Oregano is a robust and easy-to-care-for herb that thrives excellently in a container on the balcony. Freshly harvested, the leaves and edible flowers of oregano taste somewhat less intense than dried and are therefore also well suited as a delicate seasoning for tomato salad or other summer dishes.
What location on the balcony?
In its natural habitat, oregano grows in sunny and warm locations on calcareous soils. It should find the same conditions on the balcony. Ideal is a balcony facing south, east or west.
What substrate is suitable?
You can use normal vegetable soil or special herb soil as a planting substrate. Since oregano reacts to waterlogging with rotting, it is recommended to add a drainage layer of gravel or expanded clay (20,00€ at Amazon*) to the plant container.
How much water does the culinary herb need?
Oregano that grows wild can withstand prolonged periods of drought without damage. However, if you cultivate the herb in a container, you need to water it regularly. During hot summer weeks, it may be necessary to water oregano daily. Water whenever the soil in the pot feels dry. Since oregano does not like wet feet it is recommended to pour away the excess water in the saucer after a short time.
Does the oregano need to be fertilized?
Provide the herb with a portion of complete fertilizer in the spring. Unlike most other plants, oregano does not require additional fertilization during the growing season. Do not give a second application of fertilizer until late August or early September, when you have completely harvested the oregano.
When to harvest the oregano?
Throughout the summer, you can pluck fresh leaflets from the container plant and use them in cooking. The pretty white, pink or pale purple flowers are also edible and can be used as an attractive addition to salads. When oregano is in full bloom you should cut it to about a hand’s width above the ground. You can preserve this crop for the winter.
Tips & Tricks
Oregano is a bee pasture and attracts many insects while in bloom. If you are allergic to bee venom, you should therefore cut off the flowers of oregano before they bloom or provide adequate insect protection on windows and doors.