How to Grow Sweet Marjoram: A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide

Sweet Marjoram (Origanum majorana, sometimes known as Marjorana hortensis). Sweet marjoram is an easy-to-grow annual herb in the same family as oregano, but with a milder flavour. It can be used fresh or dried in a variety of dishes.

Cultivation: Sweet marjoram and its close relative oregano are often considered interchangeable, but their flavours do differ. Whether growing from seed or buying an established plant, avoid confusion with oregano by finding a brand that identifies them by their botanical (Latin) names.

Sweet marjoram grows best in well-drained soil in full sun. It is drought tolerant and may develop root rot if overwatered, especially if grown in a container. Start seeds indoors in early spring and plant outdoors once danger of frost has passed. Alternatively, take cuttings from another plant. To overwinter, lift and pot your plant in the fall and bring indoors to a sunny location. Sweet marjoram’s growth habit is low and spreading, but a bushier plant with more fresh leaves can be achieved by cutting it back close to the ground when it is 10-15 centimetres tall, and again after it has flowered. A full-sized plant may be 30 to 60 centimetres tall.

Harvest any time, but the flavour is considered better before the flowers open.

Indoors, sweet marjoram can become infested with spider mites that thrive in warm dry environments. Spraying with water to increase humidity may be helpful.

Disclaimer: Toronto Master Gardeners does not advise or recommend herbs for medicinal or health use. Any information in the recommended resources should be regarded as being for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a recommendation or an endorsement of any medical or health treatment.

For more information:

Garden focused Co.UK https://www.gardenfocused.co.uk/herbs/marjoram-oregano-difference.php

Herb Society of America fact sheet: Marjoram https://www.herbsociety.org/file_download/inline/f411e1df-378f-4fcb-aa62-9179f0151c84

Missouri Botanical Garden https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=281497&isprofile=1&basic=Marjoram

RHS Grow your own herbs: Marjoram https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/grow-your-own/herbs/marjoram

Richters https://www.richters.com/

University of Illinois extension https://web.extension.illinois.edu/herbs/marjoram.cfm

University of Maryland Extension https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/marjoram-sweet

Date revised: December 2021

Prepared by the Toronto Master Gardeners, these Gardening Guides provide introductory information on a variety of gardening topics.  Toronto Master Gardeners are part of a large, international volunteer community committed to providing the public with horticultural information, education and inspiration.  Our goal is to help Toronto residents use safe, effective, proven and sustainable horticultural practices to create gardens, landscapes and communities that are both vibrant and healthy.

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