Return to the California Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

How to grow Oregano with a strong flavor?

Posted by homey_bird (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 1, 11 at 13:03


When I was a newbie gardener, I planted oregano. It never had the same flavor as dried or fresh one found in the grocery stores -- it kinda tasted/smellesh sweet like marjorum. So after a year, I took it out and replaced it with something else.

I recently started it all over again, this time, from a strand I bought in the grocery store. I tasted the bunch I bought, and leaves tasted great. Now, after bringing it home, and putting it in the ground, once again I find that the leaves that have come up are not nearly as flavorful as what I bought.

Again, it's not that they have no flavor; it's just that the bitter-pungentness (not sure if I'm describing it right, but that distinctive Oregano flavor) or strong flavor found in the dried or grocery store-fresh Oregano is missing here and a sweetish tinge has taken over.

Any idea why? Am I watering too much? Do I need to give it more sun? I'd appreciate any ideas!!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: How to grow Oregano with a strong flavor?

  • Posted by sffog 10/SanFran (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 1, 11 at 15:13

i grow oregano and thyme, they like it dry, i find that they have a better flavor , the spring flush of growth is milder flavor than later in the summer when they get less water.basil likes water or it wilts.tarragon i like it mild so i love the first spring growth as for water just damp for tarragon, rosemary likes it dry, very drought tolerant.i hope this helps.

RE: How to grow Oregano with a strong flavor?

What are your soils like? I would venture to guess if it's too rich in compost, the oregano isn't producing the volatile oils in the leaves. A little clay & dryness can help some herbs flavor, imo.

RE: How to grow Oregano with a strong flavor?

I think both sffog and dicot are right. My soil is quite rich and secondly, due to the rains, all the new growth has been on plenty of water. Well - looks like I will need to be patient and see if it improves during summer months when soil gets drier.

Thanks for the advice; more suggestions welcome!!

RE: How to grow Oregano with a strong flavor?

In addition to what's already been mentioned, I would suggest the following:

a) When you cut the little oreganon branches, tie them together in small bunches and hung them upside-down to dry. I was told that this way, due to gravity, they keep more of their oils and are more aromatic.

b) It's best to harvest during flowering season.

I 'm pretty sure the time (eg. morning, afternoon etc) of collection plays a role but I can't remember what I read about it. You may want to look it up on the web.

Corfu, Greece

RE: How to grow Oregano with a strong flavor?

In general the more a plant has to struggle to survive the more potent it's flavors will tend to be, which is why some things are better when they are stressed (like oregano and peaches) and other things are better when they are pampered (like lettuce.) I plant herbs like basil and tarragon in my veggy beds and put the 'woody' herbs like rosemary in a different place where they go directly into the unamended clay and get much less water, and they seem to like it better that way.

RE: How to grow Oregano with a strong flavor?

Yup. Herbs are just nice-tasting weeds :-) They do not like being fertilized, like full sun, and just enough water to stay growing. Be sure to pinch off any flowers so they don't put any energy into producing seeds (unless that's what you want). And I always cut my herbs in the morning, but I'm wondering if waiting until the heat of the afternoon would increase the volatile oils.

Patty S.

RE: How to grow Oregano with a strong flavor?

  • Posted by jenn 9/19 (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 3, 11 at 12:59

With respect to the care and feeding of herbs: A close friend of mine grew up in a house where Oregano grew wild in their back yard. Her mother wasn't a gardener so I doubt she fertilized, tended, or pampered it in any way. The soil in that area is sandy/rocky. I always thought it ironic that her Italian parents had Oregano growing wild in their back yard, LOL.

RE: How to grow Oregano with a strong flavor?

  • Posted by hoovb z9 Southern CA (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 3, 11 at 19:09

I don't water my Oregano at all. It survives just fine on winter rain alone on a dry slope in full sun. It has a good flavor.

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the California Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here