Saturday, October 09, 2010

Growing, Caring for and Propagating Oregano

I have two types of Oregano.  The first one I got is the Cuban Oregano.  Interestingly enough, you usually find this in empty lots (like weeds), untended and growing like crazy.  That's where I got mine.  I crudely cut a couple of stems from some vacant lots and placed them in a glass of water.  The funny thing about this particular plant (the one in the picture) is that is rooted in a small container of water.  But then as it grew, the stem came into contact with the soil.  In time I just threw away the water in the container since the plant already rooted itself to the ground!  So true to its reputation, the Cuban Oregano is extremely hardy.   It's supposed to taste a little like sage or thyme but I don't know.  I haven't tasted it yet.
Now I also have one that's called an Italian Oregano.   The leaves are much smaller, but the scent is the same.  This is what you use for Italian dishes, naturally.  Now I've had this plant for over two months I think.  Since that time, it has probably grown 1 cm.  Slow huh?  Considering that it had good draining soil and was located in a prime high sun spot, I've been puzzled.  So I figured maybe it was just crowded (there being six plants in one small pot).  I divided the group of plants into two pots and separated the two pots.  Well, both are still fairly stagnant.  Man, they don't grow at all.   And it's not like they look all sprightly.  This sort of non-responsiveness drove me to do a little research.  And here's what I found out about Italian Oregano.

Sunlight:  Full
Soil:  Good drainage
Growth: Can spread but slowly.  Can grow up to 18 inches tall.  It grows very slowly.
Propagation: Division, Cuttings
Use:  As a spice.  Tastes better after it has flowered.  Also used to relieve children's cough.  Stimulates the appetite.
Other: Cut it back after flowering.  Expect new growth coming from the base.


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