How to Grow Marjoram: The Complete Gardener’s Guide
Herb gardeners who cultivate Marjoram ( Origanum majoricum) are enthralled by its sweet and aromatic leaves, widely used for their seasoning.
With its light sun and well-drained soil mixture, this fragrant perennial herb is simple to cultivate at home.
The flavor and aroma get better when dried, like mild oregano. However, it is noticeably sweeter. It is a popular choice for chefs due to its strong flavor but with a gentle bite.
Marjoram is a culinary herb that belongs to the mint family. It is a tall plant that grows to about a foot and is characterized by round stems, gray-green foliage, and small white flowers borne in groups.
Pot-sized plants work well in containers and can be grown indoors throughout the year. They also make a beautiful garden ground cover during the summer months. The tender perennial is usually used to be an annual.
Quick Guide: Planting, Growing & Caring for Marjoram
- Attracts beneficial butterflies and insects great in sauces, soups, salads, and meat dishes.
- Plant seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost. Plant outdoors once soil and temperatures have warmed up
- It can be grown in virtually any kind of soil and requires only little or no irrigation
- Start harvesting 5-6 weeks after transplanting
- Protect yourself from attacks from aphids, mildew, and spider mites by ensuring good air circulation
Marjoram Plant Care
Marjoram, often called sweet, is a fragrant perennial herb from the mint family. It has been cultivated for many generations all over the Mediterranean and Western Asia.
It tastes milder than oregano and is commonly used to flavor soups, salads, and meat dishes.
Marjoram is a subtle colored shrub that has thin, gray-green leaves and tiny knot-like flowers on the stem. They flower in the early summer months and vary in color from white to lilac.
It flourishes in the ground or containers. You can incorporate Marjoram with basil and parsley to create a kitchen’s indoor garden.
Marjoram should be planted during spring, and it will grow slowly and eventually become a sprawling ground cover.
Plants that thrive under direct sun. They require the full sun, meaning they must get at least 6 hours of direct sun on a typical day.
If you’re growing indoors, pick the window with the most sunlight. To ensure your plant receives enough sunlight, it is possible to leave it in the same spot throughout the day or chase the lighting throughout the home at various periods by moving the plant around.
Marjoram is best suited to loamy or sandy soils that drain quickly and are slightly acidic or acidic in pH. It requires proper drainage since it is susceptible to root rot.
Keep the soil moist but not too saturated for the young plants. One inch of water per week will suffice.
Established plants can stand up to droughts well, but it is essential to keep the soil dry. Avoid excessive watering as it can lead to the growth of fungal organisms.
It is also recommended to water in the early morning to allow wet leaves space to air dry before sunset.
Temperature and Humidity
Plants that grow in Marjoram thrive in warm Mediterranean climates, with temperatures of 60 and 70°F.
Below 50°F are not recommended as they’re inappropriate for this aromatic herb.
Additionally, Marjoram does not require excessive humidity and is relatively uninterested in it.
While it’s not required to fertilize your marjoram plant, feeding it regularly can stimulate it to become more healthy and whole.
If you choose to fertilize your plants, you can feed them a liquid mix specially designed for herbs at least monthly, following the guidelines on the label.
Alternatively, you can increase your soil’s nutritional value by enriching it with organic matter.
To encourage growth that is bushy to promote bushy growth, pinch the stems back before the flowers begin to appear. Then, when the marjoram flowers start to occur, cut them to the ground to encourage new growth of leaves with a more robust taste.
What’s the Difference Between Marjoram and Oregano?
Like others in the mint family, oregano and Marjoram are closely connected plants. They even have a resemblance in the form of bushes that have small leaves.
But oregano has a more pungent smell and flavor than Marjoram. Marjoram is sweeter and more floral than oregano, which is generally somewhat bitter and peppery.
How to Plant and Grow Marjoram
As a part of the mint family, the Marjoram thrives very well in container gardens, window boxes, and garden beds. The plants prefer full sun and can be grown with little water in all kinds of soils. But, a sandy soil that drains quickly is ideal (watch our instructional video How to Plant in a Herb Garden).
Tips: Sweet Marjoram will draw beneficial butterflies and insects when employed as a border in the garden.
How do I plant Marjoram from seeds?
Begin indoors under growing lamps 6-8 weeks before the last frost. Sow seeds under that surface. Seeds will sprout in approximately ten days.
Place the seedlings into the garden after all risk from frost has gone (see our post on how to plant Seedlings in the Gardens). Place the plants 10 inches apart across all directions.
If you find that high humidity levels are an issue in your plant zone, it’s best to place plants further apart to allow for air circulation. Harvesting should begin 5-6 weeks after transplanting outside or when the plants are developing rapidly.
How to Harvest and Storage Marjoram
Harvest marjoram at any time when the plants are about three inches tall. Gathering the herbs earlier than the blooms open will give the best taste.
Marjoram is highly aromatic, and its flavor improves by drying. For drying, wrap the cut pieces into small bundles and hang them upside-down in a well-ventilated and dark room.
After drying, remove the leaves from their stems and keep them whole before using.
Common Pests and Plant Disease for Marjoram
A few garden pests, like Aphids and spider mites, can attack Marjoram. Pay attention and adopt the following common-sense and safe approach to pest control:
- Get rid of weeds and other garden debris to clear other hosts.
- Remove plants infested with the disease by bagging them securely and putting them into the garbage.
- Commercially accessible, beneficial insects to kill and eliminate insects.
- Treat areas of pests by using Neem oil or other organic pesticides.
To avoid or lessen plants suffering that manifests as wilting spots and damaged tissue, we recommend these steps:
- Do not use overhead watering whenever it is possible (use soaker hoses or drip irrigation)
- Adequately spaced plants to improve air circulation
- Use Copper spray or sulfur dust to keep the infection from spreading.