Marjorams are generally used fresh, unlike their close relation oregano, whose leaves are more likely to be dried and stored. Most marjorams also have a more delicate flavour.

Leaves and flowering sprigs are popular in Greek and Italian meat dishes, soups, stuffings, tomato sauces and pasta, where they are best used towards the end of the cooking process. Leaves are used to flavour oil and vinegar.

Golden marjoram

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  • Sow seeds
  • Prick out seedlings

Month by month


You can buy ready-grown plants from garden centres or start plants from seed.

Sow seed indoors from February to May. Fill a small pot with seed compost and sow a few seeds on the surface. Cover with a light layer of sieved compost, water and place in a propagator to germinate. When seedlings are large enough to handle, prick three out into an 8cm (3in) pot of multi-purpose compost.

Grow indoors until early summer or until all danger of frost has passed, then plant in a sunny, sheltered spot in well-drained soil, or in a container.


Water pots regularly, but avoid overwatering or the roots may rot.

Keep plants compact by trimming growth after flowers fade in summer, then give them a boost by applying a liquid fertiliser.

Plants do not like to be too wet in winter, so place pots in a sheltered spot and raise onto pot feet to allow excess water to drain away.

For a winter supply of leaves, lift plants in autumn, pot them up and place them in a well lit spot under cover.

Cut back dead stems to the base.

Common problems


Look for colonies of greenfly on the soft shoot tips of plants or on leaves. They suck sap and excrete sticky honeydew, encouraging the growth of black sooty moulds.


Use your finger and thumb to squash aphid colonies or use biological control in the greenhouse.

More info on Aphids

Glasshouse red spider or two spotted mite
Glasshouse red spider or two spotted mite

Leaves become mottled, pale and covered in webbing, on which the mites can be clearly seen; leaves also drop prematurely.


They thrive in hot, dry conditions, so mist plants regularly. Use biological control in the greenhouse.

More info on Glasshouse red spider or two spotted mite


Pick leaves before the flower buds open. Either use fresh, or dry and freeze for use later.


Origanum vulgare ‘Aureum’ AGM (golden marjoram):Golden marjoram  has bright leaves and pink flowers in summer.

Origanum vulgare ‘Nanum’ (dwarf origanum):'Nanum' is a compact cultivar with small green oval leaves and whitish flowers.

Origanum x applii:Strongly pungent leaves. Needs protection over winter.

Origanum marjorana ( sweet marjoram):Sweet marjoram grows to around 60cm (24in) and has tasty green leaves.

Origanum onites (pot marjoram):Pot marjoram has dark green hairy leaves and pink flowers.

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