Wednesday, January 13, 2010

2010 Wish List #5 – Ornamental Oregano

This plant on my wish list is one I know nothing about.  I have never messed with herbs much, but my first thought might be….. INVASIVE!  There is nothing worse that plants you are not sure of having “legs” and taking over a perfectly good border.  I am slowly learning my lesson over the years to do my homework….but this one really peaks my interest.

I noticed this plant in one of my FAVORITE mail order garden site… HIGH COUNTRY GARDENS…. if you do not get this one…. click here.  In the pictures it had that deep purple color I love… almost that rich chocolate color that is so pretty.


Origanum 'Rotkugel'

Rotkugel Ornamental Oregano

Quick Facts

Attract Bees Full and Afternoon Sun Morning Sun and Afternoon Shade Attract Butterflies Legend


15” x 18” wide. (cutting propagated). Introduced to the U.S. by Dan Hinkley, this is an improvement on the taller flower cultivars like Herrenhausen. ‘Rotkugel’ is more floriferous and has a more mounding habit in flower. The plant forms low-spreading stoloniferous mats of foliage that come into bloom from August through October. The flowering stems have large, loose heads of bi-color flowers with dark purple calyces and deep pink flowers. Butterflies love this plant!

Zones 5-9.

Deciduous clump-forming perennial with rounded grey-green leaves, purple when young, a profusion of tiny, tubular, cerise pink flowers, surrounded by red-purple bracts, in summer. Full sun and well drained soil.

Name: Origanum laevigatum
Blossom color: purplish-pink
Bloom time: summer
Plant size: 2 feet tall

An excellent herb that grows well in stone walls, this 24-inch-tall creeping perennial is native to Turkey and Cypress, where it can be found growing in rocky terrain. Its dark-green leaves have a rich purple tint, and its purplish-pink flower clusters appear from late spring through autumn. Some of its cultivars are also garden worthy.

‘Herrenhausen’ (Zones 5–8) is a beautiful selection that displays masses of showy pink flowers with maroon bracts on purplish stems.

‘Hopleys’ (Zones 7–10) is taller (up to 36 inches) with large, long-blooming, deep-pink flowers. It’s a vigorous grower and more tolerant of heat than ‘Herrenhausen’.


These ornamentals are not good for cooking, but their flowers are lovely when dried.


Summer to Fall

Flower Color:

Full Sun to Mostly Sunny

Accent Color:

Soil Condition:

Plant Height:


Found in list(s):
Plants that attract Butterflies
Deer Resistant
Avoid Wetness
Winter Interest
Long Blooming 4 weeks or more
OK in containers - see FAQ for overwintering

ORIGANUM Herrenhausen : ORNAMENTAL OREGANO, Winter Sweet, Wild Marjoram

OREGANUM Herrenhausen - Ornamental Oregano - Short 16" - Plant 18" apart. A bountiful bloomer. In the fall, makes an outstanding sight as the already dark-reddish violet flowers of late summer are seen against the basal leaves which become redder - until almost purple. Attractive to butterflies.

Available: SPRING 2010

I am thinking this is not a new plant, but it seems to be a new introduction to gardening sites.  I first saw it on an episode of “A Garden Story”, they had it as a groundcover and it was really interesting, even not in bloom.

So the question is…..does groundcover equal taking over the garden?  Probably, but if it is as lovely as it looks…. that might not be such a bad thing.   But I will say it is probably for more of a wildflower look. 

Two years ago I had an oregano planted in the ground, it did well that summer.  I never used it for cooking, but it was a pretty plant.  I worried it would spread everywhere, and I did not get one start that next year.  Go figure?

Where am I thinking of using this… in my wildflower bed, away from the house…. I would love that pop of purple and it could fight it out with the other annuals.

I am anxious to hear your take on this plant… Is it a yeah or a nay?

Happy Gardening….Brooke


  1. Hi Brooke~~ I can attest to the merits of the Ornamental Oregano [and High Country Gardens]. Both Hopley's and Herrenhausen are at home in my garden borders. They're happy as long as they get adequate drainage. I also grow Kent Beauty, Santa Cruz and O. x 'Bristol Cross'. They're in bloom all summer, require little water and other than a few scattered seedlings, they aren't invasive. A lot of bang fro your buck. Too bad we don't live closer, I could share divisions with you.

    Your blog's artwork is always a breath of fresh air. I couldn't find your template/artwork on Raspberry Road. I sure had fun browsing though. Talk about whiling away the hours. Addictive.

  2. Woderful pictures and narrative. Our oldest had her wedding in our back yard year and a half ago. We planted her herb center pieces, The sage took off like crazy, as did the mint(oops). What really suprised us was the oregano. What a wonderful flower.

    Love the pics of the boys.

  3. Grace, thanks so much, if you lived down the road we would be dangerous! Lol... I'd love it.

    Jim, thank you. My dogs are so much a part of our lives, whether that is good or bad depends on the I will post about them again soon.

    You both have made me sure I want to include of course I look for seeds... I am addicted to direct sewing after last year.... Here is a link for it on ebay... I have bought from the seller and she is very nice.

  4. What a handsome looking plant...


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