Origanum 'Kent Beauty'
Common Name: marjoram
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.70 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: Pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant
Tolerate: Deer

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Does very well in gritty, sandy loams. Superior soil drainage is the key to growing this plant well. Good heat and drought tolerance. Best to cut plants to the ground in late fall. If not cut back, foliage will die to the ground anyway when temperatures near zero degrees F. Not reliably winter hardy throughout the St. Louis area where it should be grown in a protected location with a winter mulch. Notwithstanding its perennial nature, this oregano performs superbly in the St. Louis area as a flowering annual in containers, hanging baskets and window boxes.

Noteworthy Characteristics

‘Kent Beauty’ is a hybrid ornamental oregano (O. rotundifolium x O. scabrum) that is grown primarily for its attractive flowers and foliage. In the St. Louis area, it may be grown as either an annual or a perennial. This is a bushy, trailing plant (to 10” tall) with wiry stems densely covered with small, oval, silver-veined, glaucous leaves (to 3/4” long). Unique, drooping, pink-bracted, hop-like flowers bloom in whorls from summer to fall. Although the foliage is aromatic, it is not of the pungency and quality expected for culinary oreganos and is usually not used in cooking. Bracted-flowers may be dried for use in dried flower arrangements. Notwithstanding its aforementioned parentage, ‘Kent Beauty’ is often sold by nurseries as a cultivar of O. rotundifolium.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Root rot may occur in wet, poorly drained soils.

Garden Uses

Border fronts or rock gardens. Excellent edger. Extremely effective when grown as an annual in window boxes, hanging baskets or containers.