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5 Steps to Protect Oregano from Cold

Lovely and healthy green oregano leaves growing in a pot

Introducing Herb Cold Protection Methods 

For anyone who has experience with it, you know that growing herbs takes a considerable amount of work. The beginning of the season requires tons of time and dirty hands, they require maintenance throughout the season, and there’s a whole other procedure when it comes to preparing them for the winter! 

Luckily, there are some really tough and hardy herbs out there – oregano in particular – allowing you to keep your herbs outdoors throughout the winter. Over-wintering your herb garden is a great way to keep your gardening maintenance to a minimum, while simultaneously protecting your herbs from winter cold. 

This article is going to go through all the steps necessary for making sure that your oregano plants are nice and cozy for the winter months, so that they’re ready to grow once the spring comes back around again. 

Why Over Winter your Herbs?

A bunch of bright green oregano leaves growing in the garden

There are a ton of creative ways to make sure that your herb garden makes it through the colder seasons. There are some herbs that are too delicate to survive the winter, but there are some seriously tough perennials out there that you can leave outside the whole season. 

Firstly you’ll need to find out which herbs out there are hardy enough to stay outdoors, and it’s safe to say that herbs that can growing in USDA growing zones 5 and up will be safe outside in the snow. 

Perennials like rosemary, sage, chives, thyme, mint, and oregano are all herbs in your herb garden that you can experiment with over-wintering. There are some steps to follow to ensure that oregano and your other herbs will last the cold months. 

Why is this a good option for your herbs? Well, plants are sedentary creatures. They don’t like being moved around too much, and they tend to grow more prolifically when they are able to grow in the ground. If you can make it so that they don’t need to be transplanted, chances are that they’ll grow even more enthusiastically once spring comes around. 

5 Steps to Over-Wintering your Oregano Patch 

Beautiful growing oregano plant in the sunlight

The way you approach over wintering your oregano plants will depend on whether they are growing in the ground or if they’re growing in containers. If they’re growing in containers, it’s a great idea to move the container to an area somewhat protected by rain and snow. Then, you can follow these steps: 

1. Weeding

Before it starts to get too cold, make sure to do some serious weeding. Removing the weeds from your oregano patch is going to make sure that the plants get a running start once spring comes around.

Since weeds are such prolific growers, if they aren’t removed from the base of your oregano patch before the winter sets in, they’ll start growing quicker than the oregano and there’s always a chance the weeds could choke out your herbs! 

2. Pruning

Making sure that your oregano plants get a good prune before the winter is another great way to enable them to grow their best for the new season. Pruning away any leaves or branches that aren’t doing too great not only ensures that all of the plant’s energy is going towards the healthy parts of the plant, it makes room for new, healthy growth in the spring. 

3. Protection

Now that the plants are nice and prepped, it’s time to start the protection process. This can be done in a few different ways or you can combine them all to make sure they’re really nice and cozy!

Your oregano plants will greatly benefit from a 2-4 inch layer of mulch. Mulch acts as an insulator for the soil underneath. The soil won’t freeze and won’t get as cold as the surrounding area, therefore protecting the roots from the winter cold. 

In addition to mulching the herb patch, you’ll need some protection from the elements as well. Shielding your oregano patch with something like burlap wrap, a cardboard box, or horticultural fleece will protect the plants from heavy snow, rain, and wind. These also act as insulators for double the coziness! 

If you have your herbs in pots, another tip is to lift your pots so that they’re not directly on the hard ground surface. This is because water can better flow through the drainage holes. When water freezes it also expands and this can sometimes crack the pots. Lifting up your pots can prevent this from happening. 

4. Propagation 

If you want to really make sure that at least one of your plants survives the winter, you can always do some propagating. Try over-wintering a certain number of the plants, but you can also dig up a couple others to bring them indoors.

You can propagate oregano either by digging them up and putting them in small pots and placing them in the window, or you can take little cuttings and keep them in a glass of water for the season.

This way, you’ll know for sure that some of your herbs have survived and that they will be ready for planting the following spring. Not to mention it’s always nice to have a little bit of greenery inside during the winter. 

5. Prep for Spring 

Part of gardening is always about looking ahead so that you make less work for yourself in the next season. Over-wintering can also be prep for spring! If you dig up some of your plants, it’s the perfect time to amend the soil with compost.

This way the compost can slowly decompose over the winter, and the temperature of compost also stays a wee bit warmer than the rest of the soil, thus furthering the cold protection for your plants. 

Wild growing oregano leaves in lovely bushes


There you go folks! Hopefully you’ve got all of the information that you need when it comes to protecting your oregano plants from the cold and long winter. If you follow these steps right, you’ll be garnishing pizza and makes stews with fresh oregano in the spring in no time.