Growing Greek Oregano as a Ground Cover
Greek Oregano as a Ground Cover
Greek oregano has been used as a culinary and medicinal herb for thousands of years. Although originally from Greece and Turkey, Greek oregano has been naturalized in much of the United States, and is often used as a low-growing ground cover.
If you are thinking about growing Greek Oregano, below is a Q & A list to answer some basic questions:
Does Greek oregano have other names?
Greek oregano (origanum vulgare hirtum), is a herbaceous perennial. It is also known as wild marjoram, winter sweet marjoram, Italian oregano, and just plain oregano and is a member of the lamiaceae family - the mint family.
Can you describe it?
The Greek oregano plant is a hardy, bushy, semi-woody shrub with fragrant, hairy leaves. Often upright, it can also have spreading stems and branches - and usually gets no taller than six to eight inches. The white flowers are hermaphrodite, which means they have both female and male organs. A Greek oregano ground cover is also strongly aromatic and is, therefore, rarely bothered by deer.
How does it grow?
- An ideal location for growing Greek oregano, as a ground cover, is in USDA hardiness zones 4-8.
- Greek oregano is easy to grow from seeds which should be sown in the early spring and after the last frost; germination usually takes place within two weeks.
- Seeds can be propagated with root divisions or cuttings.
For best results, propagate Greek oregano from a plant you know - this way you can get the ground cover you want.
- Greek oregano grows best in soil that is neutral, well drained and alkaline (with a 6-8 pH).
- Grow it in full sun and water sparingly to avoid root rot.
- To promote additional foliage, trim plants before they flower - in about 5-6 weeks after planting. Not only will this promote additional foliage, it will stimulate your ground cover to be denser and bushier.
- If you use plants from an established bed, thin the plants so that they stand 8-10 inches apart.
What about maintaining the plants?
Encourage branching by pinching back. Pruning is necessary to keep Greek oregano growing low and full as a ground cover. Also, the plant should be dug up and divided every 2-4 years to prevent it from becoming woody and less productive.
Any known problems?
As a rule, Greek oregano is a low maintenance herb and rarely has serious problems when grown as a ground cover. Occasionally, problems may occur that include insects such as spider mites, and aphids. There may also be some root rot and fungal diseases (see 'best results' above).
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