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Oregano (Origanum), also called Dost, Origano or Wilder Marjoram, is a genus of the family Lamiaceae (Lamiaceae) and is native to southern Europe, from where the plant reached all over Europe. Translated from Greek, oregano means "mountain delight". In the close relationship, the oregano belongs to the genus Dost, which includes 44 species. One species of this genus is the marjoram (Origanum majorana).

Due to its botanical name Origanum majorana, marjoram is often confused with oregano (Origanum vulgare). Both belong to the genus Dost (Origanum). However, while the oregano is a hardy perennial, the heat-seeking marjoram must be sown every year. Like all Origanum species, marjoram loves full sun and calcareous, well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. The best time to marjoram harvest is before flowering in June. The main difference between oregano and marjoram is the use in the kitchen: While oregano is considered a typical pizza seasoning, marjoram refines meat, fish, poultry, stews and sausages, which is why it is popularly called "sausage herb". Oregano can be planted in the herb bed as well as in pots and pots.

Bumblebee on an oregano flower

Whether marjoram or oregano - bees, bumblebees and butterflies fly on the flowers of spicy herbs

Appearance and growth

Oregano is a perennial herb and spice herb that sprouts from a richly branched rootstock every year. The 40 to 60 centimeters high, four-edged and upright stems loll slightly downwards. The leaves are ovate to oblong and slightly hairy. They are about three inches long, either entire or slightly scored. From July to September, oregano produces pink to purple flowers in dull or panicle-like inflorescences. At the top they wear a white-haired chalice.

Location and ground

Oregano thrives in very sunny and warm locations - preferably in a full sun bed or at the highest point of the herbal spiral. The soil should be light, well drained and lean.

Planting and care

From April, the seeds are sown at 20 degrees Celsius directly into the open. You can prefer oregano on the windowsill as early as mid-February. Here, the seeds are sown in pots or small pots, lightly pressed and always kept slightly moist. After two to four weeks, the young plants in the bed. Oregano, however, can be used to buy pre-cultured seedlings, as oregano spreads quickly, can easily multiply later by division, and in any case suffice for one or two plants for home use.
Seasoning sage (Salvia officinalis), shrub basil, savory and thyme (Thymus vulgaris) are also suitable as planting partners in the same pot. Crucial for a high proportion of essential oils is a poorly supplied with nutrients soil. The need already covers a composting in spring - otherwise oregano is relatively undemanding. In rough locations, you should cover the oregano in winter with brushwood. Since older plants tend to lignify, a regular pruning in the early spring is important. Cover the shrubs about a hand's breadth above the ground, then grow compact again and stay tight.


Oregano is a perfect fit in the rock garden and is especially good in the herbal spiral. By the way, he is also an ornament in the garden with its fine flowers and a valuable butterfly and bee pasture.

Harvest and recovery

The fresh leaves and shoot tips you can harvest continuously. While harvesting most of the herbs just before flowering, wait for a larger crop to dry and deep freeze until the light violet umbels are flowered. Only then the leaves unfold their full aroma and preserve it even when drying. So that the plants are well over the winter, they should not be fully harvested afterwards.
If you want to dry the herb, cut it off about 15 centimeters below the flower and hang it in an airy and shady place. For further use, the dried cabbage is rubbed or ground.
To promote digestion you can drink a cup of brewed oregano after eating. Oregano tea is also said to help with sore throats and coughs and also have a mood-enhancing effect, from which its nickname "Wohlgemut" should be derived. An extract of 100 grams of dried oregano per liter of water prevents flu as a bath additive.

Harvest oregano

For fresh use in the kitchen, simply peel the leaves off the stalk


Oregano replicates itself over root shoots and can be easily propagated by dividing the roots in autumn. You can also propagate Oregano via head cuttings.To do this, cut eight to ten centimeters long side shoots in early summer and place them in sandy-humic soil. Cover the cuttings. Slowly accustom the young plants to the sun before planting them to the final location.

Types and varieties

Greek oregano (Origanum heracleoticum) is native to Greece and Italy. He applies with its spicy aroma as the pizza spice. It is very winter hardy and has aromatic, white flowers. The leaves are very hairy. This species is very popular as a bee and butterfly magnet. You should dose the Greek oregano sparingly, because it unfolds its intense seasoning only when heated.

Crete Dost (Origanum dictamnus)

Crete Dost (Origanum dictamnus)

Crete-Dost (Origanum dictamnus), also called Diptam-Dost, grows on Crete and has young reddish, later silvery-wooly leaves. With its wiry stems, it is about 40 inches high and blooms pink to purple.
Peppery oregano (Origanum samothrake) has a peppery aroma and should be protected against winter wetness. Its stems are green and less woody, the leaves are hairy and the flowers white-pink.
A visual and culinary delight for connoisseurs is the hop-oregano (Origanum rotundifolium). The name refers to the hops-like flowers that develop in early summer. The leaves have a strong oregano flavor and serve, like ordinary Dost, also for seasoning. The attractive herb is not reliably frost hardy. In winter, you should therefore cover the planting area with brushwood and cover a foil as moisture protection over it.

Hop Oregano 'Pagoda Bells' (Origanum rotundifolium)

Hop Oregano 'Pagoda Bells' (Origanum rotundifolium)

Flower oregano (Oreganum x laevigatum) charms in summer with purple flower tufts on up to 40 centimeters high, graceful stems. The leaves of elites such as 'Aromatico' offer almost as much seasoning power as that of the Turkish oregano (Origanum onites). For decorative purposes, for example, the white-variegated oregano 'Variegata', gold oregano 'Aureum' or the gold-green oregano 'Thumbles Variety', which carries bright yellow foliage. Oregano 'Panta' adorns with white-green spicy leaves. Oregano 'Hot & Spicy' is hardy and forms spicy leaves in the garden from spring to late autumn, keeping its aroma even when drying. The variety 'Compactum' is a low-maintenance upholstery-Dost, which is particularly well suited for herbal boxes and tubs. With its pink to purple flowers, it adorns the bed from July to September and also gives edible flowers.

white variegated oregano 'Variegata'

An ornament in the bed is the white-variegated oregano 'Variegata'

Although not related to the Mediterranean plant species, the peppery Mexican oregano (Poliomintha longiflora) also tastes just like the pizza spice. The 60-centimeter-high shrub from the south of the USA blooms from May to September. Initially, the flowers are white, but later turn pink. You can harvest whole branches and dry them without losing their taste. It is best to put the plant in a pot in which the water can always drain well. In addition, you must winter Mexican Oregano frost-free, but cool.

Diseases and pests

If the lower leaves of the oregano turn yellow, this indicates a lack of nutrients. Then it is necessary to add some organic liquid fertilizer in the irrigation water or incorporate horn meal around the shrubs in the soil. In addition, cicadas or aphids may occur, but generally, oregano is less susceptible to diseases and pests.

Video Board: Salamat Dok: Health benefits of Oregano.

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