Origanum laevigatum 'Silver Anniversary'
Common Name: marjoram 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful, Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Erosion, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil

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. 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.

'Silver Anniversary' is a small-leaved ornamental oregano cultivar that is grown for its attractive foliage and its flowers. Although the foliage is aromatic, it is not of the pungency and quality expected for culinary oreganos and is usually not used in cooking. It is an upright to sprawling, woody-based, shrubby perennial which typically grows in rounded mounds to 15" tall and spreads to 24" wide. Stems may root at the nodes as they go along the ground. Features oval, variegated, creamy yellow and white leaves (to 1/2" long). Tiny, pink, two-lipped flowers (typical mint family) appear in terminal or axillary spikes in summer, typically rising to as much as 10" above the foliage.

Problems

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

Garden Uses

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