- botanical name: Origanum x majoricum
- perennial zones 5-9
- height 12-18″
- spacing 10-12″ apart
- full sun tolerant, partial shade
- dry-average, well-drained soil
- flower color white
- uses in garden: great in containers, drought tolerant, fragrant
- use in bread, pasta dishes, stuffing, and of course pizza
- attracts bees and butterflies
Hot and Spicy Oregano is true to its name; its especially pungent, which makes it a good choice for spicy Mexican dishes. Also commonly used in Italian and Greek dishes. Find great Oregano recipes here!
Hot & Spicy Oregano has a nice round, mounding habit. Plant in full sun or part shade in well-drained soil. Pinch out flowers to promote more tender foliage.
Some Oregano’s bloom later than others and some, like Hopley’s, Kent Beauty, Bristol and Dittany of Crete are valued for their flowers and we view them as mainly ornamental. The best culinary ones are Italian, Turkish, Greek and Hot & Spicy. Of these, Greek and Italian bloom about mid-summer through fall and have the most flavor-filled leaves right before the flowers bloom. Although the flowers are edible too, it’s usually the leaves that are used for flavoring foods. They retain their flavor better in hot dishes if added toward the end of cooking. Heating too long may result in bitterness. Harvest the non-flowering varieties in late spring as the oil concentrations rise steadily in the spring and then decline.
It is easiest to propagate from starter plants, take your cuttings in the late spring, and allowing them to root in a fine soil mix.
Start seed indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date. Don’t cover them with soil, as they need light to germinate. If you are worried about the seeds washing away, place a fine mesh cloth (like cheesecloth) over the seeds until they begin to poke through. Germination 4-7 days. Plant the seedlings out after they are at least three inches tall and all danger of frost has passed.
To harvest: bunch stems together and hang in a cool and airy place to dry. Once dry, strip the leaves from the stem and store in an airtight container. For fresh use, snip leaves or small sections of the plant after it has reached six inches in height. Keeping oregano clipped in this way will help the plant to bush out and encourage more foliage growth.
Many people skip the drying process altogether and simply chop the leaves finely, and either – add a small amount of water and freeze in ice cube trays for later use, or add the chopped leaves to softened butter. The oregano butter, when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, will last for several weeks.