Encyclopedia of Houseplants

The Dos and Don’ts of Growing Oregano Indoors

updated Jun 6, 2020
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Oregano on kitchen counter
Credit: Kristin Prough

Oregano brings delicious flavor to our favorite foods—and it’s also the perfect addition to any windowsill herb garden. Oregano is a hardy plant that will thrive with a little bit of attention and plenty of sunlight. That being said, it’s still possibly to be led astray!

Check out these tips to become an expert oregano-grower.

The Dos of Growing Oregano

  • Try different varieties. Greek oregano has the zestiest flavor, but both Mexican and Italian varieties are tasty, too.
Credit: Kristin Prough
  • Fertilize. To promote growth, use a liquid or pellet fertilizer. Don’t forget to follow the directions on the bottle. No one likes chemical burns on their herbs.
  • Start from seed. It’s an adventure to start any herb from seed, and now is just the time to do it. Follow the directions on the back of the seed packet.
Credit: Kristin Prough
  • Harvest your bounty. Cut off a stem and then strip the leaves. Use fresh or dry for later.
  • Rotate the pot with every watering to ensure even growth.
  • Look out for bugs and pests. Check under the leaves and on top of the soil, just in case.

The Don’ts of Growing Oregano

  • Plant oregano in a pot without drainage. Oregano needs quick-draining soil and a pot with a drainage hole.
  • Use non-organic soil or fertilizer if you want to keep your oregano USDA organic.
  • Put it in a dark corner. Oregano needs bright, indirect light in order to thrive. Less light than that will make the plant leggy and weak.
Credit: Kristin Prough
  • Let the plant press against the window. This might be okay for a short amount of time, but long-time exposure will result in a sunburn on those delicious leaves.  
  • Cut of more than one-third of your plant at a time. Doing so will send your plant into  shock and it will struggle to recover.
  • Overwater. A waterlogged oregano plant is a dead oregano plant.
Credit: Kristin Prough
  • Plant more than one plant in a pot. Resist the urge to clump more than one in a pot. Oregano plants will complete for root space and you’ll end up with weak plants all around.

Oregano, in moderation, is safe for cats and dogs. In large quantities it induces vomiting and diarrhea.