Oregano Plant Care | The Easy Guide

Oregano plant care is easy if you choose an area in part shade or full sun, space the plants 12 inches apart and make sure you plant in well draining soil. Allow the Oregano to dry out between watering and fertilize with pelleted chicken manure in Spring. Great companion plants for Oregano include Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.

Plant typeHerb
Plant size30 inches high, up to 20 inches wide
Main varietiesCommon oregano and Spicy Oregano
DifficultyEasy to grow
CostAffordable (around $5 for a seedling).
SpacingSpace plants at least 12 inches apart.
Where to plantFull sun or part shade.
Soil typeWell-draining soil that is rich with organic matter.
WateringLet oregano dry out between watering. Test to see if the soil is damp 1 inch below the soil before giving them more water.
FertilizerPelleted chicken manure applied in Spring
Best way to growFrom seedling and division.
Growth typeGrows all year round as a ground cover.
Container growingGrows well in containers and raised garden beds. Choose a pot that is 1-2 inches larger than the oregano and transplant to a larger pot as it grows.
Companion plantsChives, rosemary, sage, citrus, strawberries and raspberries.
HarvestingTrim tips using kitchen scissors. Cut around 3-4 inch stems.
DividingSplit larger oregano plants by taking pieces with healthy root systems and replanting.
Growing oregano from seedlings is an easy way to get started.

How to grow oregano: Step by step

Growing oregano by seedling is the best and easiest way to get a healthy plant growing quick in your garden. Here is my step by step guide.

  1. Choose a sunny or part shade spot in your garden that is at least 10 inches wide.
  2. Rake back any mulch on your soil.
  3. Add a handful of pelleted chicken manure, compost or worm castings to the soil.
  4. Dig the fertilizer through gently with a small fork or spade into the top 5 inches of soil.
  5. Make a small hole the size of the pot in the soil and place the extra soil into a spare pot or bucket.
  6. Remove the plant from the pot and place it in the hole.
  7. Backfill the plant with soil removed, place any excess soil in another garden bed or in your worm farm.
  8. Put the mulch back around the plant.
  9. Water in well to settle the soil around the plant roots.

The organic fertilizer you dig into the soil will feed the plant for up to year. You will only need to add extra pelleted chicken manure, compost or worm castings once per year as the oregano are not hungry plants.

Choose a spot in your garden that is in full sun or part shade.

Oregano – Key Facts

Oregano likes dryer, lower nutrient soils and have been used as a herb in kitchens for many years.  It is commonly used in Greek and Italian foods like:

  • Pizza
  • Pasta
  • Roast lamb
  • Roast vegetables

Plant type

Oregano is a herb which means the leaves and stems can be used in cooking. The best way to use it is to cut stems and leave them to dry in a cool, dry area. Cut stems to 3-4 inches long, tie them together with natural string and hang them upside down.

In 1-2 months they will have dried completely and can be crushed and used in cooking.

Find a spot in your garden that will give your oregano around 1 foot of space to grow.

Oregano Varieties

The two main varieties of Oregano that are easy to find are:

  • Common Oregano
  • Spicy Oregano

Common Oregano will have a mild flavor while the Spicy Oregano will have a stronger flavor so you will need to add less to cooking to get that true oregano taste.

I have chosen the Common Oregano as I want to use it mainly as a groundcover and prefer a mild taste.

Rake back any mulch before digging the hole for the plant so you don’t accidentally mix the mulch in with the soil.


Oregano is an affordable herb and a small seedling can lost less than $5. As your oregano grows you can lift and divide it and over time you can get many plants from one purchase.

You can buy oregano and grow it by seed which will be a cheaper option. If you only want 1 Oregano plant it is easier and more reliable to buy one seedling to start you off. As the plant grows you can lift and divide the plant to give you more.

Oregano Plant Spacing

Space your oregano plants at least 12 inches apart and give them a 6 inch gap between other plants. This will give them the space to spread. If you want to keep your plant smaller, trim it regularly. Oregano plants grow really well when trimmed regularly.

Where to plant

Plant your oregano in full sun or part shade. When they are grown in full sun the flavor in the leaves will be slightly stronger. Oregano will still grow well in part shade.

Remove the oregano plant gently from the pot. If the roots have become matted you can gently tease them out to encourage the plant to spread their roots as they grow.

Soil type and fertilizer

Grow oregano in well-draining soil that is rich with organic matter. Oregano is not a heavy feeder so you do not need extremely nutrient rich soil. I have always found that oregano will grow better if you add extra organic matter to the soil before planting.

Home-made compost, aged cow manure, worm castings or a handful of pelleted chicken manure are great for oregano. Mix together with the soil that you remove when digging the hole for the plant.

You can backfill the plant with the soil and add any extra to your worm farm or as a top dressing around other plants in your garden.

You will only need to fertilize your oregano once per year with an organic fertilizer like pelleted chicken manure. Fertilize in spring when the oregano will be growing faster as the weather warms. You can also top dress with a well-aged compost and nutrients will be washed down to the plant roots when it rains.

Move mulch back around the oregano plant after planting. My favorite mulch for oregano is bark chips.


Oregano is a Mediterranean herb so let it dry out between watering and always test the soil before watering again. If the soil is damp 1 inch below the soil then you can leave them another day or two before watering.

I had a large oregano plant when I was growing my vegetable garden in the Barossa Valley. The dry Mediterranean weather suited the oregano perfectly and it was the one plant in my vegetable garden that would still survive if I forgot to water.

I had divided my oregano into 10 pieces and planted it as a ground cover between my vegetable garden beds. It helped to keep the weeds down and would smell delicious when I would step on it.

Growing Oregano from seedlings

Grow oregano easily from seedling or small plants bought from a garden center. This is the easiest and most reliable way to get a successful plant. You can also divide larger plants as they grow by lifting them from the soil and splitting the plant and roots.

Simple steps to divide Oregano

  1. Wait until the plant is at least 3-4 inches across.
  2. Dig the plant out of the ground.
  3. Use a sharp spade to split the plant in two or more pieces. Make sure there is a strong root system attached to each piece.
  4. Replant each piece in your garden, pot or raised garden bed.
  5. Water each plant in well.

Oregano growth

Oregano grows all year round as a ground cover. It can grow to around 30 inches high and up to 20 inches wide but it can be kept smaller if you keep trimming it back. Let your oregano ramble across your garden or lift and divide it once it has outgrown its space.

Oregano is perennial so will stay green all year. Trim it back to keep it small and compact.

Container growing

Oregano will grow well in containers if you choose a good quality potting soil. Choose a pot that is 1 size bigger than the pot that it came in so the roots don’t become to cold or wet in a large pot. Oregano can then be transplanted to larger pots as it grows.

Plant Oregano with other Mediterranean herbs like Sage, Thyme, Rosemary and Marjoram. You can let your Oregano grow over the edges of the pot and ramble down the side. Oregano looks great as a feature in your backyard or plant it with other culinary herbs for a portable, edible garden.

Companion plants

  • Chives
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Citrus
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries.

I also love to plant small oregano plants near my tomatoes in summer because they work perfectly together in cooking. Oregano is a great companion to other Mediterranean herbs like Rosemary and Thyme as they all like to same soil conditions, fertilizer and watering.


Trim the tips of oregano around 3-4 inches down the stem using kitchen scissors or garden secateurs. You can strip the leaves off the stems to use them fresh in cooking or hang the stems upside-down with string to dry.

If you are not using your oregano in your kitchen you should still give it a trim to keep the plant compact. Trim oregano in the Spring growing season to keep it growing new soft stems.

Oregano Plant Care – Summary

Oregano is an easy plant to grow and is great in your garden and in cooking. They are a cheap plant that will grow quickly so you can divide to transplant new plants in your garden for free or give them away to friends.

Happy planting.