High Desert Plant Finder & Guide

herb

Dwarf Oregano

Origanum vulgare 'Compactum'

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Dwarf Oregano (Origanum vulgare 'Compactum') at Moana Nursery

Dwarf Oregano flowers

Dwarf Oregano flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Dwarf Oregano (Origanum vulgare 'Compactum') at Moana Nursery

Dwarf Oregano

Dwarf Oregano

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  8 inches

Spacing:  18 inches

Sunlight:  full sun 

Hardiness Zone:  3

Description:

Evergreen Herb. Small, pink-violet flowers appear in sprays in Summer. Aromatic, tiny, dark green leaves are oval-shaped. Mounding. Full sun-pt shade. Deer resistant. Great as culinary herb, edging, or in containers.

Edible Qualities

Dwarf Oregano is a perennial herb that is typically grown for its edible qualities, although it does have ornamental merits as well. The fragrant round green leaves are usually harvested from late spring to mid summer. The leaves have a pungent taste and a distinctive fragrance.

The leaves are most often used in the following ways:

  • Cooking
  • Seasoning

Features & Attributes

Dwarf Oregano features tiny pink trumpet-shaped flowers in mid summer. Its tiny fragrant round leaves remain green in color throughout the year.

This is an herbaceous evergreen perennial herb with a spreading, ground-hugging habit of growth. It brings an extremely fine and delicate texture to the garden composition and should be used to full effect. This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and should be cut back in late fall in preparation for winter. It is a good choice for attracting butterflies to your yard, but is not particularly attractive to deer who tend to leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Aside from its primary use as an edible, Dwarf Oregano is sutiable for the following landscape applications;

  • Rock/Alpine Gardens
  • Border Edging
  • General Garden Use
  • Groundcover
  • Herb Gardens
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Dwarf Oregano will grow to be about 8 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 24 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 18 inches apart. Its foliage tends to remain low and dense right to the ground. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 5 years.

This plant can be integrated into a landscape or flower garden by creative gardeners, but is usually grown in a designated edibles garden. It should only be grown in full sunlight. It prefers dry to average moisture levels with very well-drained soil, and will often die in standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in both summer and winter to conserve soil moisture and protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America.

Dwarf Oregano is a good choice for the edible garden, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its spreading habit of growth, it is ideally suited for use as a 'spiller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the edges where it can spill gracefully over the pot. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Characteristics
Rock  Edging  Garden  Groundcover  Herb  Container 
Applications
Flowers  Texture  Attracts Wildlife 
Ornamental Features

Please note: Our Plant Guide is all about plants that will work in the high desert. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a current list of plants in stock on hand at each location or at our farm. We purposely do not sell or ship plants via the internet. Plant questions and availability are best determined in-store.