(Origanum majorana ‘Sweet')
Sweet Marjoram is a sub-shrub perennial herb that is native to the Mediterranean and Turkey but can be commonly found growing in gardens throughout the United States. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 24-36” and features square-like branching reddish stems, 1 ½” aromatic, oval-shaped, grayish-green leaves, and tubular, two-lipped, white-pale pink flower clusters. This plant attracts bees and butterflies, is rabbit safe, tolerates drought and light frost, is both edible and medicinal, and self sows!
Harvesting & Storage
Culinary & Medicinal
Variety: Sweet Marjoram
Also Known As: Knotted Marjoram and Pot Marjoram.
Native to: Cyprus, Turkey.
Introduced into: Algeria, Azores, Baleares, Baltic States, Corse, Czechoslovakia, Great Britain, Greece, India, Italy, Juan Fernández Is., Krym, Libya, Madeira, Morocco, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Ukraine, Venezuela, Yugoslavia.
Ease of Growing: Moderate
Grown as: Annual: 6-8
Tender Perennial: 9-11
Maturity (Blooms): July to August
Hardiness: Half Hardy. This tender perennial prefers full sunlight and thrives in warm daytime temperatures in the 70 °F range. Marjoram will not survive harsh northern winters outdoors.
Crops: Spring Transplant
Growing Season: Short, Long
Growing Conditions: Cool, Warm, Hot. Marjoram prefers light, well-drained, moderately fertile soil with a neutral pH. Water regularly, but moderately.
Min Outdoor Soil Temp: 60°F. Start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before frost or sow seed directly after last frost, when soils have reached at least 60˚ F.
Start Indoors: Yes
Start Outdoors: No
Light: Full Sun. Min. 6 hours daily (Cool, Warm, Hot). Marjoram is native to the Mediterranean, and prefers to be placed in full sun.
Water: Dry to medium. Marjoram is adapted to a Mediterranean climate and suffers more from too much water than not enough.
Feeder: Light. Marjoram should be grown in soil that is lightly fertilized.
Suitability: Drought tolerant, Tolerates light frost, High heat.
Small Gardens?: Yes
Containers?: Yes. Marjoram is perfectly suited for container growing, as long as the roots have at least 6" of growing space. Make sure to choose a container that drains well and fill with regular potting soil. Water when the soil becomes dry. Place in full sun. Trim regularly.Marjoram will happily live in a container for the long term, but you should transfer to a larger pot before the roots rot.
Attracts Beneficial Insects?: Yes. Its flowers are very attractive to bees and other pollinators, which will improve the pollination rate of all marjoram companion plants.
Sow Depth: Just beneath the surface of the soil
Produces: branching reddish stems, 1 ½” aromatic, oval-shaped, grayish-green leaves, and tubular, two-lipped, white-pale pink flower clusters.
USDA Grow Zone: 6-11
Garden Uses: Herb gardens. Edging. Effective in window boxes, hanging baskets or containers.
Transplant well after the last frost, since marjoram cannot tolerate cold. Place the seedlings 10-12" apart in light, well drained soil and full sun.
Marjoram can also be direct sown after the last frost, planting the seeds 6-8" apart and thinning the seedlings to 10-12". Marjoram also grows very well as a container plant or houseplant.
When: Plant outdoors 2 to 4 weeks after last frost date.
How: Dig a hole 4 - 6" deep (depending on the container size). Gently squeeze the sides of the container to release the soil. Remove the plant and soil from the container and place into hole. Surround with additional soil, but don't bury the base of the plant. Give a good watering.
Cold, Cool, Warm, Hot: Marjoram prefers light, well-drained, moderately fertile soil with a neutral pH. Water regularly, but moderately.
When outdoor temp: 55°F to 90°F, optimal temp 70°F to 80°F
When min soil temp: 60°F. Start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before frost or sow seed directly after last frost, when soils have reached at least 60˚ F.
Spacing: 6.0"-8.0", 4 plants per sq ft. Plant 6 to 8" apart.
Water Needs: Low. Marjoram is adapted to a Mediterranean climate and suffers more from too much water than not enough.
Fertilizer Needs: Light. Marjoram should be grown in soil that is lightly fertilized.
Watering: Water, 0.5 inch(es), every 2 weeks. Marjoram is very drought tolerant, but will grow best if it gets some water when the soil is drying out.
Pruning: 1 time. If the plant starts to get woody, cut it down to within a couple of inches of the ground. This will stimulate it to send up fresh new growth.
Wait until the plant has reached a height of 6 to 8" tall before picking leaves for use. Harvest leaves as desired. Leaves retain flavor well when dried; dry away from sun to preserve color and flavor. Store in an airtight container.
Storage Req: Refrigerator
Storage Temp: °F
Storage Length: 1-180 days
Cut the shoots and leaves as you need them. Dry in a dark, cool place and keep in airtight container.
Storage Req: Dry
Storage Temp: 50-65°F
Storage Length: 1-360 days
Pick fresh leaves and put in ice tray and cover with water.
Storage Req: Freezer
Storage Temp: 32°F
Storage Length: 1-180 days
Seed Viability in Years: 3 - 5 years
Culinary Use: Use Marjoram leaves dried or fresh in chili, tomato sauce, meats, and pizza.
Leaves: raw or cooked. Sweet marjoram is widely used as a flavoring for salad dressings, vegetables, legumes and oils. It has a more delicate flavor than the closely related oregano (Origanum vulgare), and is best when used fresh and only added towards the end of cooking. The aromatic seeds are used as a flavoring in sweets, drinks etc. A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves. The flavor resembles a blend of thyme, rosemary and sage.