Origanum laevigatum 'Hopleys'
Common Name: marjoram 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Zone: 7 to 10
Height: 1.50 to 2.50 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.50 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Purplish-pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Erosion


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.

'Hopleys' (synonymous with and sometimes designated as 'Hopley's Purple') is a cultivar that is ornamentally grown for its attractive gray-green foliage and its profuse summer bloom of purplish-pink flowers. It typically grows in a rounded clump to 20-28" tall. Oval to elliptic leaves (to 1" long) emerge with purplish tones in spring, but quickly change to medium/dark gray-green. Foliage is aromatic, but not flavorful enough to qualify for serious culinary use. Dried leaves may be added to potpourris. This cultivar was developed at Hopleys Plants Ltd. in Hertfordshire, England.


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.

Excellent cut flower that retains purplish color while drying.