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LIPPIA graveolens

Image of Lippia graveolens

TL

Family

Verbenaceae

Botanical Name

LIPPIA graveolens

Plant Common Name

Mexican Oregano

General Description

There are many plants with oregano flavor. Most, like common oregano (Origanum vulgare) and Greek oregano (Origanum heracleoticum), are in the mint family (Lamiaceae), but Mexican oregano is different. Even though it tastes like lemony oregano, this favorite Native American and Mexican herb is in the verbena family (Verbinaceae).

Native to the southwestern United States, Mexico, Central and South America, Lippia graveolens is an evergreen, woody shrub. Its thin, arching branches are irregular and open giving it a sprawling look and thin. All year it produces small, fragrant, oval leaves with toothed edges that are dark green and rough to the touch. The flowers are small, star-shaped and clustered together at the branch tips. They are white or yellow and usually appear from spring through fall. Small, dry, round fruits follow the blooms.

Mexican oregano is very easy to grow in somewhat arid, frost free climates. It isn’t picky about soil as long as it has sharp drainage. Full sun is best though partial shade is tolerated; it will even grow indoors in sunny spots. This is a drought tolerant species once established but grows best with average water. Its only weakness is intolerance to high humidity. Grow Mexican oregano under the same conditions you would rosemary. This is a choice herb for dry gardens and mixed borders—especially those in the American southwest.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 8

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 12

  • Sunset Zone

    8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Herb

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    3'-6' / 0.9m - 1.8m

  • Width

    3'-5' / 0.9m - 1.5m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Summer, Early Fall, Fall

  • Native To

    Southwestern United States, Mexico, Central America, South America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Arching/Fountain-shaped

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Light Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Yellow, Brown, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Container, Edible, Herb / Vegetable, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes