Winter is a season dreaded by both cold-hardy plants and planters of cold-hardy plants. The encroachment of the winter months is a tell-tale sign that most cold-hardy plants are about to experience very unconducive conditions.
The Oregano herb is among the list of cold-hardy plants whose growth is influenced by the winter months.
However, this drought-tolerant perennial can be grown indoors and outdoors and can produce fresh green foliage all year round.
Can oregano grow in winter? Despite being a cold-hardy plant, oregano can also be grown during the winter months. However, they must either be grown indoors or provided with maximum protection outdoors.
The oregano plant produces it best when it is allowed to bask in the warmth of full sunlight.
Unfortunately, it does not require much soil moisture, so the winter months are not exactly its favorite time of the year.
An oregano plant can survive a temperature dip as low as 40 degrees. However, prolonged exposure to this cold will cause severe damage to the plant and stunt the leaves’ appearance.
If you are a lover or planter of oregano, then you might have some worries about the encroachment of the winter months.
It is a known fact that oregano and cold weather are not exactly compatible, but some measures can be put in place to manage the situation:
1. Indoor planting:
This is one of the surest ways of having a year-round supply of fresh green oregano foliage. If left outside, your plant would not do much. It would only remain dormant and wait for the passing of winter.
Pull out the entire plant from the garden and transplant it to a pot indoors. Luckily, oregano thrives in pots as well as in gardens. But you would need a big pot to accommodate all its roots. Use a separate pot for each plant.
Oregano thrives in temperatures between 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, so ensure to keep the pot away from open windows whenever it is frosting outside.
You can keep the pot outside on days when the weather is warm and oregano-friendly but bring it back inside in the evening when the weather droops again.
The soil in a potted oregano plant should be kept adequately moist. Oregano does not necessarily require constant irrigation. Water the indoor oregano only when the top of the soil seems dry to touch.
Ensure that the pot has an efficient drainage way. You wouldn’t want oregano to battle with both bad weather conditions and bad soil conditions as well, and it would simply die off.
You can employ the use of heat mats as well. Place the mats under the pots to provide an alternative source of heat for your oregano plant.
2. Use of plastic mulch:
Unlike organic mulch that retains soil moisture, plastic mulch helps heat the soil. You can stake bedsheets, blankets, and plastic covers around the plants to provide warmth and protect them from severe frost.
This method can be used on indoor and outdoor oregano, but it is more commonly practiced with outdoor oregano.
Organic mulch can also be used as plant cover, but it would need to be replaced from time to time. Organic mulch is preferred over plastic mulch because they help top up the soil nutrients while plastic mulch doesn’t.
Planting oregano in glass domes during winter is an excellent idea. Glass domes are structured to trap internal warmth and prevent external frost from penetrating.
It can also capture solar energy during the day and store it up to be utilized when the sun goes down.
A cloche, on the other hand, is a low-budget glass dome. It serves the same purpose as a glass dome, only that it functions on a small scale, and sometimes it is made from plastic.
Greenhouses and cloches provide ideal protection to frost-sensitive plants, and they do come in very handy during the winter period.
There is a downside to this, however. While glass domes are excellent for restricting frost and snow, they also intercept the free flow of air.
No plant can successfully grow without air, hence the need to improvise a mini passage of air for plants in a glass dome. Most cloches have provisions for air.
4. Pruning and harvesting:
This is a crucial step to take before the arrival of winter. If you intend to overwintering oregano outdoors, you will do well by cutting the plant down to the ground.
Harvest the mature leaves and trim off the leggy stems of the plant. Mulching should take place after this step.
The leaves cut off can also be preserved to ensure a steady and consistent supply of its favorable foliage. You can preserve the harvested leaves by freezing, drying, and storing them in tightly shut containers.
Oregano falls into the category of plants that love to bask in full sun for many hours. An oregano plant needs as much as six to eight hours of sunlight in a day to stay happy and healthy.
Winter, on the other hand, does not provide it with this luxury. The absence of sunlight in an oregano plant can significantly affect it, especially if it also has to deal with the painful stings of frostbite.
Sunlight is essential for an oregano plant, but in the absence of it, the plant is left with no other options than to either pause its growth or die off completely if the weather becomes too unbearable.
An oregano plant will wait out the passing of the winter months, and when summer comes knocking, it springs back to continue its halted growth.
The gardener also has some roles to play to ensure that the plant does make it past winter. There are measures to be taken to safeguard an oregano plant.
Those measures have been listed above, and it would be wise for the gardener to employ them in other to aid the oregano in its winter survival struggle.
The oregano plant happens to be a perennial plant that lasts for up to five or six years.
So you can be confident that your plant can survive the harshness of the winter months and grow back without having to be re-planted.
If left without care and attention during winter, an oregano plant will shrink into its shell, putting its growth and foliage production to a halt.
Oregano plants are a fantastic addition to your herb garden. This cold-hardy perennial can and will continue to give you a steady supply of fresh and fragrant foliage all year round, provided it encounters favorable conditions.
Being frost-sensitive, the growth rate of an oregano plant is significantly influenced by the winter months. However, the plant can be successfully grown indoors, safe from the coarse rays of frost and snow.
If you’re opting to grow outdoors, you can as well grow it successfully by employing the use of specific tactics.