Unsurprisingly, Greek Oregano was originally grown in Greece. It was believed to be created by the Goddess Aphrodite, who denoted it as a symbol of joy (the name is from the Greek words oros and gonos, in entirety meaning “joy of the mountains”).
In this blog, we’ll be talking about everything related to growing oregano indoors, from basic facts, supplies, setup, and steps to grow, care for and harvest it.
Oregano sprouts in 1-2 weeks then they can be harvested from Month 3+ on.
Oregano needs an equivalent of 6+ hours of direct sun [DLI of 18+ mol/m²/day]..
Growing oregano indoors is Beginner friendly. You’ll sprout, thin, prune, and harvest.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Ways to Grow Oregano Indoors
Growing Oregano Indoors Using Soil vs Hydroponics vs Microgreens
Growing Oregano Indoors Using Soil
Oregano plants don’t do well in moist soil conditions. The roots are not accustomed to being too wet and will rot in boggy conditions. On the other hand, if the soil dries out completely the roots will die back and the plant won’t recover. This can catch you off guard because the plant’s not very expressive (its leaves don’t wilt) so it will look fine right up until it dies.
Growing Oregano Indoors Using Hydroponics
Unlike other herbs, oregano does not grow well in hydroponic systems such as the aerogarden, as they do not prefer moist soil conditions.
Equipment Needed for Growing Oregano Indoors Using Soil
We prefer using a Ceramic Self Watering Planter filled with a free-draining potting mix that self-regulates to keep the soil on the drier side, but with a little consistent moisture (and means no watering guesswork for you). Careful of wick-based self-watering planters with Oregano - as they tend to be too wet.
To set one up:
- Fill up the planter with dry soil from the bag, gently tamping down the top.
- Dump the soil into a large mixing bowl and add water until the soil is moist, but not sopping wet (about ½ Cup)
- Mix in 1 tablespoon of the Balanced Blend Plant Food.
If you are using a regular pot instead, it should be a little bit bigger (at least 8" / 1 gal and will need drainage holes to prevent it from being overwatered. Let the top of the soil dry out between watering.
Here is another self-watering planter that we recommend:
Growing Oregano Indoors as Microgreens
You can definitely grow oregano as microgreens, especially if you love its pungent aroma and soft leaves. Take note though, that oregano is not as fast-growing as other kinds of microgreens, so if you’d like to be able to eat your microgreens in less than a week, then you should look into other plants instead.
Grab a copy of our eBook to learn more about all the different ways you can grow oregano (and more!) at home.
Care and Maintenance of Oregano Indoors
Lighting for Growing Oregano Indoors
While you should take advantage of the sun (it’s free and perfect for plants) there are limited circumstances where indoor natural light is enough for Oregano plants to grow well. A very bright window can cut your grow light needs in half, but if you want to grow lots of Oregano, you’ll still need one.
For an introduction to grow lights, head over to our post on grow lights for indoor gardeners. We’ve also got a buying guide for screw in types, but to keep things simple in this guide, we’ll just provide directions for the 24W Screw in Bulb by Sansi, which we think is a good middle-of-the-road option.
How bright should your grow light be?
Oregano plants need the equivalent of 6+ hours of direct sunlight [DLI of 18+ mol/m²/day] to grow their best. In order to provide an equivalent amount with a grow light, it needs to be pretty bright! The 24W Sansi bulb should be placed 6 inches away from the top of the plant. This will give your PPFD (the standard measure of brightness) of 500 μmol/m²/s.
How many hours per day do your Oregano plants need under a grow light?
Oregano plants are what’s known as “day-neutral” so can grow under a range of daylight lengths. In order for them to get enough light, we recommend setting up a timer to leave it on for 12+ hours per day.
What is The Right Temperature for Your Indoor Oregano Plant?
Oregano Plants Grow Faster in Warmer Temps
Oregano plants are called “warm-weather crops” and will speed up their metabolism when temperatures are warmer. On the other hand, if things get too hot they’ll wilt and become prone to disease. Ideal temperatures are around 70°F but anything between 55 and 90°F grows well.
Water and Humidity: How Often to Water Oregano Indoors
Herbs such as oregano thrive on adequate moisture but can suffer if they’re waterlogged, so make sure to water them regularly - but not too much, especially if you’re using soil. To avoid your indoor oregano plant being waterlogged, make sure to use a pot with drainage, or just use self-watering pots, as mentioned above.
Nutrients and Fertilizers
Oregano likes to start with nutrients that are equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (with NPK numbers like 10-10-10). For this Balanced Blend we recommend: Dr Earth All Purpose
Once they are growing, it’s better to use plant food that is high in nitrogen (with NPK numbers like 10-5-5). For this Herb Blend we recommend: Joyful Dirt All Purpose
Moving Your Indoor Parsley Plant Outdoors
Oregano mostly thrives in warm temperatures, as we talked about above, so we suggest moving your oregano plant outdoors only when the temperature is warm enough. To learn more about how to grow your oregano outdoors, check this out. (coming soon!)
Timeline and Steps on How to Grow Oregano Indoors
Best Setup for Indoor Oregano Plants
Below is the best setup (and a very easy one!) for growing your oregano plants indoors. You’ll need:
Ceramic Self Watering Planter (preferred) or pot that is at least 8″ / 1 gal.
At the start: Balanced Blend. This should be equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (with NPK numbers like 10-10-10).
Ongoing: Herb Blend. This should be high in nitrogen (with NPK numbers like 10-5-5).
A strong grow light that can give the equivalent of 6+ hours of direct sun [DLI of 18+ mol/m²/day].
Starting your Oregano: Seed vs Cutting vs Nursery Plant
New Oregano plants can be started from seed, propagated from an established plant, or purchased live at many garden centers. We prefer to sprout from seed or propagate from a stem cutting, as it results in plants that are adapted to your growing conditions and limit the chances that you accidentally bring home pests.)
How to Plant Oregano seeds
Oregano grows quickly from seed. Plant 1 site in an 8" / 1 gal container. In larger containers, space sites 8" apart. For each site press 2 seeds into the surface. Keep the soil warm ( 60-80°F, ideally 70°F). Sprouts typically appear in 12 days but can be as quick as 10 days or as long as 15 days depending on your conditions. Don't cover the seeds as light helps them sprout.
Propagating Oregano: How to Clone from a Stem Cutting
If you’ve already got an Oregano plant you love (or a friend does!) you can easily “clone” it with just sharp scissors and a clean glass of water. First, cut a couple 6” shoots of new growth (avoid anything woody). Next, remove the lower leaves, so the bottom half is just stem. Place in a glass of 3” of water, making sure the cut leaf spots are underwater.
Place the glass on a bright windowsill and change the water every few days. In a couple of weeks, roots should emerge and you can transplant them into your container. While using additional rooting hormones won't hurt, it’s not necessary with Oregano plants.
- Cut 6” section of new growth
- Remove leaves halfway and place them in the water on a sunny window sill
- Wait 14-28 days for a few ½ inch roots to form and carefully transplant into it final container
How to Transplant Oregano
Live starter plants give you a big jump start on your first harvest. When you’re in a garden center - pick the bushiest plant available (tall and lanky ones will be weak growers) and give it a good inspection for pests.
Leaves should be dark green without holes, spots, or curled edges. A best practice is to actually “quarantine” your plant for about a week after bringing it home to make sure it's free and clear of ride-on pests.
Ensuring it’s pest and disease-free it’s time to transplant your seedling into its final home.
- Remove some soil from its final planter - leaving enough space for the bottom of the seedling to be just higher than the soil surface.
- Hold on to the base of the stem with one hand, and turn the pot over while gently pulling the seedling. Giving the pot a few squeezes can help dislodge it.
- Place in its final container and fill around it with soil so that it’s tight, but not compacted.
Week 1-2: Check for Sprouts
You could see seedlings in as little as 10 days (though 12 days is more typical). If it’s been 15 days and you still don’t have any sprouts, it’s likely that your setup is too cold.
Week 4: Thin Your Seedlings
Thin your planter to only have 1 seedling per site - leaving the largest plant. If you are using the recommended planter (at least 8" / 1 gal) this will mean you’ve got 1 plant after thinning. By getting rid of the smaller seedlings, you’re allowing the biggest and strongest one to flourish by reducing its competition for water, food, and space.
If your seedlings are under 1 inch, stretching out, or folding over, it’s likely that they don't have quite enough light.
Month 2: How to Prune Oregano Plants
Once your Oregano plant has 3 sets of mature leaves you’re ready for your prune. Cut off the top set of mature leaves, leaving the bottom two (it’s best to cut right above the pair of leaves you’re keeping on the plant).
Once these branches grow out (and each has a few sets of their own leaves) you can cut the tip - just as you did with the main stem. At this point your plant will be fairly well shaped, so hone your inner Bonzi master and use your thinning and heading cuts to harvest and shape your herbs as you go.
Month 3+: How to Harvest Oregano
After 4 months you can make a small harvest of stem tips. After 6 months you should be able to harvest bunches. Let the soil dry out between watering.
How to Use Your Freshly-harvested Oregano in Cooking
Oregano is more than just being everyone’s favorite topping on pizza! These pungent herbs with a sweet and almost minty taste can be used in many other ways such as:
- Garnish or toppings to various dishes such as pasta, seafood, etc.
- Making pesto
- Making dips or sauces
Check out some more of our favorite oregano recipes here.
How to Preserve Oregano
There are several ways to preserve or keep your herbs fresh, and here are just some of the easiest and the ones we recommend the most:
- Lazy person technique. It involves keeping the fresh herbs in their original packaging and simply storing them in the fridge.
- Storing the herbs in a glass of water inside the fridge. You can do this by cutting the end of the stem of your herb, filling a glass jar or cup with water, and placing your herb inside. Almost like a vase or bouquet of herbs!
- Keep in a glass of water under natural lighting.
- Wrap loosely in a damp paper towel.
- Freeze them herbs! Yes, you can freeze fresh herbs such as oregano to use at a later time! All you need are some ice cube trays and a freezer, and you’re all set.
Learn more about how to preserve and keep your herbs and oregano fresh here.
Year 10+: End of Life
Oregano can live for a very very long time if the conditions are right. If you live somewhere with colder winters and are growing outside, be sure to bring them in before the temperatures drop.
If you’d like to learn about the dozens of other herbs, fruits, and vegetables that you can grow indoors then grab a copy of our free eBook below.
Best Oregano Varieties to Grow Indoors
Plants such as oregano have a wide variety of uses. Oregano varieties can either be used in cooking or as ornamental plants. Below are the four most popular oregano varieties:
This variety serves as the most common oregano species and also comes by the name wild marjoram or true oregano. It’s a dynamic grower with a mild flavor.Amazon
It has a strong flavor, and it’s popular in Middle Eastern cuisine, mainly used for vegetable and meat recipes, but can also be used in any recipe that calls for common oregano.Amazon
This oregano variety can be used as an ornamental plant. It’s a creeping herb that has foliage in shades of gold.Green Patch Seeds
This variety has an earthy and pungent flavor, and it’s used mainly in Italian and Greek dishes. It’s commonly used to flavor meat, fish, and tomato sauce, and pizza recipes.Amazon