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How To Harvest Oregano Without Killing The Plant? [Personal Experience!]

Have you ever wondered how to harvest oregano without killing the plant?

Being a versatile culinary herb, oregano can be used in many ways. By adding the leaves to any dish or drink, you can taste the fresh flavor. It is essential to harvest oregano in the right manner to get a fresh-tasting herb.

After all the effort in nurturing your oregano plant from seeding to maturity, the last thing you would want is to wrongly harvest them. Keep reading and I will guide you on how to harvest oregano without killing the plant, by taking just these simple steps! 

At a glance, we will be looking at:

  • Steps To Cut Oregano Without Killing The Plant
  • What Is Oregano Used For?
  • How Does Oregano Grow?
  • When Is The Best Time To Harvest Oregano?
  • Should I Let My Oregano Flower?
  • Should I Cut Back Oregano?
  • Is Oregano Better Fresh Or Dried?
  • How Do You Use Fresh Oregano?
  • How To Dry Oregano
  • How To Store Oregano

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Steps To Cut Oregano Without Killing The Plant

As opposed to growing outwards, oregano grows from the tip of the stem.

There are many types of oregano plants out there. How to harvest Greek oregano?

How to harvest oregano without killing the plant? Let’s find out!

Regardless of whether to harvest Italian or Greek oregano, they follow the same basic steps.

You only need a pair of clean, sharp scissors or small garden snips. The cleaner the cut, the healthier the plant, which encourages new growth and is disease free. 

how to harvest oregano without killing the plant

How to care for oregano and harvest them right?

An easier way to care for oregano is to cut off the whole stems of oregano, although you can choose to pick off individual leaves as needed. 

When it comes to the right way to harvest oregano, it is to harvest the stems from the top down and only select the parts that are fresh, and healthy with a cluster of leaves. 

Here are the steps to take in harvesting oregano. 

1. Cut right above a leaf node, also known as the growth node, which is the point where the leaves start to grow. Cutting the stems just above the node will encourage the plant to grow bushier, which is ideal for future harvest.

2. The rule of thumb is to avoid taking more than 1/3 of the oregano plant at one time. Choose a stem that is at least 6 to 8 inches tall.

3. Use one hand to hold the stem around 2/3rd of the way down to keep it steady. Slide your fingers upward using your other hand, along the length of the stem to get the leaves into your hand and leave the bare stem behind.

4. Then you can trim off the bare stem just above the leaf node so the plant can regenerate.

how to harvest oregano without killing the plant

What Is Oregano Used For?

Oregano is a widely used herb. People commonly add it to their food such as soups, pizzas, pasta, chicken, and salads.

how to harvest oregano without killing the plant

It is used to flavor food and it works well with many sauces, different types of meat, and all sorts of vegetables.

The possibilities are virtually never-ending.

This beautiful green herb also adds a delicious flavor to cheeses, eggs, fish, and even beans.

When you use fresh oregano, always add it towards the end of cooked dishes, to keep its flavor well. However, for dried oregano, you can use it at any point during the cooking session. 

How Does Oregano Grow?

Oregano is a Mediterranean herb, which means it favors hot, dry, and sunny conditions. Despite this, it adjusts well to almost all growing conditions except for overly damp areas. 

Anywhere between six inches and two feet is the average growth for oregano stems. Many use the stalks to make wreaths and other types of decorative items. 

how to harvest oregano without killing the plant

Oregano is mainly grown for its leaves which are typically oblong and come to a point.

They are medium to dark green. You can usually see the leaves push to the outside of the plant as they are getting sunlight, making it look like branches instead of stalks.

Oregano also has edible flowers that are small and either purple or white. Pollinators like bees adore it when oregano starts to bloom. Plants can grow up to 2’ tall and form an excellent ground cover.

When Is the Best Time To Harvest Oregano?

The height of the plant is one of the main factors in determining the right oregano harvest time to pick your oregano leaves.

When to harvest oregano for drying or for fresh? It is best to wait until the plant is mature, at least 5 – 6 inches tall before harvesting it, to ensure it is not damaged during harvesting. Oregano plants can be harvested about 8 weeks after seeds develop.

The morning after the dew has dried, before the day has started to heat up is the best time to harvest oregano. This is when the flavor is strong, potent, and at its peak. This is also when the essential oils are more concentrated.

how to harvest oregano without killing the plant

Also, it is a good time to cut the plant before the buds open, which is usually mid-to-late summer. This is because at the end of the growing season when the plant flowers, the leaves will start to lose their flavor and produces a bitter taste instead.

Oregano plants usually take about 2 to 3 weeks to grow back to their foliage. Hence, if you ask me how to harvest oregano without killing the plant? 

I would advise you to harvest your plants regularly and avoid harvesting them all at once. Take small amounts when required. By doing so, you will be able to enjoy fresh herbs whenever you want.

Should I Let My Oregano Flower?

If you want to collect oregano seeds, then yes. The flowers on the oregano plant are what produce oregano seeds. When you are harvesting the plant, trim the flowers when they begin to dry. 

After hanging them upside down for 2 to 3 weeks, shake the flower heads to collect the seeds. 

Should I Cut Back Oregano?

Yes, regular pruning promotes growth. Without regular pruning, oregano will grow up to tall and it will start to space out, which we call “leggy.” You will notice less of a bush-like look to it and more space between the leaves which is not healthy.

If this happens, harvesting some of the leaves and part of the stems will keep plants trimmed and healthy. This will promote new growth and keep the form of the plant denser and more compact with branching stems and leaves close together. 

Is Oregano Better Fresh Or Dried?

For the best flavor, fresh oregano is better than its dried counterparts. If you want to taste the flavor at its best, harvest it right before you are about to use it. However, if you want to save it, go for dried oregano as fresh oregano does not last very long. 

How Do You Use Fresh Oregano?

Fresh oregano can be used in so many ways. Adding it to chicken for a delightful flavor profile. Oregano goes well with chicken, no matter how you make it – roasted, grilled, baked, or poached. Chopped oregano can make it tastier. 

Consider adding It to your marinade or stuffing springs inside a whole chicken.

Mix it in with beef for the amazing flavor of the burger. Throw some chopped oregano into your meat before you cook up the patties.

Mix a bit of oregano in your pesto to create a tastier flavor. Add some fresh oregano into your pesto, then drizzle it over pasta, salad, or flatbread.

how to harvest oregano without killing the plant

How To Dry Oregano

Drying oregano leaves is the best way to store your harvest for long-term use as the process is very easy and simple. Below are the steps for drying oregano:

  • Wash oregano sprigs
  • Remove all moisture from leaves
  • Hang oregano bunches where it is dry and warm
  • Crumble oregano when completely dry and brittle

Placing the oregano plant in between sheets of parchment paper is another alternative. Make sure the sprigs are laid in a single layer for this method. 

how to harvest oregano without killing the plant

It is best to use your dried oregano within the year as dried oregano can last for up to one year only. After then, it may lose a bit of flavor, but it can still be used for a while longer. 

How To Store Oregano

What to do with oregano harvest and how to store them? 

Fresh oregano keeps well for up to a couple of weeks in the right conditions. Store it between moistened paper towels if you are using them soon after harvesting. Place these in the refrigerator, as fresh herbs last longer in colder temperatures.

If you are using the stems in the next week or two, you should store them standing up in a glass or vase filled with fresh water. Also, remember to change the water every couple of days to see good results.

For the leaves, you can store whole oregano leaves in an airtight container in the freezer. By storing in this manner, the leaves can be stored for an entire year. 

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how to harvest oregano without killing the plant

FAQs On How To Harvest Oregano Without Killing The Plant?

How to Start Oregano From Seed?

So, how to start growing oregano from seeds? Start seeding indoors. Sow oregano indoors as early as 4 weeks before the average last frost date. 10 to 15 days is the usual time taken to germinate. Optimal germination will be at 70°F and seeds germinate best in the light – thus, advise to cover seeds with cheesecloth until seedlings begin to show. 

How To Plant Oregano Seedlings?

How do plant oregano seedlings? Firstly, place oregano seeds on top of the soil and lightly press them into the surface. The tiny seeds need light to germinate, which usually takes about 4 days. Hence, do not cover the tiny seeds. Sow seeds in rows at 20 inches apart and thin seedlings at 8 inches. 

What Parts Of Oregano Are Edible?

Wondering what parts of oregano are edible? The leaves, though the stems and flower buds are sometimes eaten as well, are the most common part of an oregano plant typical eaten. Oregano can be enjoyed fresh or dried – although oregano is mainly eaten dried, fresh oregano leaves produce an aromatic flavor. 

How Do You Pick Oregano So It Keeps Growing?

Wondering how do you pick oregano so it keeps growing? To pick oregano so it keeps growing, simply snip off the tips across the top of the plant (around 2 to 3ins long). If you choose to remove the whole stems, cut the steam just cleanly with scissors right above the leaf node. This will encourage the branching and growing of new sets of leaves. 

How Do You Know When Oregano Is Ready To Pick?

How do you know when oregano is ready to pick? Once the stems are at least four inches tall, it is time to harvest. Generally, let them grow to about 8 inches tall, and then cut back up to of the plant. Regular trimming will encourage new growth. 

What Part Of Oregano Do You Harvest?

The leaves are the main part of harvesting. The leaves will be collected in your hand, and then all you have to do is trim the now leafless stem. Harvest oregano leaves just before the plant flowers. Even the subtly flavored flowers are great topped on salads.

Does Oregano Regrow After Cutting?

Does oregano regrow after cutting? Yes, oregano regrows easily after cutting if harvests are made earlier in the season. A healthy oregano plant will have multiple sets of leaves on each stem but no fully developed flower buds at the stem tips. 

How Do You Trim Oregano Without Killing It?

So, how do you trim oregano without killing it? Snip off a few shoots about 2/3 of the way down the plant. Use sharp scissors or a pruner to clip the stem about 2/3 of the way down. You do not have to worry about being too gentle – the oregano plant is pretty tough to kill. 

how to harvest oregano without killing the plant

This sums up the right steps to take on how to harvest oregano without killing the plant. This keeps your plant healthy by encouraging new growth in the future.

If you do not chop the stems properly, it will lead to diseases, damage, or even death. Remember not to take all the leaves at once and to cut your oregano from the top down. Also, make clean cuts just above the lead nodes.

The key to harvesting oregano plants without killing the plant lies in the timing, frequency of harvesting, and preparation for the winter.

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