Intro: The variety of oregano used for cooking and flavoring dishes is Greek oregano. There are many varieties of oregano, and while others may be more beautiful to look at, make sure to purchase Greek oregano if you want to grow it in your kitchen garden so you can eat it. Greek oregano’s delicate purple flowers grow on spikes, but if you want to harvest your oregano for cooking, pinch these pretty flowers to promote more leaf growth that you will be able to harvest.
Scientific Name: Origanum vulgare
Plant Type: Perennial herb in the mint family
Light: Full sun, at least 8 hours every day
Zone: 5 to 9
Fertilizer: No fertilizer is necessary. Too much fertilizer will affect the taste of oregano.
Pests and Diseases: No significant insect pests or diseases generally affect oregano plants. If you do get an infestation, be careful when using pesticides or other chemicals around your plants, especially if you plan to eat your oregano. Use an insecticidal soap or other organic means of protecting your Greek oregano from insect pests and disease.
Propagation: Allow the oregano plant to flower and collect the seeds. Oregano seeds germinate within a week and are best started indoors. Plant the seeds outdoors in a plant container after the last frost has passed.
Misc. Info: Begin harvesting oregano leaves after your oregano plant has reached at least 4 inches in height (6 inches is better), and harvest oregano leaves in the morning for best flavor. You can eat oregano fresh, dried or even freeze it for long-term storage.
After two or more years growing in your balcony garden, when your oregano becomes more woody, it will no longer be good for harvesting. Tear down your oregano plant and plant a younger Greek oregano plant in your kitchen garden.