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Growing Greek Oregano as a Ground Cover

Updated on December 1, 2011

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).

For more information about native grown plants, and more, see links below:

Greek oregano
Greek oregano


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    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 7 years ago

      Thanks for great info. I never thought about using a herb for ground cover.

    • CountryCityWoman profile image

      CountryCityWoman 7 years ago from From New York City to North Carolina

      Hmmm, I like this very edible idea. Thanks a lot for the info. Rated up!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I think this make more sense as a ground cover than English Ivy which will take over and kill your trees. Plus we can eat it which makes even more sense.

      Thanks a million and rated up!

    • tnderhrt23 profile image

      tnderhrt23 7 years ago

      Very interesting hub...I'm gonna try this one out soon!