Mexican Oregano (Poliomintha longiflora)


Mexican Oregano (Poliomintha longiflora)

Features

Although not a true oregano, Mexican oregano is native to Mexico, Guatemala and parts of South America. Tiny, starry flowers appear intermittently throughout the season. Responding especially well to being pruned, consider topiaries or espaliers as an alternative to its natural form. The fragrant foliage has a sweetness and intensity in flavor that many gourmet chefs prefer. Placing whole branches over hot charcoal impart incredible flavor to grilled foods.

Uses

Culinary herb for gardens and containers. Excellent for flavoring a variety of dishes. Use leaves fresh, or dry and keep in an airtight container. The dry leaves can be used for tea. Wash fruits, vegetables and herbs thoroughly before eating.

Plant Feed

Not necessary.

Watering

Allow soil to dry between thorough waterings.

Soil

Light, well-drained soil.

Basic Care Summary

Easy-care selection adapts well to a wide range of soils. Provide light shade in the hottest regions, full sun elsewhere. Harvest foliage as needed.

Planting Instructions

Annual herbs can be planted in the garden in spring. Annual herbs are also ideal for containers. Pots can be brought indoors for the winter and placed near a sunny window for harvesting through the cold months. Return the plants outdoors in the spring when the danger of frost is past, or simply replace with fresh plants

Watering Instructions

New plantings should be watered daily for a couple of weeks. After that, depending on the weather and soil type, watering can be adjusted to every two or three days. Clay soils hold moisture longer than sandy soils, so expect to water more frequently in sandy settings.

Different plants have different water needs. Some plants prefer staying on the dry side, others like to be consistently moist. Refer to the plant label to check a plant’s specific requirements.

Ideally water should only be applied to the root zone - an area roughly 6-12” (15-30cm) from the base of the plant, not the entire plant. A soaker hose is a great investment for keeping plants healthy and reducing water lost through evaporation. Hand watering using a watering wand with a sprinkler head attached is also a good way to control watering. If the garden area is large, and a sprinkler is necessary, try to water in the morning so that plant foliage has time to dry through the day. Moist foliage encourages disease and mold that can weaken or damage plants.

To check for soil moisture use your finger or a small trowel to dig in and examine the soil. If the first 2-4” (5-10cm) of soil is dry, it is time to water.

Fertilizing Instructions

Fertilizers are available in many forms: granulated, slow-release, liquid feeds, organic or synthetic. Determine which application method is best for the situation and select a product with a nutritional balance designed to encourage blooming (such as 5-10-5).

Too much fertilizer can actually damage plants so it’s important to follow the package directions to determine how much, and how often, to feed plants.

Pruning Instructions

Prune plants freely to maintain the desired size and shape. Pinching plants back stimulates dense, bushy new growth and encourages more flowers.

Remove old flowers to keep plant looking healthy and prevent seed production that drains the plant’s energy at the expense of forming new flowers.

Some plants are grown only for their attractive foliage (such as coleus, dusty miller and flowering kale). Their flowers are not very showy and any buds should be pinched off to keep the foliage looking its best.

Plant Details

Available Colors: Lavender
Bloom Time: Summer
Height Range: 24-36" (60-90cm)
Space Range: 18-24" (46-61cm)
Lowest Temperature: 10° to 20°F (-12° to -7°C)
Plant Light: Full Sun
Companion Plants: Thyme, Sedum, Sage, Tomato
USDA Zone: 8-11

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Mexican Oregano (Poliomintha longiflora)