Growing Golden Oregano in Northeast Florida Herb Gardens
(Origanum vulgare ‘aureum’
Golden Oregano Herb Plants / Origanum vulgare ‘aureum’ For Northeast Florida Uses and Origins:
Oregano herb plants are thought to be native to Greece, despite the vast popularity of oregano’s association with Italy and its cuisine. Oregano has been grown and cultivated for many years for culinary and medicinal uses. Many forms or varieties are available today, each with their own unique characteristics and common uses.
Golden Oregano is am unusual strain of Origanum Vulgare, commonly known as Greek Oregano, that has pretty yellow or golden leaves. Its has received the ‘Award of Merit’ from the British Royal Horticultural society and is growing more popular in American home gardens. Although it can still at times be a hard to find selection, Golden oregano makes an excellent addition to the Northeast Florida, Jacksonville and St. Augustine area herb garden.
Golden Oregano has a mild flavor that pairs best with vegetable dishes like rice , couscous or potatoes, where the subtle flavors will not overpower a dish.
Growing Season for Northeast Florida Golden Oregano / Origanum vulgare ‘aureum’:
Golden oregano herb plants will grow year round in out mild Northeast Florida Climate. Plant any time in spring, summer or fall from an S & J nursery container, or sow from seed in early spring.
Sun Exposure for Golden Oregano in Northeast Florida:
Plant Golden Oregano in a partially shaded area as a full sun location that most Oregano herb plants prefer will burn the leaves of the tender Golden oregano plant in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area gardens.
Filtered light under taller canopy trees will work nicely as well.
When planting Greek Oregano on a porch, patio, or as an indoor house plant, place them in a location to receive at least 6 hours of light each day.
Soil Preference for Golden Oregano Herb Plants / Origanum vulgare ‘aureum’:
Greek Oregano herb plants do not require extremely fertile or moist soils to grow and thrive. But your plants will still benefit from amending the soil with a good quality compost when planting. Avoid using cow manure or Milorganite as these will help the soil to retain moisture and Oregano prefers it a bit on the dry side.
In Northeast Florida, unless you have a sandy garden spot, planting oregano in dry soils may prove to be a bit difficult during our rainy seasons. If planting your oregano herbs into the ground consider adding some sand to areas where water will stand after rains, or planting your oregano into raised beds, elevated mounds, or containers.
Oregano makes an ideal container garden herb as it does not mind drying out and needs only a 12 inch space for its root system to develop and mature.
Water and Fertilizer Requirements of Golden Oregano Herb Plants / Origanum vulgare ‘Aureum’:
Golden Oregano is a selection of Origanum vulgare and should be propagated by divisions of existing plants rather than seeds in order to ensure that your plants don’t loose the intended characteristics of the mother plant.
In general, herbs require little in the way of fertilizer. To much fertilizer with herbs can be worse than not enough. Over fertiliztion can lead to lush green growth with a reduced quantity of volatile oils in the leaves. Reduced oils, means reduced flavor and aroma in your herbs.
However, in Florida’s sandy soils you may find your plants in some need of som help, particularly if compost wasnt added to the soil when planting. Try fertilizing with a mixture of fish emulsions and seaweed at one ounce of each per gallon of water. Put into a sprayer and water every other week or as needed with the mixed solution.
If you find your plant struggling at any point, make up a batch of compost tea and water generously. Repeat as needed weekly or biweekly.
Size of Golden Oregano Herb Plants / Origanum vulgare ‘Aureum’ When Mature:
The size on a Golden Oregano plants will range from 1-3 feet depending on location and harvesting practices. Expect Golden Oregano to reach maturity in its second or third year in the landscape and have up to an 18 inch spread.
Golden Oregano will do best with at least a 12 inch garden spacing.
Sowing Greek Golden Oregano Herb Plants / Origanum vulgare ‘ Aureum’ Seeds into Northeast Florida Soils:
Oregano seeds germinate easily, but can vary in growth, leaf color, flavor, and smell from the original mother plant. They can be directly sown right into their final location in the garden, or planted into pots indoors during late winter and transplanted into the garden after all danger of frost has passed.
Sow your seeds 1/4 th of an inch below the soil surface and remember to thin them to at least one plant every six inches or more in a row.
Propagate plants that you like the flavor and other characteristics of by cuttings or dividing your existing plant to ensure you keep those desired traits.
Golden Oregano should be propagated by division of the mother plant to retain the desired plant characteristics.
Harvesting Greek Golden Oregano Herb Plants / Origanum vulgare ‘Aureum’ in the Northeast Florida Landscape:
Golden Oregano can be cut and harvested at any time during the growing season, be sure to harvest your plant when flowers start to form so that your plants energies are put into making more amazingly tasty leaves rather than allowing it to flower and go to seed when growing oregano for use in the kitchen.
I recommend removing a third of the plants overall height when flowers start to form. Although you may want to just remove the flowering tip if you are not in need of any fresh oregano at the time.
Fresh oregano can be placed into a plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator for a few days.
Oregano herbs retain good flavor when dried. Store in an airtight container in a dark place for up to 6 months for the best results.
Blooms and Seeds of Oregano Herbs for Northeast Florida Landscape:
Golden Oregano / Origanum vulgare ‘Aureum’ will have small, pinkish lavender flowers in summer.
Oregano seeds are tiny, roundish tear shaped and tan in color.