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Origanum vulgare

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Kemper Code:  E420

Common Name: oregano
Zone: 4 to 8
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Missouri Native: No
Native Range: Europe
Height: 1 to 1.5 feet
Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet
Bloom Time: July - October   Bloom Data
Bloom Color: White to pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low

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Plant Culture and Characteristics

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  Uses:       Wildlife:   Flowers:   Leaves:   Fruit:
Hedge Suitable as annual Attracts birds Has showy flowers Leaves colorful Has showy fruit
Shade tree Culinary herb Attracts Has fragrant flowers Leaves fragrant Fruit edible
Street tree Vegetable   hummingbirds Flowers not showy Good fall color   Other:
Flowering tree Water garden plant Attracts Good cut flower Evergreen Winter interest
Gr. cover (<1') Will naturalize   butterflies Good dried flower     Thorns or spines

General Culture:

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Trim plants before flowering to encourage foliage growth.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

This common oregano is an herb that is grown almost exclusively for culinary use. A rhizomatous, sprawling plant which typically grows to 18" tall with a similar spread. Features pungently aromatic, flavorful, oval, dark green leaves (to 1" long) which are commonly used in cooking as a seasoning. Leaves may be clipped fresh as needed or dried for year-round use. Best leaf flavor usually occurs just prior to flowering, but the quality of flavor can vary considerably from plant to plant. Tiny, white to rosy pink flowers appear in loose, terminal or axillary spikes throughout the summer.


No serious insect or disease problems. Root rot can be a problem, particularly in wet, poorly drained soils.


Primarily grown in the herb or vegetable garden. If ornamental value is the primary consideration as opposed to culinary use, there are a number of Origanum hybrids and O. vulgare cultivars which display showier flowers and/or more colorful foliage (e.g., see O. 'Herrenhausen' or O. 'Rosenkuppel').

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001-2011

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