Kent's Beauty ornamental oregano help

coffeehaus(7a Central VA)July 9, 2011

A few years ago I admired this lovely plant at the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, NC. This spring, I bought one and planted it in full sun in a landscape bed. For a couple of months, it was in growth but not dying. Then it bloomed, and now it seems to be dying back and looking very scraggly. Is this normal for this plant in mid-summer? Initially, I thought that it might need more water, but now I fear that I may have contributed to its decline with too much water. I'm so afraid of losing it that I dug it up and potted it. When I dug it up, the plant appeared to be putting out some stolons that how it spreads? Our soil is mostly clay, although I amended the planting site with compost. When I researched it on the web, I read conflicting advice about growing it...full sun vs shade, dry soil vs wet...possibly related to different heat/humidity levels depending on where one is trying to grow it. Any advice? I don't want to lose my oregano.

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Yes, normal growth habit after flowering --cut it back, spread compost & water. Then it will put on more growth again. I have a different ornamental oregano & several culinary types that respond well to this trimming.

Yes, to how it spreads to form a larger clump to divide if it outgrows it's space.

In my mild WA state climate oregano does better in full sun, but I have it in several different places here with varying amount of sunshine. Depends if you have a hot summer climate where it might do better in part sun.

Once established drought tolerant in the ground in my mild summer climate. Not sure about your climate. I'd water if droopy or wilted, but not before as it likes to dry out some.

Hope that helps!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 5:07PM
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coffeehaus(7a Central VA)

I will let my plant dry out a bit in its pot between watering...think that might be the problem with my initial planting site. It is certainly not droopy...more like crispy as the few branches left turn brown and dry up. I do live in a hot and humid area (central VA), but thought that Kent's B. would do OK in full sun as that is the setting where I first saw this lovely ornamental in NC. I'll give it some protection from late afternoon sun and hope for the best.
Thanks, again.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 8:15PM
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coffeehaus(7a Central VA)

After potting up and keeping the plant in a semi-shaded area and letting it dry out between watering, it has responded by putting up some new green shoots! So, I think my problem was that the clay soil remained too wet, and maybe a bit too much intense sun/heat. This plant is really slow growing. I will re-evaluate my choice of planting site after it shows a bit more promise.
I remain cautiously optimistic.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 7:54PM
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Thanks for checking back & sharing your good results. We're all learning as we garden. Perhaps, it will do better with a bit of planned neglect (letting it dry out).

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 12:49PM
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coffeehaus(7a Central VA)

Further follow-up on my plant: it survived the winter in it's new location where it gets a bit more shade and has better drainage. This spring, it is putting up lots of encouraging shoots and spreading nicely, so moving it was the answer. I look forward to some lovely blooms/bracts this year.
So, the take-home lesson is if you live in a hot/humid area, give this plant good drainage and a little respite from the hot afternoon sun.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 8:17PM
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I have 2 pots of ornamental oregano. They were doing great all Spring however the blooms are drying now.
And they are a bit leggy. Can I cut them back and get regrowth for the rest of the summer ?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 10:20AM
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