Though closely related to oregano (Origanum vulgare), sweet marjoram has a sweeter, less pungent flavor that's prized in many Mediterranean cuisines. It can be used fresh or dried; unlike some other herbs (like tarragon), sweet marjoram retains much of its flavor when dried.
Common name: Sweet marjoram
Botanical name: Origanum majorana
Plant type: Perennial sub-shrub usually grown as an annual.
Zones: 9 to 11
Height: 1 to 2 feet
- Sun: Full sun
- Soil: Well drained loam or sandy, gravelly soil
- Moisture: Average to dry
- Mulch: None
- Pruning: Shear flower buds before they open, if desired.
- Fertilizer: None or, in low nutrient soils or containers, apply dilute fertilizer solution monthly.
Pests and diseases
- Plant in a container or hanging basket and place on a deck or patio near the kitchen, so you can grab a handful while cooking.
- In herb gardens, sweet marjoram's gray-green foliage combines well with the silvery foliage of sage and the bright green leaves of parsley and chives.
- This herb is frost-tender, so harvest stems for drying before the first frost in your area.
All in the family
- Sweet marjoram is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae), a large family that includes many familiar herbs and ornamental plants.
- Culinary herbs in the mint family include rosemary, mint, basil, oregano, marjoram, sage, lemon balm, and thyme.
- Ornamentals include salvia, bee balm (Monarda spp.), Stachys spp. (including betony, lamb's-ears, and heal-all), lavender, coleus, catmint, and obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana).
- Many (though not all) mint family plants have square stems.
Where to buy