Name: marjoram (Origanum majorana), sweet marjoram.
Plant type: perennial.
Foliage: evergreen with small grey-green leaves.
Climate: prefers warm temperate and arid/semi-arid climates. In tropical and sub-tropical areas, grow in pots to protect from rain during the wet season. In cold temperate areas, grow in pots to protect from the winter cold.
Soil: grows well in well-drained soils or premium potting mixes.
Position: full sun.
Flowering and fruiting: small knots of white flowers are produced in summer.
Feeding: not required if planted in a soil enriched with compost and well-aged manure.
Watering: allow soil or potting mix to dry between watering. Do not overwater, especially during cool weather.
A cold-sensitive perennial herb, marjoram can be grown as an annual in cold climates or as an indoor plant if placed in a light position. Aromatic, and a versatile addition in the kitchen, this popular herb can be kept compact with pruning, and is suitable for gardens and pots.
A Mediterranean herb, marjoram can be used fresh or dried to flavour a wide variety of dishes and cuisines, including pasta sauces and salad vinaigrettes. If using marjoram in cooking, add it towards the end to maximise flavour. Unusually, the dried leaves are almost identical in flavour to the fresh herb, so harvest at 4–6 weeks for maximum flavour, and dry for use throughout the year.
Marjoram is a low-maintenance herb. Once established, seasonal watering is all that's required.
Marjoram is drought tolerant, but water a couple of times a week, more frequently in hot, dry weather. To improve cold tolerance, apply a seaweed solution fortnightly as the weather begins to cool.
Marjoram responds well to pruning. Regular pruning (or harvesting) helps to keep it compact, and stimulates more leaves and new growth—all the better for your harvest.
Snails and slugs can be a problem for germinating seed and young seedlings. Protect with organic pet-friendly snail pellets or traps. A popular companion plant, marjoram will be relatively pest- and disease-free once mature. Do not overwater, as this can lead to fungal problems and root rot.
Marjoram can be propagated by seed or cuttings taken in summer.
Seeds can be collected from mature flowers. Allow the flowers to brown slightly, then remove and place in an open paper bag to dry. Once the flowers are dry, shake the bag vigorously to release the seeds. Store in a clearly marked envelope.
After applying fertiliser, delay harvesting for a few days and rinse well before cooking and eating. If using products to deal with pests, diseases or weeds, always read the label, follow the instructions carefully and wear suitable protective equipment. Store all garden chemicals out of the reach of children and pets.
Oregano: a hardy herb related to marjoram, with a stronger flavour.
Rosemary: another drought-tolerant Mediterranean herb.
Thyme: a ground-cover herb used in a variety of cuisines.
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