How to keep oregano alive in winter | 7 Easy tips

Oregano is a cold hardy herb that can survive winter with mulch, protection and companion planting. Set up oregano for success over winter by feeding it with pelleted chicken manure in fall when the weather is still mild. The plant can absorb nutrients, strengthen its stems and roots and will become frost and cold hardy.

This article will explore my top 7 tips for keeping oregano alive in winter and prepare oregano to grow rapidly in spring.

What happens to oregano in the winter

Oregano will slow its growth over winter and become dormant. For areas that get mild winters you may see some new leaf growth but it will slow in comparison to the other seasons.

Oregano leaves can be damaged by frosts but the main plant will remain protected. Leave any damaged leaves and stems on the plant until spring where you can cut it back and let it grow.

Once spring arrives, oregano can double its size in 4 weeks growing up to 12 inches high and spreading over 20 inches.

How to take care of oregano in the winter – 7 Easy Tips

Oregano will grow at its best if you take some time to prepare it for the cold weather. Here are my top 7 tips to keep oregano growing strong over the winter months.

1. Move potted oregano into a greenhouse

For areas that get very cold winter it is best to move potted oregano into an area that is protected from frosts. Move pots near a masonry wall or under a verandah. Don’t forget to water the plants as they may be protected from natural rainfall.

2. Fertilize your oregano ready for winter

Preparing oregano for winter is important to strengthen the plant and set it up to survive the cold. In fall add some pelleted chicken manure around the plant and water it in well. This will gently release nutrients to the plant roots and help to strengthen the stems and roots.

While you still might get some leaf damage over winter, the main plant will remain healthy and be ready to grow new leaves in spring.

Fish emulsion is a great addition to your oregano plant to help to strengthen it over winter.

3. Use seaweed solution to strengthen the roots

Give oregano seaweed solution at the end of fall to help to improve the soil and strengthen the oregano roots. Seaweed solution is a root tonic that can encourage the roots to grow wide and strong. A strong root system is the key to keeping oregano alive and healthy over winter.

4. Mulch oregano with a thick layer of bark or straw

Oregano can be protected from the cold winter weather with a thick layer of mulch. Use fine bark mulch to cover the area around the plant up to 2 inches thick. This will help to regulate the change in the soil temperature and prevent winter weeds.

The mulch can surround the oregano plant closely without causing damage. In very cold areas you can even lightly cover the plant with straw or sugar cane mulch. Once spring arrives, sweep the mulch off and allow the sunlight in for new growth.

5. Surround herbs with plants that protect them

Mix planting oregano, flowers and even fruit trees is a fantastic way to protect the oregano over winter. I plant my oregano close to flowering plants which will shade and protect the oregano from frosts over winter. I have oregano planted next to some African daisies and gaura.

I have been transplanting oregano pieces around my garden to form a ground cover and interplanting in a flower bed. These will help to protect each other from pests and form a microclimate that can help to protect against rapid temperature changes.

6. Try an indoor herb garden

Moving oregano indoors over winter may be the best option if you experience very cold winters. Oregano grown in pots outdoors are easy to move inside to protect them from frosts. Make sure you put them on a pot tray to catch any drips or place them inside an outer pot for a great feature.

Indoor herb gardens are a great gift, you can grow oregano from seed and move the pot outside when the weather warms in spring and summer.

It is possible to grow oregano indoors all year if you place it near a bright window with lots of air movement.

7. Transplant pieces of oregano in fall

Expanding your oregano crop in fall is a great way to prepare your garden for massive growth in spring. Oregano can be divided into clumps in fall, replanted and the roots will establish before winter. Divide the plant half way through fall and move the pieces to a new spot with improved soil.

You can also plant them into pots with good quality potting soil and move them into a protected area over winter. The oregano plants will establish in fall, slow their growth in winter and rapidly add new leaves in spring.

These are my top 7 tips for protecting your oregano in winter and getting the most out of your plants.

Should oregano be cut back in winter?

Oregano can be cut back at the beginning of winter if you want to neaten the plant. I prefer to leave the stems on and allow it naturally to grow over winter. At the end of winter I will trim off any damaged leaves or stems and it will grow new leaves when the weather warms.

If you live in a very cold region you can cut the stems back at the start of winter to 2 inches high and gently cover it with straw. Move the mulch back once the weather warms and the plant will regrow.

How to keep oregano alive in winter | Summary

Oregano can be kept alive in winter by surrounding the plant with 2 inches of bark mulch. Water the oregano every 4 weeks deeply and add pelleted chicken manure in fall to prepare it for the cold. Potted oregano plants can be placed in a protected area over winter to avoid frosts.

Oregano is a cold tolerant herb that will survive most winters, particularly in temperate or Mediterranean climates.

Happy growing.