Skip to main content

How to grow Greek oregano, a fragrant, zesty subspecies of oregano

As with most oregano plants, Greek oregano (Origanum vulgare) features fuzzy, miniature green leaves with white or pink flowers, so what distinguishes it from other types of oregano? The answer boils down to flavor. If you’ve ever wondered what makes Greek oregano different from the rest of the oreganos and how you can grow this hardy herb for yourself, here’s what you should know.

Greek oregano
Image used with permission by copyright holder

What is Greek oregano?

Greek oregano is a common variety of the oregano plant — in fact, it’s often referred to as true oregano. Since there are Greek, Italian, and Turkish oreganos from the Mediterranean region, there are nuances that you should keep in mind when you use these in your recipes. Generally speaking, Mediterranean oregano is usually more bitter and peppery than Mexican oregano. (In fact, Mexican oregano is from a different family altogether, coming from the verbena instead of the mint family.) Slightly spicy, Greek oregano is the strongest in flavor with a savory and earthy flavor profile. This tasty herb pairs well with pasta and pizza, although its uses in the kitchen are virtually limitless — it can go in most soups, salads, and meat dishes for extra flavor. As it’s a woodier herb, Greek oregano is also a great herb to dry; you can pluck off the leaves to microwave, air dry, or heat up in a microwave or dehydrator.

How do you grow Greek oregano?

Greek oregano can be grown by way of seeds, cuttings, or root division — capable of reaching two feet tall, it’s a prolific grower. If you go down the seed route, start your plant indoors about one or two months before the last frost. Outside, sow your seeds in the garden once the weather warms up to at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit. To propagate oregano by cuttings, cut the top part of a sprig that’s at least three to five inches long. Remove the bottom two inches of leaves and either root in water or stick it into some soil. The root division method is the easiest — you simply need to carefully untangle and divide the root ball in half to create two new plants. When placing your oregano in a planter or plot, remember that plants will be the strongest if you can keep them at least 12 inches apart.

How do you care for Greek oregano?

Greek oregano is easy to care for. You can grow it as a container plant or keep it in your garden as a groundcover. As an outdoor plant, it attracts pollinators and repels pests. These qualities make it an excellent companion plant; it’s especially beneficial for cucumbers, squashes, and melons. Greek oregano is also a hardy herb, capable of handling drought, harsh wind, and poor soil. In fact, over-caring for it with too much water or humidity can lead to root rot. This plant is perennial to climate zones 5 through 9, so it can tolerate warmer temperatures and prefers full sun if you can give it that.

While you can water Greek oregano frequently at the beginning when you’re letting your seeds germinate, allow the soil to dry out between waterings once the plant matures. As long as your soil is well-draining, you shouldn’t face too many difficulties with it. If you’re growing your Greek oregano inside of a container, make sure that you have drainage holes. There’s no need to feed your plant, but mixing compost into your soil can help it thrive during the growing season.

Greek oregano
Image used with permission by copyright holder

When should you harvest Greek oregano?

You should harvest Greek oregano before it blooms for the strongest flavor — it should have at least four to six leaves and be at least six inches tall. When cutting back your plant, use clean fingernails or a sterile pair of shears. Pruning is great because not only do you get a harvest from it, but it’ll also encourage your oregano to grow fuller. Typically, this herb dies in the winter and grows back in the spring, reaching maturity after two to five years of growth. To protect your Greek oregano in the winter, bring it inside or cover it with mulch once the temperatures drop

If you’re looking for a versatile kitchen herb that’s easy to source and packs a flavorful punch, look no further than Greek oregano. A low-maintenance herb that can withstand drought and most types of soil, it’ll thrive as long as you don’t overwater it and give it sufficient sunlight. After starting it in the spring, you’ll be able to have a bountiful harvest several times throughout the year.

Stacey Nguyen
Stacey's work has appeared on sites such as POPSUGAR, HelloGiggles, Buzzfeed, The Balance, TripSavvy, and more. When she's…
How to grow mint indoors with these 3 different methods
Whether you grow your mint from a full plant or cuttings, here's how to keep it healthy
Mint on windowsill

Mint is a phenomenal herb, useful for entrees, desserts, drinks, and even some home remedies. If you’re looking to add mint to your indoor kitchen garden, you may be wondering about the different methods you can use, and which one is right for you. Well, look no further! Let us show you how to grow mint indoors, and let us give you all the answers to all your minty fresh questions!

Basic mint care
Mint is a sturdy, hardy plant, and it is remarkably easy to care for. It is so hardy, in fact, that it has a habit of escaping gardens and growing where it shouldn’t! So, a primary part of mint care is keeping it in check and not allowing it to spread. However, this isn’t an issue for indoor mint unless you plan on using it in a combination planter (that is to say, planting it with other plants). In that case, you should usually be fine, but keep an eye on it to make sure it isn’t overtaking the other plants.

Read more
Spider plants are hardy hydroponic plants – here’s how to grow your spider plant in water
Tips for growing new spider plants in this unique way
Spider plant with spiderettes

Spider plants are wonderful plants. They’re often touted as great plants for beginners, forgetful plant parents, and college students. As they're easy to care for and hard to kill, there’s a lot to love about spider plants. They’re also very easy to propagate, making them great gifts.

If you’ve just received a spider plant as a gift, or are thinking of getting one for yourself, then this article is for you. Read on to learn everything you need to know about growing spider plants and keeping your spider plant in water.

Read more
How to grow pomegranates from seeds
Tips and tricks for growing your own pomegranates
A fruit-bearing pomegranate tree

Pomegranates are delicious, but have you ever thought about using their seeds to grow a tree? Not only do they produce fruit, but the trees also have beautiful orange flowers that add a nice pop to your garden. If you're wondering how to grow pomegranates from seeds, the process is pretty easy. All you need are some seeds from the fruit, time, patience, and a willingness to experiment.

Getting the seeds for your pomegranate tree
Gathering seeds from the fruit of a pomegranate tree is fairly simple. Cut your pomegranate in half and remove the berries inside as if you were going to eat them, and wash the berries gently under cold water. Clean the pulp off of the seeds and set them out to dry. This is where a willingness to experiment comes in.

Read more