Lifespan: Approximately 20 years.
Leaf retention: Drought- and cold-deciduous.
Growth rate: Moderate.
Mature Size: 3-6' high and 3-6' wide.
Flowers: Tiny, white, sometimes with a yellow throat, in rounded, flattened sparse
clusters at the end of branch tips, fragrant.
Bloom: Spring through fall.
Leaves: Green, rough textured, serrated margins, edible with a strong lemon-oregano
flavor. Fragrant when crushed. New leaves are light green.
Stems: No thorns.
Wildlife: Attracts pollinating insects. Its flavor usually discourages browsing
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: New Mexico, Texas, Mexico through Nicaragua.
Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 9-11. Severely damaged at 29°F. Root hardy to 20°F.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes, but loses leaves.
Sun: Full sun.
Water after becoming established: Monthly to weekly, depending on temperature and
Soil: Well drained, low to moderate organic content, pH 6.1-7.8 (slightly acidic to
Mulch: Organic mulch, such as straw, is helpful when the plant is first placed
in the ground.
Planting: Place in ground after danger of frost is over. Can be grown in pots.
Prune: Trimming stem ends may cause fuller growth. Prune to shape after flowering.
Before the first frost of fall or winter, cut the plant at the ground and hang it inside,
upside down, to dry the leaves for use.
Litter: Low except dropped leaves in cold and drought conditions.
Propagation: Seed, cuttings.
Uses: Ornamental, culinary. The leaves will crumble easily when dried and are used as
seasoning for their lemon-oregano flavor. Many people prefer to use Mexican Oregano in place
of standard Oregano (Origanum vulgare).
This plant is a member of the Verbena family (Verbenaceae). Another plant, an ornamental
named Poliomintha maderensis: Lavender Spice
is also called Mexican Oregano.
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Latest update: June, 2019.