Kew Pollination Collection Wild Marjoram
This outstanding aromatic perennial herb is better known as oregano, a staple of Italian cuisine.
Wild marjoram is easy to grow, forming a mound of fragrant foliage and nectar-rich, pink flowers in summer. The blooms are loved by bees and butterflies, which will flock to them on warm, dry days. Wild marjoram makes a useful addition to the herb garden but works equally well in a wildlife area or rough grass. I often spy it growing at the top of the cliffs here in East Kent. Wild marjoram does especially like poor, well-drained chalk soil and might struggle in heavy clay over winter. It's easy enough to grow some more the following spring.
- Sow February to June
- Height: 45cm. Spread: 45cm
- 1 packet contains approximately 1500 seeds
- Harvest regularly for kitchen use and to keep the plants bushy
- Can be dried and stored for year-round flavour
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Sow wild marjoram seeds indoors or under glass from February to June. Sow seed 1.5cm deep in pots or trays on the surface of barely moist seed compost and cover with a sprinkling of finely sieved compost. Place the seed tray in a propagator at a temperature of 16-21C or seal inside a clear polythene bag until germination takes place - usually 14-21 days.
When seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant into 7.5cm pots and grow on in cooler conditions. When all risk of frost has passed, gradually acclimatise the plants to outdoor conditions over 7-10 days before planting at a distance of 30cm on any well-drained or chalky soil in full sun.
Once established, wild marjoram requires little aftercare and only occasional watering during particularly dry periods. In autumn, apply a mulch of leaf mould or compost for extra winter protection.
A great many of our favourite garden plants can be harmful if eaten or handled without gloves. This is rarely a cause for concern but it's always good to know what you are dealing with.
Marjoram may cause allergic reactions in people with sensitivity to members of the Lamiaceae family of plants. This includes basil, hyssop, lavender, mint, oregano and sage.