Origanum 'Kent Beauty'
Common Name: oregano
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 moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Does very well in gritty, sandy loams. Good heat and drought tolerance. Best to shear plants back regularly before flowering to keep the planting tidy and to induce growth of new leaves.

'Kent Beauty' is 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

Origanum is a genus of about 20 species of herbaceous perennials and deciduous and evergreen subshrubs. They are native to the Mediterranean and South West Asia. Some are used as culinary herbs.

Genus name probably comes from the Greek words oros meaning mountain and gamos meaning beauty in reference to the physical appearance of this plant which is sometimes native of mountain areas where it is appropriately referred to as “beauty of the mountain”.

‘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. Fungal diseases, aphids and spider mites are occasional problems.

Garden Uses

Mass in border fronts, herb gardens or rock gardens. Also effective as an edger.

'Kent Beauty' is extremely effective when grown as an annual in window boxes, hanging baskets or containers.