Origanum laevigatum 'Herrenhausen'
Common Name: ornamental oregano 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Purple / pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Erosion, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


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. Avoid highly acidic soils. Also avoid poorly-drained soils. Best to shear plants back regularly before flowering to keep the planting tidy and to induce growth of new leaves. Plants may be grown as annuals north of USDA Zone 6. Plants may also be grown in containers that are overwintered indoors in a cool sunny window.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Origanum laevigatum is a shrubby, woody-based marjoram or oregano that is native to rocky areas of Turkey and Cyprus. Tiny, purplish-pink, two-lipped flowers (typical mint family) rise above the foliage in summer in terminal or axillary spikes. Flowers bloom from June to September.

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".

From Latin, the specific epithet means smooth or slippery in reference to the almost hairless plant leaves.

'Herrenhausen' is grown primarily for its attractive foliage and flowers. A rhizomatous, upright to sprawling, woody-based subshrub which typically grows 12-18" tall and spreads to 24" wide, but dies to the ground in cold winters. Stems root at the notes as they go along the ground. Features aromatic, oval, green to reddish-purple leaves (to 1" long) on contrasting red stems. Leaves deepen in color as the summer progresses, with the best purple colors usually occurring in cool climates.


No serious insect or disease problems. Root rot may occur in wet, poorly drained soils. Aphids and spider mites may appear.


Best massed in border fronts, herb gardens or rock gardens. May also be effective as an edging plant.