Plant in the spring after all danger of frost has passed in a location that will receive full sun to partial shade. Space plants 8-12″ apart in dry to average soil that is well-drained. Plant height 12″.
Drought tolerant, golden oregano requires little maintenance. It does best in partial shade; its leaves tend to scorch in full sun. Cut back dead blooms and shear your Golden oregano plants occasionally to maintain a fuller look. Grows well in containers or mixed pots. Attracts bees and butterflies.
Oregano, Golden origanum vulgare ‘Aureum’
‘Aureum’ is a fitting name for this variety of Oregano because it lends an unmistakable aura to the garden, with its astonishingly bright golden foliage. Starry white flowers and a low, creeping habit add to its value as an ornamental herb. Perfect around the edges of flower planters. Best when used fresh, although Oregano dries well and retains much of its flavor.
Kent Beauty, Hopley’s, Bristol and Dittany of Crete are valued for their flowers and we view them as mainly ornamental and although the foliage is aromatic, it is not usually used in cooking. 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, 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.