The Turkish Oregano fills sunny places in the garden and attracts bees and butterflies with its flowers. This is how you plant and care for the perennial.
Profile of Turkish Oregano:
Scientific name: Origanum laevigatum
Plant family: mint family (Lamiaceae)
Other names: –
Sowing time: spring
Planting time: March to June
Flowering period: July to September
Soil quality: stony to loamy, calcipholous,
These information are for temperate climate!
Use in: flowerbeds, planters, borders, flower garden, heather garden, herb garden, natural garden, potted garden
Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 5 (-26 °C / -15 °F)
Bee and insect friendly: Yes
Plant characteristics and classification of Turkish Oregano
Plant order, origin and occurrence of Turkish Oregano
The Turkish Oregano (Origanum laevigatum) is a wild species from southern Turkey and Cyprus, which easily crosses with the oregano (Origanum vulgare) – this is known to many as “wild marjoram” and as pizza spice in the kitchen. In nurseries, natural cross-breeding produces seedlings that resourceful gardeners discover and continue to cultivate. Thus one of the best varieties ‘Herrenhausen’ goes back to the perennial grower Heinz Hagemann from Hannover. The Swiss herb nursery Frei cultivated ‘Aromatico’, which can also be used as a spice and tea herb. Like all plants from the mint family (Lamiaceae), the bee magnets are ideal if you are looking for an uncomplicated perennial for an insect-friendly garden.
Characteristics of Turkish Oregano
Before the Turkish Oregano pushes its flower stems upwards, it shows an almost cushion-like growth. Depending on the variety, it grows 30 to 60 centimeters (12 to 24 in) high and about 30 centimeters (12 in) wide. The wild species is a lawn-forming half shrub. In the course of the season the flower shoots slowly lignify. They are strongly branched. This gives the Turkish Oregano a veil-like effect.
The wintergreen leaves show a duller green in comparison to the oregano (Origanum vulgare), which is also used as an ornamental plant. They are oval-lanceolate in shape and smell more or less aromatic, depending on the variety.
The Turkish Oregano blooms for several weeks from July to September. Many small individual flowers unite in clusters along the flower stems to form a panicle. Already the buds give color. When the pink to purple flowers develop from them, the veil effect is perfect. The color effect is further enhanced by the purple calyx.
The seed heads of Origanum laevigatum look very decorative even after fading.
Turkish Oregano – cultivation and care
The Turkish Oregano loves it sunny and warm. It is very tolerant of dryness.
Turkish Oregano inhabits stony places and grassy areas in nature on rather calcareous soils. The soil in the garden should be accordingly permeable.
The best planting period is from the end of March to mid June.
The Turkish Oregano belongs to the frugal plants, to which one gives at most one dose of well rotten, weed-free compost in April and works it in flat. You can wait until spring to prune it back. The seed stands are decorative and look especially pretty in winter with hoar frost and snow. They provide food and shelter for birds and small animals. They also provide good winter protection for the rhizomes which are close to the surface. However, if you want to prevent the Turkish Oregano from self sowing – for example, because you want to keep the stock pure – cut it back immediately after it has withered.
Origanum Laevigatum hybrids are propagated pure in early summer (May/June) via cuttings. Seedlings vary in flower color and can differ greatly in appearance from their parents.
Diseases and pests
The Turkish Oregano remains largely untouched by diseases and pests. It is not endangered by snails.
Turkish Oregano is hardy down to -26 °C / -15 °F. Young plants should be protected in their first year from frosts with brushwood.
Use in the garden
You can use the permanent flowering plant as a filler in sunny perennial beds and open spaces. The veil-like effect of the flowers makes them particularly well suited to play around more rigid forms, for example next to purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), orpine (Sedum telephium) and in the foreground of phlox (Phlox paniculata). The fragrant late summer bloomers are a perfect match for cushion-shaped wild chrysanthemum and ornamental grasses such as switchgrass. If you plant the sun-hungry insect magnets elevated on a wall crown, you can observe the budding on the flowers especially well. Turkish Oregano loosens up stone plants and heather gardens. The variety ‘Aromatico’ is a good addition to herb gardens. All varieties are ideal for pot and tub planting.
- The richly branched variety ‘Herrenhausen’ flowers for a particularly long time and has a strong color effect. The flowers are dark purple and have almost black bracts. The reddish-green leaves are also darker than those of other varieties.
- ‘Rosenkuppel’ grows to a roundish dome of about 40 centimeters (16 in) and is covered with countless pinkish red flowers. The attractive flower balls are lighter in color than ‘Herrenhausen’.
- In addition to its lush flowers, the variety ‘Aromatico’ has something to offer from a culinary point of view. The young shoot tips taste very aromatic. You can use the ‘Aromatico’, also called Swiss oregano, as a tea herb, spice and medicinal plant.
- ‘Hopley’s’ is offered as a selection of the wild form Origanum laevigatum. It blooms soft purple from July to August. With its loosely branched, wiry flower stems, the 50 centimeter (20 in) high ‘Hopley’s’ is particularly delicate.
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