- Type Hardy herb
- Lifespan Perennial
- Growing Zones 6-9
- Light Sun
- Water Drought tolerant
- When to Plant Sow spring seeds
- Companions Peppers, parsley
- Design Tip Aromatic ground cover
- Peak Season Summer
Oregano: A Field Guide
Oregano can be a best friend to both chefs and butterflies. A hardworking perennial herb that hails from Mediterranean climes, oregano’s many cultivars make it useful as both a culinary spice and an ornamental flower.
The most popular oreganos to grow for cooking purposes fall into two flavor camps: milder and sweeter (Origanum majorana) or strongly herbal (Origanum vulgare). All oreganos share an affinity for sunny climates and dry (or well-drained soil). If you are trying to decide where to plant oregano in your own garden, close your eyes, picture the landscapes of Greece, Italy, or the Middle East—and pick a bright, dry spot where your clump of herbs will thrive.
Ornamental oreganos will grow wild in a garden or in fields, with flowers that attract butterflies and other pollinators. Some of our favorite ornamental varieties—to use as meadow gardens or ground covers—include ‘Kent Beauty’ (with a blush-pink tinge to its leaves), ‘Hopley’s Purple’, and ‘Aureum’ (a gold-leafed creeper which is edible as well).