Oregano is an easy to grow and to care for herb that can be grown indoors and outdoors in the garden. If you grow your Oregano indoors only a few things are necessary in order to ensure that the plant will survive the colder months but there is quite a lot to watch out for if you want your Oregano to survive the winter outdoors. In this guide, I will tell you everything you need to know in order to ensure that your Oregano will survive the winter healthy and unharmed.
In short, to prepare Oregano for the Winter you should stop fertilizing it in August to reduce new growth, you should prune Oregano after the first freeze, and apply a good layer of mulch after the first freeze. All that will ensure that your Oregano will survive the Winter.
Oregano is quite sturdy and will survive the winter with only a few preparations.
First of all, you should stop fertilizing your Oregano plant at around August.
This will discourage any new growth that would not survive the winter and only waste the herbs Energy.
So stop fertilizing it in August to ensure that the plant doesn´t form any new growth and instead uses its energy to form stronger branches.
Prune your Oregano Plant after the first real frost in Winter. It is best to prune all the thin and green parts of the Herb and keep the bigger branches.
This way you will be sure that no parts of the plants die during the winter. The thinner parts that you cut off during pruning would die anyway.
The reason why you should wait for the first freeze is that until then the plant still uses these parts for photosynthesis. So allow the Herb to do as much photosynthesis as possible before Winter comes.
Apply a thick layer of mulch after the first freeze as well to ensure that the roots of the plant are not freezing to death and to protect the plant from snow or frozen water.
I personally always use leaves that are in my garden after Autumn. I simply chop them up a little bit and then I apply a thick layer (about 4 inches) of the chopped leaves to my Oregano and my other Herbs and that is usually more than enough to get them to survive the harsh Winters here.
If you are growing Oregano indoors then you don´t have to worry about the frost, obviously, so you don´t need to prune it and you should diffidently not use any mulch.
Does Oregano Die in the Winter?
Oregano does not die in the Winter if you prepare the herb properly for the colder time of the year. Oregano is a perennial herb that will live for more than two years if you take care of it. If it gets too cold during the Winter (colder than 5 °F), however, then Oregano might still die.
Oregano is a perennial herb meaning it will live for multiple years. My oldest Oregano is almost 7 years old now and it is living outside in my garden.
But that is only possible because here, where I live, it doesn´t get any colder than 5°F, so the Oregano Plant has a good chance of survival.
If it is colder than that then the chances of oregano surviving the winter are significantly lower even if you prepared the herb properly.
Does Oregano Die After Flowering?
One of the first pieces of advice that gardeners usually give when it comes to caring for oregano is to cut off any flowers as soon as they appear.
But most gardeners seem to have forgotten why to do this and so the myth has spread that Oregano will die after it is done flowering.
Oregano does not die after flowering. It is advisable to cut off flowers before they bloom because as soon as oregano starts to bloom the leaves will lose most of their flavor. In some cases, Oregano leaves will even become bitter but the herb won´t die when it flowers.
So it is advisable to cut off any flowers before they bloom in order to avoid any taste loss.
But if you forget or if you miss any flowers then don´t worry. Your Oregano will just lose its taste for the rest of the year but it will not die.
And it will taste just as well next year. The taste loss is only for one year.
Why Does My Oregano Have Black or Brown Spots On It?
There are a couple of possible reasons for black or brown spots on Oregano and it is not always easy to exactly find out what it is.
Generally, black or brown spots on Oregano are signs that your herb either has a water or a nutrition deficit but it can also be a sign of a fungus, rot, or pest infestation. If the spots spread from a specific spot then it is either a fungus or a pest infestation. If the Spots are evenly spread then it might be a deficiency.
But how can you identify the cause of black or brown spots on your Oregano?
It can sometimes be hard to find out why those spots appear but luckily there are a few things that can give you hints in the right direction.
First off, if the spots spread out from a specific point then chances are that it is some sort of fungus or a pest infestation.
In this case, you should look carefully if you can see anything moving underneath the leaves or close to the soil. If yes then it is some sort of pest infestation.
If the spots are black then ist either Aphids or Spider Mites. Mild infestations of these bugs can be controlled by spraying water on them in order to wash them away.
If the infestation is severe, however, then you might want to use a commercial insecticide spray to get rid of the infestation.
If you can see brown dots or brown trails on your oregano leaves then chances are that you are dealing with Leaf Miners. These are larvae from black flies and they are a little harder to get rid of.
Really the only thing that works here is to simply pluck the affected leaves and dispose of them before the fleas hatch.
If you pruned your oregano plant too late or if you didn´t protect the roots of your Herb with some Mulch then your Oregano might start turning greyish and some brownish spots may appear on the leaves of your plant.
These are signs of your Oregano Dying, all you can do here is to apply some mulch to the ground underneath the plant to protect it and if it is just too cold outside then you might want to put some winter cover over the plant to further protect it from the cold and from the snow.
You can get these in your local hardware store or right here on Amazon.
If the Herb has brown spots on it and you can´t make out any movement then you might be dealing with Fungi.
Fungi are mostly a problem that arises either when the soil doesn´t drain well enough or when the air humidity is too high.
Fungi only thrive in moist environments.
So when the year is ending and when it gets colder then Fungi will most likely also start to die. But Fungi are a sign that something is not right with your plant.
So it is important that you make sure that the soil can drain well enough to avoid any root rot or fungi forming before winter comes around or your Oregano will have a hard time surviving it.
But anyway you should prune the affected parts of the plant or the fungus will spread uncontrollably.
The last thing that can cause brown or black spots is when the Plant has a nutrition deficit or if the plant doesn’t get enough water.
So make sure that you water your plant regularly and you can check your Soil PH by either using a commercial ph tester or by making your own PH test.
The soil has to be well-drained and the PH should be between 6.5 and 7.
But you should avoid fertilizing your Oregano plant after August if the plant is not located indoors. Otherwise, you might have to heavily prune the herb before the winter which would be suboptimal.