Oregano is a species of flowering plant in the mint family. It was native to the Mediterranean region but has been widely grown elsewhere in the temperate northern hemisphere.
Perennial herbs or plants can live for more than two years. As such, the oregano is very cold hardy and can tolerate very low temperatures.
However, although some cold-hardy herbs are very well adapted in areas with frost, the colder the climate, the higher the risks of plants and herds not surviving the winter.
So how much cold can oregano tolerate? The oregano can survive cold as severe as 40°F. The result is that the Oregano is one of the coldest, hardy, and resilient herbs out there. Given its life circle and its hardiness.
The oregano can also survive frost. As a perennial herb, it can shed its leaves and foliage and go dormant in the winter but bounce back in the spring with new growth.
Can Oregano Survive Winter?
The oregano plant, like several other herbs in its class, is a cold-hardy plant. Cold hardiness is a plant or herb’s ability to resist injury due to exposure to low temperatures.
In essence, cold-hardy herbs can survive adverse growing conditions. The herbs may not thrive in such conditions of low temperatures and frost, but they survive until spring when they fully recover and bloom.
Hardening is a process that makes a plant or plant tissue much more resistant to any environmental extremes such as drought and low temperatures.
The oregano plant is a cold-hardy plant that can survive the winter. Nevertheless, it may wither and die away completely during the winter and not put on any new flowering.
However, it will bloom and retain itself in spring unless the winter was exceptionally cold. In that case, the herb withers away and dies.
But that is only in cases of extremely cold and bitter winters. Also, the location where the oregano is cultivated, whether indoors or outdoors, affects whether it will survive the winter colds.
What is The Lowest Temperature that Oregano can Tolerate?
Oregano, like most herbs, is affected by general temperatures and soil temperatures. And being a warm climate herb, it is adversely affected by falling temperatures.
Although it is a resilient cold hardy herb and a perennial, exposure to extremely low temperatures — for instance, frosting temperatures — may crush the oregano. Unfortunately, it may not recover from that even when spring comes around.
Temperatures of way below 40°F are not ideal temperatures for the oregano. However, it has high-temperature tolerance.
The oregano should ideally be grown in temperatures of between 65-70° F, which is the equivalent of 18-21° C, and 55-60°F.
Temperature tolerance is a gardening term used to describe an herb’s reaction to extreme temperatures.
For warm climate herbs, it is their reaction to extremely low temperatures. And for cold climate herbs, it is their reaction to high temperatures.
The lowest temperature that the oregano herb can tolerate is a temperature of below 40°F. Being a warm climate herb, any temperature below that is a threat to its continued survival.
And keeping the oregano in frost temperatures of 32°F or even lower, for instance, can permanently destroy the plant.
Although cold-hardy herbs like mint, thyme, oregano, sage can be in low temperatures and still survive the low temperatures.
Can Oregano Stay Outside in Winter?
Since the oregano is a perennial herb, it can stay outdoors in the winter in many zones.
Nonetheless, it will go dormant during the winter and may only return with fresh growth in the spring. The downside is that it may lose its foliage even if properly cared for.
However, if kept indoors, it will maintain its foliage and continue to bloom and grow, especially under the proper temperature conditions.
Nevertheless, you can leave the oregano outside during the winter, and best believe it will bounce back once the snow melts off and winter is over.
You can introduce some methods to keep your oregano and other perennials up and kicking even outdoors during the winter. They include:
Weeding is one of the best ways to ensure that your oregano survives the winter, beats the elements, and is alive and kicking even in extreme winter temperatures.
By removing any weeds growing at the roots or around your herbs, you can also be sure that once spring sets in, your oregano will grow without any hindrances.
Cutting away parts of the oregano, especially the topmost parts, and the dead leaves and dead flower heads.
Mulching and coverage
The oregano will greatly benefit from several layers of mulch, about three to four layers. This is to protect the herb from the bitter cold or at least the worst of it.
You can also use a paper bag or a sack to provide the herb with much-needed insulation during the winter colds.
If this is done, the oregano will survive outdoors during the winter. Nevertheless, it will survive regardless of these measures as long as the temperatures do not drop below 40°F.
This can be done by either placing water jugs filled with warm water around the oregano to provide more heat. Or creating a makeshift wall using stakes and sacks made with coarse canvas.
How Cold is Too Cold for Oregano?
Like most perennial herbs, the oregano is very well adapted, although other herbs like basil, for instance, cannot survive temperatures below 50°F.
The oregano, on the other hand, can survive in temperatures of 40°F. However, the colder the temperatures, the higher the likelihood of the herbs not surviving the winter.
Although some herbs are survivors and such well-adapted herbs can survive outside during the winter, temperatures of well below 40°F can kill them, stagnate their growth or leave them stunted.
The oregano and several other perennials, however, cannot survive the frost, and once temperatures drop to below 32°F, it may die away completely. As a result, temperatures below 32°F are too cold for the oregano.
Oregano prefers a sunny spot, like most other plants, a little sun is advisable. And during extremely cold temperatures, you can take measures to protect the Oregano from frost.
The fact is that wetness causes damage to perennials and herbs much faster than cold temperatures do. Therefore, waterlogging is extremely harmful to herbs.
That being the case, it is advisable that in cases where the oregano is cultivated outside, it should as much as possible be kept in an enclosed sheltered space.
The oregano plant or herb flourishes better when cultivated in ideal temperatures. The ideal temperature for oregano is 65-70°F.
However, because oregano is a cold-hardy herb, it can survive even in very cold temperatures. However, it will be dormant during those periods and will only regrow when winter is over.
Also, because the oregano is a perennial and a cold-hardy herb, it does not die easily and can be left outside even in the winter.
Notwithstanding, you can take certain measures to ensure its continued survival during that period.
The lowest temperatures that the oregano can tolerate, however, are temperatures way below 40°F.
Once it reaches that all-time low, the Oregano may likely not survive.