Your Guide To: Oregano

Everything you need to know to care for this zesty potted herb.

Having a pot of robust oregano in your kitchen lets guests know they're in for one seriously delightful dinner. Whether it's dried or fresh, the earthy green taste of oregano is versatile and easy to add to pasta dishes, sauces, dressings, and entrees. Oregano's zesty taste and hardy constitution make it the perfect herb for kitchen growers. Not to mention it adds a touch of old-world charm to any shelf or counter space.

How to Keep an Oregano Plant Happy

Oregano is traditionally an outdoor plant. It's easy to bring it indoors, but it does need consistent growing conditions to thrive. It is native to the areas surrounding the Mediterranean, which is why you'll find oregano in so many of your favorite recipes from that region.

How Much Lighting Does an Oregano Plant Need?

Oregano plants love the sun and should be placed in a spot with access to direct sunlight. Direct sunlight in a space close to a window will work well for oregano. If it doesn't seem to be getting enough light, you can add a fluorescent lamp or even a grow light to its environment to help.

How Do I Know When To Water My Oregano Plant?

Oregano plants like their soil on the dry side and won’t be able to adapt to over-watering. As a rule of thumb, this herb needs water every week — but you’ll need to monitor the soil to know for sure what your oregano needs. Every few days, test the soil by feeling the top inch of soil with your fingertip (or better yet, take all the guesswork out of watering with a Plant Moisture Indicator from our Accessories shop).

When the top two inches of soil feels dry to the touch, saturate your oregano plant’s potting soil with water from a small container or watering can. Pour the water out slowly, moving in a clockwise motion so that you can evenly water your plant’s roots. Any excess water will drip into the tray at the bottom of your plant. Oregano plants don’t like to let their roots sit in water, so remove this water before returning your plant to its place.

How Do I Use Plant Food for My Oregano Plant?

Plant food is an important part of fostering healthy vine growth and new leaves as your plant gets used to its new digs.

For a kitchen-size oregano plant in a container that's between 5 and 6 inches in diameter, insert 3 new plant food spikes (included with your plant purchase) into the soil once a month during the spring, summer, and fall. During the fall and winter, when the oregano plant is dormant, you can feed your plant every two months. Plants experience seasons even when living indoors.

What Is an Oregano Plant's Ideal Environment?

Oregano plants do well when they can absorb some water from the air. You can add some wet pebbles or gravel to your oregano plant's saucer to provide a humidity boost. Occasionally misting your oregano plant is also beneficial.

Keep the average room temperature in your home between 65 and 80 degrees, and keep your oregano plant out of drafty areas for best growth.

How Do I Prune and Maintain My Oregano Plant?

A kitchen-sized oregano plant will grow several inches every year, so it makes sense to have pruning shears on hand to prune back old leaves and make room for new growth. Leaves that are yellowed, brown, or damaged can be pruned back at any time.

Remember to rotate your plant a quarter turn every time you water it to make sure that light is being distributed evenly to each part of your oregano plant. Our plant trivet set makes this easy—and it's stylish, too.

How Do I Harvest My Oregano Plant?

Our oregano plants arrive ready to harvest. You can pluck oregano leaf by leaf and use the fresh leaves any way you’d like, from throwing leaves on grilled pizza, adding them to a light pasta dish with drizzled olive oil, or whipping up a Caprese salad. Start with the oldest leaves — those are the ones at the bottom of the plant — and work upwards. Oregano stem tips can also be harvested.

You can leave oregano leaves on the counter to dry or use a food dehydrator to create oregano that is more like what you’d find in a spice jar. The only way the process could be simpler is if you use a tool like our Pull and Pinch Herb Harvester to quickly and easily harvest oregano stems once you have removed their leaves.

How to Address Common Oregano Plant Issues

Most common oregano plant issues are the result of over-watering or a lack of sunlight.

  • Wilting leaves could be a sign that you are overwatering your oregano plant. Overwatering can lead to root rot, which is hard to get rid of. If you believe that your oregano plant has root rot, contact Greendigs customer service to discuss the next steps.
  • If your oregano plant is tilting toward the light, consider moving it closer to its primary light source. Remember to rotate your oregano plant a quarter-turn every time you water it so that the sunlight is distributed evenly over the plant.

What to Do If You Still Have Questions

If your oregano plant doesn't seem to feel at home in your space, we're here to help! You can chat with a live Greendigs representative on our website. You can also shoot us an email at [email protected].