Origanum 'Bristol Cross'
Common Name: oregano 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: August to October
Bloom Description: Purple with showy pink bracts
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Herb
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Dried
Leaf: Fragrant
Tolerate: Deer


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.

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".

'Bristol Cross' is a cross between Origanum laevigatum and Origanum rotundifolium. It has rose-tinged, chartreuse bracts that overlap resembling decorative braids or chains with tiny, tubular, purple flowers at the tips. The medium green leaves are fragrant with a mild oregano flavor and may be used in cooking. The wiry cascading stems form a dwarf mounding perennial that grows 1/2 to 3/4 ft. tall and 1 to 1 1/2 ft. wide.


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 tend to avoid this plant.


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