The genus Origanum contains summer-flowering, aromatic perennials and subshrubs from the mountains of the Mediterranean and southwestern Asia. The 2-lipped flowers have showy bracts partially enclosing them, and they last for many weeks in summer. Several species are used as culinary herbs, while other species belong in a rock garden, border, or alpine house. Origanum attracts bees, butterflies, and other insects.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsAromatic leaves, some with culinary uses. Long-lasting flowers in summer. Attracts bees and butterflies.
CareSite in full sun and poor to moderately fertile soil. Origanum needs well-drained soil, and some species resent winter moisture. If grown for foliage, trim plants back before flowering.
PropagationStart seed indoors at 50-55°F in spring or in a cold frame in autumn. Also can be propagated by division in spring or by basal cuttings in late spring.
ProblemsFairly trouble-free, but root rot, stem rot, aphids, and spider mites can sometimes be problems.