Origanum vulgare hirtum ‘Greek Oregano’ & Origanum majoricum ‘Italian Oregano’
Greek Oregano is considered by many to be the “true” oregano and is a major ingredient in Greek, Italian, Spanish and many other Mediterranean cuisines. It grows anywhere from 6-18 inches tall, has small white flowers, and has fuzzy oval shaped, dark green leaves. For culinary purposes, the aromatic leaves are best harvested just before the plants are ready to bloom. Allowing the plants to come into bloom reduces the vegetative growth and also reduces the flavor of the leaves. When harvesting, cut the stems, leaving 4-6 pairs of leaves on the plant so that it can continue to grow and become bushier by producing side shoots.
To dry the leaves it is best to hang the cut stems in a cool, dry, dark, and well-ventilated location. After the leaves are dry they can be removed from the stems and stored in a sealed container. When harvesting the leaves to be used as a fresh herb, simply cut the stems and place in an attractive vase (or a mason jar) filled with water and display on your kitchen counter. If you’re feeling really fancy, cut some other fresh herbs such as mint, rosemary, thyme or chives and create a culinary bouquet. Just snip what you need for your favorite dishes.
Greek Oregano has a hot and peppery flavor and is a delicious addition to savory dishes. Chopped and mixed with garlic, salt and olive oil, it makes a rich and flavorful marinade for roasted meats or vegetables. Italian Oregano has a milder flavor and is a foundation herb for most Italian dishes as well as Greek, Spanish and Mexican meals. It is commonly known as the “Pizza Herb” and is the most famous variety of Oregano grown by home gardeners.
Both varieties of Oregano should be grown in full sun in well-drained soil. Avoid planting in an area where water pools because this will cause root-rot and can kill the plant. Oregano is quite versatile and can be planted in containers, mixed herb gardens, or used as a groundcover to fill in around paths and as an understory between trees. It is fairly drought tolerant and its flowers attract butterflies and bees.
We are growing both Greek and Italian Oregano in our 4.25” herb pots and our 6 pack vegetable and herb flats. Give us a call, “Like” us on Facebook or check out our website at www.clearwatercolor.com to see photos of these and many other plants we are growing.