Oregano is a hardy perennial that may need winter protection to survive in the colder zone in northern Illinois. It may grow two feet tall with a rounded, sprawling spread of 18 inches. White or pinkish-purple flower spikelets appear in mid to late summer. The cultivar Aureum has golden yellow leaves and develops into an 810 inch mound. Use oregano in Spanish, Italian and Mexican cooking.
Plant oregano in full sun and well-drained soil. The gold leaf variety needs partial shade to help prevent leaf scorch. Plants may be started from seed, cuttings or crown division. Seed grown plants may not have good flavor. Propagate oregano by stem cuttings or crown division. Space plants 1012 inches apart. Plants respond well to clump division every 23 years. This helps restore vigor and improve flavor.
Leaves can be snipped as needed. For best flavor, harvest leaves just as flower buds form. To dry, cut stems and bag dry or tray dry. When leaves are brittle, rem