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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

oregano and marjoram

Other Common Names Include:

Winter sweet, pizza herb.

Latin Name: Origanum vulgare; Origanum majorana

Plant Family: Lamiaceae

Close Relatives: Thyme, basil, mint.

Uses and Markets: Culinary (e.g. flavouring in Mediterranean cuisines), medicinal (e.g. anxiety, colds, digestive issues), industrial (e.g. personal care products), aromatic, essential oil.

Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone

5 (some winter protection may be required).

Special Notes

Can also be grown in a cold-frame for continuous winter production.

Propagation method

Transplants from seeds (will reduce consistency), cuttings, division.

Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates

March (seeds), October (cuttings), April (division).

Field Seeding Date:


Field Transplanting Dates


In-row spacing

45 cm

Between row spacing

60-90 cm

Optimal Soil temperature at planting

In general, perennial crops can tolerate low soil temperatures at planting, but will establish more rapidly at soil temperatures >10°C.


No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions. Research from Europe, Jordan and Argentina shows a nitrogen requirement of between 80 and 120 kg/ha split 50% preplant and 50% in two or more sidedresses during the growing season. Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

Well-drained soils.

Soil pH


Special requirements for growth habit


Optimal Temperature Range

5-28 °C

Temperature sensitivity

Frost tolerant.

Irrigation requirements

Irrigation is beneficial under normal Ontario conditions.

Days to harvest

45 days from transplanting

Specialized equipment:


Harvest Scheduling

Multiple harvests from the same planting (4-6 harvests annually).

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Hand harvest.

Quality parameters/grades

No established grades. Quality is determined by the market.

Additional Harvest Notes

Harvest during cooler parts of the day to reduce moisture loss and cooling costs. Remove field heat as soon as possible after harvest.

Post harvest
Special handling/curing


Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH): 95-100%

Temperature: 0°C

Air Exchange: N/A

Duration: 3-4 weeks

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates: Four-lined plant bug (Poecilocapus lineatus), spittlebug, garden fleahopper, leafrollers.

Diseases: Phomopsis leaf and stem blight.

Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates: Thrips, aphids, spider mites, leaf miners.

Diseases: Root rot (e.g. Pythium), fungal leaf spots (e.g. Alternaria, Helminthosporium, Stemphylium), powdery mildew, rust.


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario: Phomopsis leaf and stem blight, four-lined plant bug. This crop is in Crop Group 19: Herbs and Spices Group and subgroup 19A: Herb Subgroup. This crop group is being revised and may change in the near future. For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section.  Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product.  For more information, consult an OMAF and MRA specialist. For pest control products registered on this crop refer to OMAFRA Publication 838

Additional Notes


Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1. McKeown, A.W., C.J. Bakker and J. Schooley. 1998-2002. Herb Demonstration Garden, University of Guelph Simcoe Research Station, unpublished.
  2. Westerveld, S., Elford, E., Filotas, M. and J. Todd. 2010-present. OMAFRA herb demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  1. Al-Kiyyam, M. A., Turk, M., Al-Mahmoud, M. and A.R. Al-Tawaha. 2008. Effect of plant density and nitrogen rate on herbage yield of marjoram under Mediterranean conditions. Journal American-Eurasian Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Science 3:153-158.
  2. Barreyro, R., Ringuelet, J., and S. Agricola. 2005. Nitrogen fertilization and yield in oregano (Origanum × applii). Journal Ciencia e Investigación Agraria 32:39-43.
  3. Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. 1998. Specialty and Minor Crops Handbook. University of California, Publication 3346
  4. Kadner, R., Junghanns, W. and F. Hennig. 1999. Influence of nitrogen fertilizer application and irrigation on the yield and quality of seeds in Origanum vulgare spp. Hirtum. Zeitschrift fur Arznei- & Gewurzpflanzen 4: 187-190.
  5. Kowalchik, C. and W.H. Hylton. 1998. Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs. Rodale Press, Emmaus PA.
  6. Li, T.S.C. 2000. Medicinal Plants: Culture, Utilization and Phytopharmacology. Technomic Publishing Company, Inc., Lancaster PA.
  7. McHoy, P. and P. Westland. 1994. The Herb Bible: The Ultimate Herb Reference Book. New Burlington Books, London UK.
  8. McVicar, J. 1994. Jekka’s Complete Herb Book. Raincoast Books, Vancouver.
  9. Schroeder, H. 1959. The influence of nitrogen, phosphates and potash on the yield and volatile oil content of marjoram (Origanum vulgare). Pharmazie 14: 329-346, 408-417.
  10. Small, E. 2006. Culinary herbs, 2nd Edition. NRC Research Press, Ottawa.
  11. Sotiropoulou, D. E. and A.J. Karamanos. 2010. Field studies of nitrogen application on growth and yield of Greek oregano (Origanum vulgare ssp. hirtum (Link) Ietswaart). Journal Industrial Crops and Products 32:450-457.