Oregano Origanum vulgare

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Not blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care


Oregano, as it is popularly known, is a perennial herb that boasts a dense and branching growth habit, typically forming a somewhat rounded bushy shape. This garden favorite is characterized by its square stems, which is a common feature in its family of herbs. The leaves of oregano are small, oval, and slightly hairy, adding a soft, velvety texture to the touch. They possess a rich green hue which can sometimes appear grayish due to the fine hairs. During the blooming season, oregano produces tiny flowers that cluster together in a spike-like fashion. These blossoms can vary in color, often seen in shades of pink, purple, or white, adding a delicate contrast to its verdant foliage. The flowers are a favorite among pollinators like bees, who are attracted to their sweet nectar. The aroma of oregano is unmistakable; its leaves exude a strong, pungent scent that is a signature in many Italian, Greek, and Mexican dishes. When crushed, these leaves release their essential oils, which are said to have several beneficial properties and contribute to the distinct flavor that oregano is famous for. Oregano is a hardy plant that can tolerate a range of conditions and is often found thriving in a garden setting or the wild, where its appearance can add a touch of Mediterranean charm to the landscape.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Oregano, Wild Marjoram, Sweet Marjoram.

    • Common names

      Origanum creticum, Origanum smyrnaeum, Thymus origanum, Majorana hortensis, Majorana hirta, Majorana origanum, Amethystea caerulea, Karda garden, Origanum angustifolium, Origanum dubium, Origanum latifolium, Origanum normale, Origanum stoloniferum, Origanum virens, Origanyum heracleoticum.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Oregano, also known as Origanum vulgare, is not toxic to humans when consumed in typical culinary quantities. However, consuming large amounts might lead to gastrointestinal upset, such as stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. In rare cases, allergic reactions may occur. Oregano essential oil should be used cautiously as it is more potent and can be harmful if ingested in significant quantities, potentially causing irritation of the mucous membrane and risk of allergic reactions.

    • To pets

      Oregano, which is commonly known by the same name in both humans and pets, is generally considered non-toxic to pets like dogs and cats. However, consuming it in large amounts can potentially lead to mild gastrointestinal upset, such as vomiting or diarrhea. It is also possible for pets to have an allergic reaction to oregano, though this is quite rare. As with humans, oregano essential oil is more concentrated and can be harmful to pets if ingested or applied topically without proper dilution. Therefore, it is advisable to exercise caution and consult a veterinarian if your pet has consumed a large quantity of oregano or been exposed to the essential oil.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Spread

      1-3 feet (30-90 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Culinary uses: Origanum vulgare, commonly known as oregano, is widely used in Mediterranean cuisine for its robust flavor and is a staple herb in Italian, Greek, and Spanish cooking.
    • Aromatic properties: Oregano is known for its warm and aromatic scent, which enhances the sensory experience of gardens and indoor pots.
    • Pollinator attraction: Oregano flowers can attract beneficial insects like bees and butterflies, promoting pollination in the garden.
    • Drought resistance: Oregano is a hardy plant that tolerates drought well, making it a suitable choice for xeriscaping or low-water gardens.
    • Ease of cultivation: Oregano is easy to grow and can thrive in a variety of conditions, from pots to garden beds, and requires minimal maintenance.
    • Garden aesthetics: With its attractive foliage and small purple flowers, oregano can contribute to the visual appeal of a garden or landscape.
    • Natural pest repellent: Oregano has natural properties that can help repel certain garden pests, thus reducing the need for chemical pesticides.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Antimicrobial: Origanum vulgare, also known as oregano, contains compounds like carvacrol and thymol, which have been shown to have antibacterial properties.
    • Antioxidant: The plant has significant antioxidant activity due to its high content of phenolic acids and flavonoids.
    • Anti-inflammatory: Research suggests that oregano has anti-inflammatory properties, which can be beneficial in reducing inflammation in the body.
    • Antispasmodic: Oregano may help relieve spasms in the gastrointestinal tract, helping to alleviate symptoms of conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.
    • Antifungal: Oregano oil is known to possess antifungal properties, effective against certain fungal infections like Candida.
    • Carminative: Oregano can aid in the relief of flatulence and bloating by relaxing the gastrointestinal tract.
    • Expectorant: Oregano may help in loosening phlegm and relieving coughs, making it a common folk remedy for respiratory conditions.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Natural dye: Oregano can be used to create a natural dye for fabrics, yielding various shades of brown, gray, and even greenish colors depending on the mordant used.
    • Insect repellent: The strong scent of oregano can be used to repel certain insects, including mosquitoes and garden pests, when planted around a home or used in a spray form.
    • Companion planting: Oregano is beneficial in the garden as a companion plant, helping to repel pests and enhance the growth and flavor of nearby plants such as beans and broccoli.
    • Preservation: Oregano leaves can be infused in oils or vinegars, creating flavorful preservatives for culinary use while also extending the shelf life of these condiments.
    • Mushroom cultivation: Oregano can be used as a natural fungicide in mushroom cultivation, helping to suppress unwanted fungi while not harming the mushrooms.
    • Fish tank addition: Dried oregano can improve the health of fish when added to aquariums as it has natural antibacterial properties beneficial to the aquatic environment.
    • Flavoring agent: Oregano is widely used in the food industry as a flavoring agent for processed meats, snacks, and other savory products.
    • Photography: The plant extracts can be used in alternative photography processes, such as anthotypes, to create images through photosensitive properties of the extracts.
    • Eco-friendly packaging: Oregano oil's aromatic properties are being explored as a natural way to produce food packaging materials that could potentially extend the freshness of the product inside.
    • Rituals and ceremonies: In various cultures, oregano has been used in rituals and ceremonies, burnt as an incense for its supposed spiritual cleansing properties.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Oregano is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    Oregano is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Happiness: Origanum vulgare, commonly known as oregano, is often associated with joy and happiness, as its bright, aromatic presence uplifts the mood and is a staple in sunny Mediterranean cuisine.
    • Peace: Oregano has been used historically to symbolize peace, with its calming scent believed to soothe tension and foster a sense of tranquility.
    • Protection: In various traditions, oregano is believed to possess protective qualities, used to guard against negative energy and often planted around homes for this purpose.
    • Health: Renowned for its health benefits and medicinal properties, oregano symbolizes good health and is often used in traditional remedies for its antibacterial and antioxidant effects.
    • Love: Due to its hearty and robust nature, oregano can represent enduring love, suggesting a relationship that can withstand challenges and thrive over time.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Oregano requires watering when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, which commonly occurs once every week, especially during the active growing season in spring and summer. It is important to water thoroughly, ensuring that water reaches the root zone without leaving the plant standing in water. Typically, you may need to provide about 1 gallon of water per plant, depending on the size and the environmental conditions. During hotter weather, you may need to water more frequently, while in cooler or rainy periods, you can water less often. Overwatering can be harmful, as oregano prefers a drier environment, so ensure good drainage and allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

  • sunLight

    Oregano thrives in full sun conditions, requiring at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day to develop its best flavor and oil content. A south-facing location is optimal for providing the most consistent light exposure. If planted indoors, a sunny windowsill or a spot that receives ample light throughout the day is ideal.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Oregano favors warm conditions and is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 9, withstanding temperatures between 45°F and 80°F, which are considered ideal. It can survive winter temperatures down to 30°F, but growth will be minimal. Protect from extreme cold and frost by providing cover or moving potted plants indoors during harsh conditions.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning oregano stimulates new, bushy growth and prevents the plant from becoming woody. Prune or pinch back the tips of the stems in spring to encourage fuller plants, and repeat as needed throughout the growing season to maintain shape. The best time for heavy pruning is just before the plant flowers, usually in early to midsummer, to harness the most intense flavor in the leaves.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Oregano, which is the common name for Origanum vulgare, grows best in a well-draining soil mix with a pH range of 6.0 to 8.0. A mix of equal parts potting soil, perlite, and coarse sand can enhance drainage and support healthy growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Oregano typically needs to be repotted every two to three years. It is essential to choose a slightly larger pot and refresh the soil mix to maintain nutrient levels and ensure good drainage.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Oregano prefers a dry to moderate humidity environment. It thrives in conditions that mimic its Mediterranean origins, so there is no need to increase humidity levels artificially for this plant.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide oregano with bright light, and well-draining soil.

    • Outdoor

      Plant oregano in full sun, with well-drained soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-10 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Oregano, commonly known as Origanum vulgare, begins its life as a seed, which germinates in the spring when soil temperatures and moisture levels are adequate. The seedlings emerge and establish a root system while producing a small rosette of leaves which grows into a mature plant with a strong stem and aromatic leaves by late spring to early summer. Oregano flowers in the summer, developing small, purple or white flowers that attract pollinators and subsequently produce seeds. After pollination, the flowers develop into seed capsules which disperse seeds when mature, typically in late summer or fall, completing the reproductive cycle. Throughout its life, oregano is a perennial herb that can survive winter dormancy, to regrow from the root system the following spring. Pruning and harvesting leaves before flowering can encourage more vigorous growth and extend the productive lifespan of the plant.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The most common method of propagation for Origanum vulgare, commonly known as oregano, is by division. This technique is best conducted in the early spring or fall. To propagate oregano by division, a mature plant should be carefully lifted from the ground, ensuring that a good amount of the root system remains intact for each section. The plant should then be gently separated into smaller clumps, each with several shoots and a portion of the root system. These divisions can be immediately replanted into a well-drained soil mix, maintaining the same depth at which they were previously growing. Watering should be done moderately to help establish the divisions, making sure the soil is moist but not waterlogged. This method is well-suited for oregano due to its tendency to spread and become dense, allowing gardeners to thin out patches and create new plants efficiently.