. Because their leaves
are very flavourful, a few leaves go a long way. The
leaves of a one year old plant can be harvested from
November when grown in the open, and all year round if some form
of protection is available. They do very well as indoor pot
Although most renowned for flavouring Italian pizzas and pasta dishes, in
all probability they originated from their Greece - in Greek
their name means 'joy of the mountain' - click on the Folklore
link in the right hand box to find out why.
Marjoram or Oregano?
To clear up some confusion, take it from GardenAction that all
marjoram varieties are oreganos, (the genus name for both is now 'origanum'),
and 'wild marjoram' is in fact common oregano (Origanum vulgare).
To Grow Oregano
do best in full sun, indicating their Mediterranean origins. Light
(chalky is ideal) well-drained soil suits them best, and they require
little or no feeding.
and Care of Oregano
is very tolerant of most conditions and requires very little care.
Ensure that they they do not dry out to much in the first few months,
but after that they will tolerate drought very well. The leaves should
be harvested just before they begin to flower in
time - if
harvested when the flowers have set seed, the taste becomes more bitter.
An alternative is to trim off the flower heads when they form - in this
way, the leaves can be harvested in small amounts through to
leaves of wild and pot marjoram will die down soon after frost occurs,
but the roots will survive and provide new plants the next Spring.
Oregano is not tolerant of very severe frosts, so any protection such as
leaves over the dormant roots in winter will increase their survival
and pot marjoram can be sown in a seed bed directly outside in
Sow the seed 2cm (3/4in) deep and 15cm (6in) apart - thin to 30cm (12in)
apart when the seedlings emerge two weeks later.
In the case of sweet/knotted marjoram (more frost tender) and all plants
for container growing, sow indoors in pots during
hardening off the plants in
April, after which they can be potted up or
seed as described above and transplants into a 30cm (12in) pot in
Water when the soil dries out. Feed the plants only twice in the growing
season to preserve the flavour of the leaves.
is best used as a dried herb - pick the leaves on a dry day and place
them in a dark, dry and moderately warm place until they have thoroughly
dried. They can then be stored in an airtight container as whole or
crumbled leaves - they will retain their flavour for three months or
or knotted marjoram is best used as a fresh herb, and the leaves should
be harvested whenever required.
HERB INDEX PAGE