Greek Oregano (Origanum vulgare var. hirtum) is a subspecies of common oregano, with a much stronger flavour and fragrance.
The term ‘oregano’ can be translated loosely from Greek as ‘joy of the mountains’, a fitting name for a plant found in the naturally rocky habitat of its homeland. Over the centuries, culinary and medicinal uses of oregano spread from Europe to China via the ‘spice road’, before reaching the New World thanks to the American soldiers who discovered it during the Italian Campaign.
Graced with beautiful white flowers, Greek Oregano is said to have been invented by the Grecian goddess of love, Aphrodite herself! This myth led to the Greek tradition of crowning newly married couples with wreaths of the herb.
|Latin name||Origanum vulgare|
|Plant size|| Height: 40 cm|
Width: 20 cm
|Container size|| Height: 20 cm|
Width: 20 cm
|Companion plant(s)||Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, basil, lavender, thyme.|
|Planting indoors||Feb to Mar|
|Planting outdoors||Apr to Jun|
|Germination||7 to 15 days|
|Harvesting||40 to 60 days|
|Planting||1 cm to 2 cm apart at 0.5 cm deep|
|Thinning||3 cm to 5 cm|
|Soil||Well-drained, light and poor soil|
|Watering||Regular watering, not overdone|
|Caring||Oregano is a perennial herb, which means that it comes back year after year without much work. Cut the branches down to the ground at the end of the season and cover it in order to give it an early start in spring.|
|Beneficial wildlife||Attracts bees, butterflies.|
|Pests||Attracts flower flies, which are a natural predator for aphids|
|Harvesting||Pinch out small branches as you need them. To achieve optimum potency, harvest the leaves just before the plant flowers.|
|Eating|| Medicinal properties: Oregano is an all-round antiseptic, acting against bacteria, viruses and fungi.|
How to eat: There is a long-standing debate in Italy that is yet to be resolved: is it right to put oregano on pizza or not? De gustibus non est disputandum! Personally, we prefer the lighter flavoured fresh oregano, which is wonderful in tomato- and meat-based recipes, although many enjoy the stronger, more pungent dried oregano on their margheritas!