Information About Mexican Bush Oregano
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Mexican Bush Oregano: Growing Mexican Oregano In The Garden
By Liz Baessler
Mexican bush oregano can survive in harsh and varied conditions, making it an excellent choice for parts of the garden where nothing else seems to be able to survive. Learn more about how to grow Mexican oregano and its care in this article.
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On The Blog
Oregano is a perennial herb with rose-purple or white flowers and a taste reminiscent of thyme. Here’s how to grow oregano plants in your garden—plus, delicious recipes using oregano.
Oregano’s taste is zesty and strong and is commonly used in Italian dishes. It is a hardy plant and makes for a good ground cover.
- Oregano loves the sun, so ensure that your placement has full, strong sun for strong flavor. Some folks plant later in the season for assured warm weather.
- However, for a head start, plant the seeds/cuttings 6 to 10 weeks before the last spring frost. (See local frost dates.)
- Oregano can easily be started from seeds, though you can also use cuttings from an established plant.
- Plant the seeds/cuttings in well-drained soil anytime after the last spring frost. The soil should be around 70ºF.
- For thin plants, plant 8 to 10 inches apart. The plants will grow 1 to 2 feet tall and spread about 18 inches.
- Oregano makes a good companion plant for any vegetable in the garden.
- Allow oregano plants to grow to about 4 inches tall and then pinch or trim lightly to encourage a denser and bushier plant.
- Regular trimming will not only cause the plant to branch again, but also avoid legginess.
- Oregano doesn’t need quite as much water as most herbs. As the amount of watering depends on many variables, just water when the soil feels dry to the touch. Remember that it’s better to water thoroughly and less often.
- If you have a container, water until the water comes out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the container.
- To ensure the best-quality plants, thin out plants that are 3 or 4 years old in the early spring. Oregano is self-seeding, so the plants will easily grow back.
- You can divide the plants in late spring if you want to put one indoors.
- Harvest the leaves as you need them. The most flavor-filled leaves are found right before the flowers bloom.
- You can freeze the leaves to use during the winter. Oregano leaves store well and are easily dried. Keep them in an airtight container once dried.
- Greek oregano (Origanum vulgare var. hirtum) for cooking.
- Common oregano for decoration (its lavender flowers look pretty in the garden and are also used in wreaths).
Wit & Wisdom
- Oregano tea relaxes nerves and settles an upset stomach.
- Oregano was once used in many old-fashioned herbal remedies.
- For other greens to use in your cuisine, see the Leafy Greens: Health Benefits page.
- Oregano plants are said to symbolize “substance.” Find out more about plant meanings here.
Oregano is an extremely useful herb that appears in countless remedies and tastes a bit like thyme. It is great to have in the kitchen, especially when fresh from the garden! Learn about more flavorful kitchen herbs here.
With a clear knife or other cutting implements, cut an 8-inch stalk of softwood. Remove of the leaves.
When they’re at their best it’s ideal to collect cuttings in the daytime, before the heat of the day sets in and plants become stressed.
Dip the end of the cut stem into a powdered rooting hormone, and then place the stem into a kettle with a combination of sand and then peat.
Water as needed also to avoid the leaves, and to maintain the soil mixture moist but not waterlogged. Keep it in a place that is sheltered or indoors. After one to two weeks, when the roots are still an inch long, it’ll be ready to transplant.
My Storage Method
Once they are dry I like to crush the leaves and store them in my spice drawer. I use baby food jars upside down with labels on the bottom because I like to see the herbs and spices (looks like I need to replenish a few). It is important to store herbs in a dark place because light degrades their volatile oils.
The best way I have found to crush the herbs is to do it using a paper towel. Simply place the herbs on the towel and then fold it and squeeze the bundle until all the leaves are off.
Then pick up the paper towel and crush all the leaves and pour them into your storage container. No mess!
Now they are ready to use in any recipe or for tea. If you would like to have a powdered Mexican Oregano, Grind the leaves in a coffee grinder designated for herbs. Just wipe the grinder out afterward so you don’t mix flavors.
When you grow your own herbs, you will always have enough fresh or dried on hand if you harvest as they grow.
About the author
Welcome to my blog! I’m Cricket (yes, my parents named me that!) and I’m a natural homesteader. Growing up in rural Idaho with a garden, a horse, and lots of canned food, I like to bring those sensibilities to my suburban home in Phoenix, Arizona. Add a little dose of cottage garden flavor and permaculture tendencies, and you’ll see why GardenVariety.Life is a reflection of everything I do.
I truly enjoy sharing the skills that promote a meaningful and practical connection to our gardens and environment. Because so many residents of the metro phoenix area are transplants, I find that the area’s unique desert climate is often misunderstood and underestimated in terms of what is possible. That’s where the fun begins. Arizona is a burgeoning permaculture haven with homesteading written all over it, and there is nothing I enjoy more than encouraging others to jump in and give it a try.