Skip to Content

Does Oregano Like Wet or Dry Soil? (Explained)

Sharing is caring! Spread The Love!

Last updated on September 23rd, 2022 at 03:44 pm

As a gardener, you should know that the kind of soil where you plant your oregano herb critically determines, how well it will grow.

Although sunlight and the availability of nutrients are essential factors on which its growth depends, moisture and the soil type are also equally important.

Therefore, the moisture retention level of the soil is a crucial factor to ponder. Upon reading this, one interesting question that you must be thinking right now is:

Does Oregano like wet or dry soil? Oregano grows maximally in barely moist soil. It typically prefers nutrient-rich soil that drains well with total sunlight exposure. Oregano doesn’t like overly damp soil as soils with excessive water can lead to its death.

What Type of Soil Does Oregano Like?

Oregano is a popular perennial herb with many subspecies and strains. It belongs to the mint family Lamiaceae. The commonly cultivated form of oregano is the Wild Marjoram.

But irrespective of the variety of the plant cultivated, they generally do well with well-drained dry soil. So if you grow your oregano in a flowerpot, you won’t need to water it unless the ground feels dry.

Also, the availability of nutrients is a vital factor that affects plant growth.

For your oregano to absorb these nutrients, it will need reasonably moist soil. So, nutrient-rich loamy soil that drains well is the best kind of soil to grow your oregano.

What Type of Soil Does Oregano Not Like?

Oregano doesn’t need much water in comparison to other herbs. It grows well in less alkaline soils with good oxygen tension.  As a result, it doesn’t do well in the following types of soil.

  • Clay Soil.
  • Chalk Soil.
  • Waterlogged, Swampy soil or Wetland Soil.

1. Clay soil:

Clay soil typically has high nutrient levels, but it is usually heavy and wet during the rainy seasons.

Furthermore, during the dry season, clay soil is generally dry, coarse and baked. Water doesn’t quickly drain from clay soil because of its poor capillary spaces.

Because of these reasons, clayey soil isn’t good soil for your oregano.

2. Chalk soil:

This type of soil is usually white or off-white. It is commonly found in areas with high limestone deposits. Chalk soil has a high amount of lime and calcium carbonate. It is highly alkaline and poor in nutrients. Also, it is shallow and quickly dries out.

As oregano has an optimum pH growth range of between 6.0 and 8.0, the high alkaline levels of chalk would not allow for optimal uptake of nutrients. Hence, oregano cannot grow optimally when cultivated on this type of soil.

3. Waterlogged, swampy or wetland soil:

Wetland soil is the typical soil you’ll find in riverine areas. Its capillary spaces are clogged with water. Hence it always has low oxygen tension. This type of soil is usually rich in macro and micro-nutrients.

Nevertheless, it’s poor oxygen capacity and high-water clogging property would significantly affect the type of plant that grows on it. Therefore, Oregano cannot grow optimally when cultivated on waterlogged soil.

What Happens If I Plant My Oregano on Poor Soil?

There are a variety of things that could happen if you plant your oregano on inappropriate soil. In regards to moisture and drainage, some of these adverse effects include the following.

1. Your oregano will experience slow growth when you plant it in poor soil. Planting oregano in soil that drains too quickly, such as sand, is a bad idea.

Because while oregano doesn’t need too much moisture when it goes below the reach of its roots, it will experience poor growth.

Furthermore, if you plant your oregano in soil that doesn’t drain well and gets water-logged, it will also experience slow growth.

2. The plant will start swelling because of excess moisture. Swelling or edema is one very noticeable symptom of excessive water in a plant. For example, if you plant your oregano in an abundantly moist soil, its roots, shoot, branches and leaves will become swollen.

3. Your oregano’s leaves will start yellowing: Yellow leaves indicate that your plant is unwell and could die soon. If the roots of your oregano aren’t getting enough oxygen because of the excessive moisture of the soil, they’ll start to die off.

This death would also lead to the death of the leaves on your oregano, hence the yellowing leaves.

4. Ultimately, your oregano will die if you plant it in unsuitable soil.

How to Improve Soil for Your Oregano to Grow?

Some characteristics such as high acidity, alkalinity, poor drainage, low oxygen tension, and poor nutrients in some soils are not conducive to oregano growth.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that you can’t modify them. Hence, you can work soils with some of these characteristics to improve their desirability for growing oregano on them.

So, you can do the following depending on the soil type used to cultivate your oregano.

1. If you planted your oregano on clay soil:

Here are some steps to improve soil for optimum growth of the plant:
1) Add some organic manure such as poultry waste, cow dung and dried decomposing leaves to the soil. This will increase microbial action, therefore improving the aeration.
2) Till the soil for better aeration and recycling of nutrients.
3) During the dry season, adequately irrigate the soil to prevent the oregano from dying.

2. If you planted your oregano on waterlogged soil:

Here are some steps you can take to improve it.
1. Adequately till the soil to improve its aeration.
2. Add some fine sandy soil to improve the soil’s drainage capacity further.
3. Build drainage channels around the plants.
 4. Use raised ridges to improve water flow and avoid waterlogging

What Other Conditions Does Oregano Need to Grow Well?

The optimal growth of oregano depends on some other conditions apart from a suitable soil type.

1. Adequate sun exposure is a prerequisite for achieving optimal growth of the oregano plants. Therefore, it would be best to place Oregano grown in flowerpots where they can receive adequate sunlight.

Photosynthesis is a crucial process used by plants involving light energy from the sun to produce energy for survival and storage. So, without enough sunlight, your oregano plant will suffer.

2. Water is an essential macro requirement for the optimal growth of oregano. Nonetheless, it thrives better with minimal water content and can die off in soggy conditions.

Thus, adequate irrigation should be done, especially for those grown in flower pots or during the rainy season.


Oregano is a plant that doesn’t require excessively wet soils to grow. Instead, it prefers moderately moist soil so it can circulate resources to its various systems.

It would be best to water your oregano plant only when the soil is dry. This adequate watering would not only prevent your plant from being dehydrated but would also prevent it from dying from overwatering.

Also, if you have soil that is doesn’t support your oregano’s growth, there are ways that you can improve them.

Therefore, implementing the methods mentioned in this article will help you optimize your available soil and provide a conducive environment for your plant.


Sharing is caring! Spread The Love!