Marjoram (Sweet Marjoram)

  • Plant Type: Tender perennial
  • Sun: Full sun
  • Plant Size: 1 to 2 feet tall, 12 to 18 inches wide
  • Culinary Use: Leaves for seasoning stuffing, soups, stews

Often called the "bean herb" because it goes so well with green beans, sweet marjoram is sometimes confused with oregano because of its similar looks and related flavor. However, sweet marjoram tends to be milder and sweeter, with a slight peppery taste. With a low-growing habit, marjoram makes a pretty groundcover or edging. The “sweet” in sweet marjoram distinguishes it from wild marjoram (not used for culinary purposes).

How you treat sweet marjoram depends on your zone. It’s very tender to frost and light freezes; in zones 7 and above, it’s best grown as an annual outdoors, often planted in pots that can be brought indoors though winter. In zone 8 and 9, it’s a perennial but needs airy mulch protection in winter. In zone 10, it’s a winter annual, susceptible to summer heat and humidity.

Plant Spacing: 1 foot. Plants Per Person: 1 to 2.

Secrets to Success »

A Mediterranean native favoring a dry climate, marjoram likes light, dry, well-drained soil. For better drainage, plant in a raised bed, on a slight slope, or in a container, or add sand and compost to clay soil. Water during dry spells but don’t overwater.

Harvest and Use »

Pick fresh leaves as needed starting 4 to 6 weeks after planting; cut in the morning after dew has dried. Don’t wash the leaves or you’ll lose the aromatic oils. Dried marjoram maintains that sweet flavor. To dry, pick no more than 1/3 of the plant’s stems, just after flower buds appears but before they open; once dried, strip the leaves from the stems. Sweet marjoram enhances most vegetables, but especially green beans. Preserve in oils, vinegars, or butter.

Try these garden companions »

  • Thyme, basil, chives, sage.
  • Onions.
  • Bush beans, spinach, sweet peas, carrots.

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