A sun-loving Mediterranean herb valued for its robust flavor and distinctive scent, oregano, (Origanum vulgare subsp. Hirtum) creates a lush, green ground cover or serves as an attractive edging to a herb garden or flower bed. In a container, this trailing plant, which reaches heights of 6 to 24 inches, spills gracefully over the rim of the pot. Oregano is perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. In cooler climates, oregano is grown as an annual. Oregano roots easily from stem cuttings.
1 Take 3- to 5-inch cuttings from a healthy oregano plant when the shoots are soft and pliable in early spring. Although you can take plants later in the growing season, young shoots are most likely to root. Make each cut just above a node, which is a protrusion where a new leaf or bud is about to emerge. Use a sharp, clean knife to prevent damage to the cutting.
2 Cut the leaves carefully from the bottom half of the stems. Leave the upper leaves intact because they provide energy to the cuttings as they root.
3 Fill a pot with a lightweight, porous potting mix such as coarse sand, perlite or a combination of half sand and half peat. Any container is appropriate as long as it has a drainage hole in the bottom. Moisten the potting mixture until it is damp clear through but not dripping.
4 Make a planting hole in the moist potting soil with your finger or a pencil. Insert each cutting into a hole with the leaves just above the surface of the soil, and then pat the potting mixture generally around the stem. Be sure the leaves don’t touch the potting soil, as the leaves will rot and destroy the stems. Similarly, although it’s fine to plant several cuttings in the same pot, be sure the cuttings don’t touch or overlap.
5 Cover the container with a plastic bag and seal the bag with a rubber band. Place three or four sticks or plastic straws in the pot to prevent the plastic from contacting the leaves. Alternatively cut a large plastic soda bottle in half and invert the bottom half of the bottle over the pot like a dome.
6 Place the container in a warm, semi-shady location. If you notice fungal growth on a stem, remove the stem immediately.
7 Open the plastic container for a few minutes every day to prevent buildup of moisture and provide ventilation. Mist inside the plastic if the potting mixture feels dry.
8 Plant the new oregano plants into individual, 3- to 4-inch containers when the plants show healthy new growth. Allow the plants to continue growing for two to three more weeks, then plant the oregano in the garden.
Items you will need
- Sharp, clean knife
- Potting mix
- Container with drainage hole
- Plastic bag
- Rubber band
- Sticks or plastic straws
- Spray bottle
- 3- to 4-inch containers
- Take cuttings in the morning when the plants are well-hydrated. Keep the cuttings in the shade until you are ready to plant them.
- Oregano roots easily without assistance of rooting hormone.
- The American Horticultural Society, Plant Propagation, Alan Toogood, ed.
- Mother Earth News: A Guide to Propagating Herbs: Softwood Cuttings
- Kansas State University Research and Extension: A Grower's Guide, Oregano
- Bonnie Plants: Growing Oregano
- Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images