Origanum 'Norton Gold'

Common Name: marjoram 
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 August
Bloom Description: Pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Herb
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful, Fragrant
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, 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. Best to shear plants back regularly before flowering to keep the planting tidy and to promote new growth.

'Norton Gold' may not be reliably winter hardy throughout USDA Zone 5 where it should be grown in a somewhat protected location.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Origanum is a genus of about 20 species of herbaceous perennials and deciduous and evergreen sub-shrubs. They are native to the Mediterranean and southwestern 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".

'Norton Gold' is a cross between O. laevigatum and O. vulgare 'Aureum'. It is an ornamental perennial grown primarily for its attractive foliage and flowers. An upright to sprawling, woody-based, shrubby perennial which typically grows in rounded mounds to 1-2' tall and spreads to 24" wide, but dies to the ground in cold winters. Stems may root at the nodes as they go along the ground. Features glossy-golden, oval-shaped leaves (to 1" long) which often show a bluish sheen. Tiny, pink, two-lipped flowers (typical mint family) appear in terminal or axillary spikes in summer. Foliage is aromatic but not usually used for culinary purposes, although it would make an excellent garnish.


No serious insect or disease problems. Root rot may occur in wet, poorly drained soils. Fungal diseases, aphids and spider mites are occasional problems. Deer and rabbits tend to avoid this plant.


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