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ORIGANUM vulgare 'Nanum'

Image of Origanum vulgare 'Nanum'

James H. Schutte

Family

Lamiaceae

Botanical Name

ORIGANUM vulgare 'Nanum'

Plant Common Name

Dwarf Oregano

General Description

This compact, spreading oregano is densely branched and ideal for rock gardens and walls as well as herb gardens. Common oregano is one of the many beloved European herbs in the mint family. Its flavor is especially prominent in southern Italian, Spanish and Greek cooking. The tough herbaceous perennial is quite hardy and spreads vigorously via rhizomes. In fact, it can become quite weedy if not regularly maintained.

The upright stems of this clump-forming herb are lined with highly fragrant, small, oval leaves. The strong fragrance comes from oil-filled hairs along the surface of the leaves, called trichomes. In summer, clusters of small lavender white flowers appear at the stem tips. These attract many insect pollinators, especially bees. Once spent, the flowers should be cut off to keep the plants looking clean and to encourage foliage development rather than seed.

Full sun and moderate to poor soil with good drainage will suffice for this Mediterranean plant. Neutral to alkaline soil is preferred. If culturally happy, it can spread quickly. If this happens, simply divide it every two years or so, and share the divisions with herb-loving friends. It can also be container grown. An herb garden is not complete without oregano. The leaves can be enjoyed fresh or dried and taste excellent in pasta sauce, on meat, fish and vegetables.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    10 - 2

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    4 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Herb

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    6"-10" / 15.2cm - 25.4cm

  • Width

    24"-36" / 61.0cm - 91.4cm

  • Bloom Time

    Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall

  • Native To

    Europe, Mediterranean

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Very Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Light Pink, Lavender

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    Yes

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Edible, Herb / Vegetable, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes