Introducing the Essential Herb
It’s pretty much guaranteed that nearly every home on this planet has at least one form of oregano in it. Whether it’s dried, fresh, or coming in oil form, oregano is one of those essential herbs that’s just gotta be in your pantry.
Oregano is present in so many different cultures of foods, it’s super easy to grow indoors or outdoors, and it has a crazy amount of medicinal benefits that you may not have been aware of yet!
Just read through this article about all of the reasons why you should keep oregano growing in the garden, and you’ll be left wondering why you ever bothered buying dried oregano from the grocery store.
What Types of Oregano are There?
But before we get into all of the great things about growing oregano, let’s quickly go over the details about this fantastic herb. The primary species, origanum vulgare, is a Mediterranean herb that is a staple item in Italian, French, Latin American, Greek, and so many other cultures of food.
It’s a hardy perennial that grows its absolute best in USDA growing zones 5-9. There are a ton of different varieties and cultivars out there, with common oregano, Syrian oregano, Greek oregano, golden oregano, Italian oregano, and sweet marjoram just to name a few.
Whatever variety that you choose, it is sure to bring a ton of benefits not only to your garden and the surrounding species, but it’s going to benefit the flavoring of your food, and the health of your gut as well!
6 Reasons to Grow Oregano in the Garden
1. It’s so Easy to grow
Oregano it one of the perennial herbs that you can completely forget about and it will likely just keep growing with no problem at all. These are very non-picky plants that will take pretty much anything you throw at them.
If you want to keep your oregano plant happy, all you have to do is plant it in light and well draining soil, keep it in a nice and sunny place, and just make sure to water it once the soil has dried out completely.
If you do this, oregano will continue to keep producing a ton of flavorful foliage that will keep your kitchen interesting. Another great tip for keeping your oregano plant happy is by using it!
When you harvest oregano leaves, you should take an entire branch rather than just plucking away the leaves you need. Every branch you snip away will be replaced with two, creating a more full and bushy shape, which allows for more photosynthesis, which creates more energy, which grows more leaves!
And to boot, oregano is a perennial plant, so it will just continue to grow year after year, even if you leave it outside for the winter, and it will pop back up come the spring time.
If you’re going to over-winter your oregano, check out this article on 5 Steps to Protecting your Oregano Plants from Extreme Cold!
If you want to keep your oregano plant going, read this article on 5 Ways to Get a Bigger Oregano Harvest.
2. It’s Wildly Tolerant
Now that you know all of the things that keep oregano happy, you can pretty much just throw that out the window. All plants have preferences, but it is truly incredible what oregano can tolerant.
It can tolerate both extreme heat and intense cold. It will survive if it’s exposed to frost, and it will still survive if it’s the middle of the summer and you go away for 2 weeks and it doesn’t rain.
This is the perfect little to-no maintenance herbs that does just fine both indoors and outdoors. If growing indoors you will need to make sure it’s in a sunny window, but outdoors it will survive all by its little lonesome.
Watering your oregano plant too much? Don’t worry, there are Ways to Fix Overwatered Oregano.
3. It’s just an Essential Herb
Like we mentioned in the introduction, oregano is one of those herbs that should just always be around. It’s astringent, slightly bitter, slightly sweet, and highly aromatic qualities all make it the perfect addition to any savory dish.
Oregano can be added to pastas sauces, soups, stews, and it’s the perfect thing to add to poultry dishes like chicken or turkey, and fish dishes simply beg for it.
Got tons of happy oregano plans? Learn all about Harvesting Oregano 101.
4. A Serious Hero in the Garden
The fact that oregano is an absolute champion in the garden is probably one of my favorite things about it. It’s an essential member of the companion planting family – otherwise known as symbiotic gardening – where each garden member helps support the other.
Oregano does an incredible job of attracting beneficial insects. They do this with their very fragrant purple and white blooms that come around in the late summer that attract pollinators like bees, moths, flies, and hummingbirds.
It it spring? Learn What do with Flowering Oregano Plants right over here.
Another super cool thing about oregano is that it attracts insects that help protect it. Lacewings lay their eggs on the oregano foliage, and once they hatch, the bugs the feed on pests like aphids and whiteflies!
The intense fragrance of the leaves really deters larger pests like rabbits, deer, and squirrels, so it’s a great idea to plant oregano near other plants that attract those types of pests. It’s a win-win for everybody!
Got bugs? Check out these 6 Ways to Protect your Oregano Plants from Bugs and Pests.
5. Super Easy to Preserve
Chances are that if you’re keeping your oregano plant nice and happy, it’s probably producing more leaves than you really know what to do with, and you really only need so much of it in your pasta sauce.
You can always harvest little bundles, or you can always try your hand at preserving as well! You can dry out your oregano and keep it in little jars so that it’s ready to sprinkle on that cod, or you can also try making some oil of oregano which can be used for medicinal purposes, which we go over in the next section!
Curious about drying your own oregano? We’ve got you covered with 3 Fool-Proof Ways to Dry Oregano!
6. An Incredible Medicinal Herb
And we now finish off with the most remarkable thing about oregano plants. Oregano has been present in traditional medicinal practices for literally thousands of years, and that’s because people discovered very early on that oregano is a magical elixir.
Oregano leaves are chalk full of oregano oil and people will take that oil, and either diffuse it and turn into an essential oil, or you can use a carrier oil and infuse it with oregano leaves to create oil of oregano. They may sound like the same thing, but the essential oil is extremely potent and not safe to consume.
Oregano is jam packed with carvacrol which is power antioxidant. This makes the herb a really powerful immune booster and people will often take oil of oregano if they feel a cold or flu coming on, or you can use it to steam your sinuses if you’re already ill. People will even take it daily in the spring when they’re experiencing a ton of allergies.
People often say that using oregano can be better than using prescription antibiotics. Because it’s high in carvacrol and thymol, people also use it to aid their digestive health. It can be combined with honey and swallowed to help soothe an upset stomach.
It also has high antibacterial and antifungal properly. It is often used to help treat yeast infections of Candida based infections like thrush or athletes foot. Seriously, is there anything that oregano can’t do!?
Do you want to make your own oil of oregano? Learn how with How to Make Homemade Oil of Oregano right here.