Plant in the spring after all danger of frost has passed in a location that will receive full sun to partial shade. Space plants 6-9″ apart in dry to average soil that is well-drained. Plant height 6-8″. Drought tolerant.
Does well in containers or mixed pots. Attracts bees and butterflies.
Oregano, Dittany of Crete oreganum dictamnus
Dittany of Crete is a spreading fragrant oregano with fuzzy grey-green round leaves and papery pink bracts that make nice dried flowers. Imported here in the 1940’s, Dittany of Crete gets its name from the Isle of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea. One of the smaller Oreganos, Dittany prefers well-drained soil.
Dittany of Crete, Kent Beauty, Hopley’s, and Bristol 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.
To harvest: bunch stems together and hang in a cool and airy place to dry. Once dry, the flowers can be used in dried bouquet arrangements or potpourri.