Taking origanum cuttings

marjoram cuttingsIt may look unprepossessing, but this is my biggest success this year in the propagation department.

I have a few plants that I’m always trying to grow from cuttings each year: sedums, santolina and this pesky oregano plant.

Actually I think I might have reached ‘peak santolina’. I know that because I still have five little plants that are in the potting shed in pots because I haven’t worked out where to plant them.

I would love to have them in the terrace bank – but it is seriously parched there and the risk of losing them entirely is great. I will ponder that one.

Sedums are dead simple if you get them at the right time and with some roots attached. I just grab an outer sedum when it just comes into growth – say eight inches long.  (15 centimetres) and then pull down hard right at the base to I pull out just the one sedum stalk and its roots.

Into little square pots in well drained compost, a bit of a water and that’s it.  All being well they root in about three weeks.  And here they are plasedumsnted out already.  I was looking for something for this large oak barrel in front of the herb garden now that the bulbs are over.

But after three years of trying I have finally cracked the wonderfully strong scented oregano plant in a big way.

I bought it at a local garden centre four years ago, and have managed just once to take a cutting. And from that small success I now have enough to be able to offer them generously to friends. Teo will be first in line. He is a master propagator; but he too struggled with this one.

Everyone gets marjoram and oregano confused. And I am no exception. I have decided to be a wimp and go up one level on the plant description ladder and call it origanum. Which is what it is. The subspecies? I have no idea.

I think of it as ‘mamarjoram potted uprjoram mild, oregano strong’. But that is displaying some woeful ignorance.  So I took a pause from typing and did a bit of a rummage on the internet.

It’s a member of the mint family. That makes sense. And it was named by the Greek Hippocrates from the words mountain (oreos) and brightness/joy/beauty (ganeos). So oregano is a joy of the mountains.

You are not wrong there. I actually found a very good paper from the American Herb Society which was illuminating: http://www.herbsociety.org/factsheets/Oregano%20and%20Majoram.pdf.

It made my eyes water trying to read the small print but I learned a lot.

It’s just a shame they didn’t have images beside the description of the origanums at the end because I am still confused as to whether I have an oregano or a marjoram on my hands.

I think (that’s an italic think) I have origanum vulgare in the marjoram potagerpotager. Or sweet marjoram O. marjorana. I can’t tell.

It is brilliant when young and fresh for adding to courgettes / zucchini with a pinch of chilli.

And when it goes to flower because you have not been attentive to the pruning, it’s dead useful in flower arrangements. You can see the bald patch here in the picture where I just grabbed a huge handful and cut from the base.

But my strong little woody origanum that took so well from cuttings this year? Over to you.  Apparently, they are so often mislabelled when you buy the plants you are safer just sniffing and seeing what you like. And this is the strongest smelling of my origanums.

So I think I’m going to fall back on ignorance and declare I have taken some fabulous oregano cuttings this year.