Oregano, with the scientific name Origanum vulgare , is a very popular aromatic plant for its culinary and health-beneficial properties. It is a fundamental ingredient of the Mediterranean diet, whose leaves are usually consumed dried to flavor dishes or to make infusions.
If you want to have this aromatic plant at home and learn how to take care of it to take advantage of it, join us in this article on when and how to plant oregano , care for it and dry it for consumption.
When to plant oregano
Towards the end of winter you can start preparing the seedlings to sow the oregano . If you want to plant directly in its final location, you will have to wait until spring, when temperatures do not drop below 19 ºC, but we recommend advancing sowing using the seedbed method. It is important that the room in which the seedbed is located maintains a stable temperature of between 19 and 22 ºC .
How to plant oregano
Follow these steps to sow seeds and then plant the oregano :
- If you have your oregano seeds, prepare some seedlings with substrate made with a part of peat, a part of coconut fiber and a part of earthworm humus , as well as a small addition of vermiculite and perlite. This is a universal seedbed substrate that works great and you can make at home for not much money.
- Spread the oregano seeds around the seedbeds, then cover them and water by spraying so that the water does not pile them all at the same point.
- Keep the seedlings in a lighted room but not exposed to direct sunlight, at a temperature between 19 and 22 ºC, and water enough to keep the substrate moist but never waterlogged.
- After about three weeks, your oregano seeds should have germinated and grown enough to be ready for pot or outdoor transplantation.
- When doing so, make sure that you place them in a pot with at least 30 cm deep, and if the plants are in the ground, respect a little less than half a meter of distance between plants.
It is also possible and highly recommended to reproduce oregano by cuttings , since these take root very easily and reproduction tends to be successful.
- To carry out the cutting, cut a branch of at least 10 cm from the plant in spring. It is advisable to do it below a node, and also free the lower half of the stem from secondary branches.
- Once this is done, submerge the stem in water, and change it every two days.
- It shouldn’t take long to see the first roots appear. Oregano does not need the use of rooting agents to stimulate the appearance of roots, but if it seems that your plant needs a boost, you can use some of the natural rooting agents that are available, such as cinnamon powder.
- Once the branch has developed roots, it is ready to be planted.
Oregano plant: basic care
Now that you know how to plant oregano, both by getting the seedlings from the seeds and by cuttings, learn the basic care of the oregano plant :
Oregano is a plant that is not picky about the type of soil. Use generic substrate, and simply add a contribution of vermicompost to enrich it in organic matter. This addition of organic matter should be repeated once a year, to enrich it and prevent the soil from compacting excessively.
This aromatic plant will also appreciate receiving direct sunlight for at least 4 hours a day. Put the pot or plant in a place that is as sunny as possible.
Watering the oregano
Like most plants, oregano does not like its substrate to puddle. In fact, this is very harmful to almost any plant. Water periodically, but without excess water, so that the substrate always has some moisture, but never floods.
Oregano can withstand low temperatures, but its quality as an aromatic and ingredient will be higher if it grows in hot climates.
How to dry oregano
Oregano must be collected after the plant has flowered, so it is usual to harvest oregano at the beginning of summer , which is when its leaves are most aromatic and tasty. To dry the oregano
- Cut the branches you want to harvest with properly disinfected pruning shears, making a clean cut at ground level or in the upper half of the stem.
- Tie the stems in a bouquet with string or string.
- Hang it upside down in a dry, ventilated place in the shade.
- Depending on the local climate, it will take a variable time to dry completely, although the average time is around a week.
- Once dry, separate the leaves and flowers from the stems, and store them in an airtight container.