Growing Italian Oregano in Northeast Florida Herb Gardens
(Origanum x majoricum)
Uses and Origins for Italian Oregano Herb Plants / Origanum majoricum For Northeast Florida:
Italian Oregano is a cross between Sweet Marjoram (Origanum marjorana) and Greek Oregano (Origanum Vulgare). It is touted to be the best all purpose Oregano as it holds the sweetness from it’s marjoram parent and retains some heat and spice from the Greek Oregano lineage.
The most popular Oregano variety, Italian Oregano (Origanum majoricum) has a sweet and spicy flavor that is considered the ‘True Pizza Herb’ by many and lends itself well to Italian, Mediterranean, and Mexican cuisine. Use with vegetable and meat dishes, or add to herb breads, butters, and vinegars.
Remember, like all Oregano it loses it’s potency when cooking, so add it in the last few minutes!
Growing Season for Northeast Florida Italian Oregano / Origanum majoricum:
Italian Oregano herb plants will grow year round in our mild Northeast Florida Climate. Plant any time in spring, summer or fall from an S & J nursery container.
Sun Exposure for Italian Oregano in Northeast Florida:
Plant Italian Oregano in a full sun to partially shaded area in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area gardens.
When planting Italian 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 Italian Oregano Herb Plants / Origanum vulgare subs. hirtum / Origanum vulgare heracleoticum:
Italian Oregano herb plants do not require extremely fertile or moist soils to grow and thrive, but Florida’s sandy soils 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 the soil to be a bit on the dry side.
In Northeast Florida, unless you have a sandy garden spot, planting Italian 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 into containers.
Italian Oregano makes an ideal container garden herb as it does not mind drying out and needs only a 12 inch space for it’s root system to develop and mature.
Water and Fertilizer Requirements of Italian Oregano Herb Plants / Origanum majoricum:
Origanum majoricum herb plants do not require heavy watering, they tend to like the soil a bit on the dry side. Weekly watering for in ground plants and weekly to biweekly for raised bed or contained plantings should be sufficient.
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 Italian Oregano Herb Plants / Origanum majoricum in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area garden When Mature:
The size on an Italian Oregano plants will generally grow to be from 12-18 inches tall. Italian Oregano is an upright grower and does not spread, making it the ideal oregano selection for in ground plantings in mixed herb and flower beds.
Sowing Italian Oregano Herb Plants / Origanum majoricum Seeds into Northeast Florida Soils:
Italian Oregano seeds are sterile. Plants of Origanum majoricum should be propagated by divisions of existing plants, rather than by seeds, in order to ensure that your plants don’t lose the intended characteristics of the mother plant.
Harvesting Culinary Italian Oregano Herb Plants / Origanum majoricum in the Northeast Florida Landscape:
Italian Oregano can be cut and harvested at any time during the growing season. When growing Italian oregano for culinary use, trim when the plant’s stems begin to elongate and flowers are beginning to form.
Fresh Oregano can be placed into a plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator for a few days. Chopped and added to butter, your oregano will store in the refrigerator for several weeks.
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:
Blooms of the Italian Oregano are a beautiful lilac color and highly decorative during summer.