Sweet Marjoram: A Substitute for Oregano

Sweet Marjoram is a tender, easy-to-grow perennial herb with soft, oval-shaped leaves and small white flowers. The leaves have a sweet and spicy aroma and flavor that is perfect for fish, roasts, casseroles, salads, soups, and vinegars. Also, it can be used to make teas and jellies. This herb can be used as a substitute for oregano.

This herb makes an attractive container plant that grows to a height of 12-24 inches.

You can add this plant to your indoor herb garden collection by starting from seeds or by using transplants from the garden center.

The seeds should germinate in 10-15 days and mature in 70 days. The quickest way to get started is to use transplants from garden center.

How to Grow Sweet Marjoram Ind

Starting by seeds: You can buy prepackaged herb kits with everything you need to start by seed. Sow seeds shallowly (1/4" deep) in light soil that is rich in organic matter in small pots or starter trays. Keep plants in moist clean soil and place in a warm, well-lit area of the kitchen.

Starting by transplants: You can purchase young potted plants at the garden center or you can buy them through a catalog. Then repot your plants into a larger pot that is at least 6" - preferably terracotta/clay. You must repot them within a week to prevent plants from becoming root-bound, resulting in stunted growth.

Soil: You must use a well-drained soil mixture that contains equal parts soil, sand, and peat moss. Always use a commercial potting mix that is sterilized and not yard dirt.

Fertilizer: Apply monthly with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer or fish emulsion.

Lighting: Give the plant good light, a sunny south or west-facing window that gets a minimum of six hours of sun a day, or supplement with 12 hours of artificial light.

Containers: Terra-cotta pots are ideal for this annual herb, but you can use any kind of container you like. Containers should be 8 to 10 inches deep and have several holes in the bottom for drainage.

Care: Trim stems to keep them from growing too long.

Harvesting: Pick leaves before flower buds appear to get the best aromatic flavor. Excess marjoram leaves can be dried and stored in an airtight container or chopped and mixed with light vegetable, canola or grapeseed oil and frozen.

Fill ice cube trays two-thirds full with mixture and freeze. Store frozen cubes in freezer-safe bags. Frozen herbs will retain flavor up to one year and you can have that fresh sweet marjoram flavor.

Click on this link to find books with detailed information on herbs concerning the origin, care, use, and storage. Plus mouth-watering recipes that bring the herbs from the garden to the table.