How To: Grow Hydroponic Oregano

By: Chris | Last Updated: November 25, 2020

One of the easiest hydroponic plants to grow is oregano. If it were an animal, hydroponic oregano would be a honey badger. It will grow literally anywhere in your grow area, with just about any nutrient mix, and in just about any pH your other plants can stand.

If you’re just getting into hydroponics and want to grow a plant that’s hard as hell to accidentally kill, oregano is your pick! 

Optimal Hydroponic System: Any
Best Grow Medium: Rockwool or Grow Plugs
Time to Germinate: 7-21 Days
Time to Maturity: 90-200 Days*
Optimal pH Range: 6.0 – 7.0
Optimal Nutrient Mix: Any well-balanced mix for lettuce
EC Range: 1.8 – 2.3
Growing Difficulty: Very Easy

*Time to maturity is in reference to growing a fully mature oregano plant. Oregano plants will be ready for first harvest much sooner.

Oregano Germination

Oregano seeds are tiny, and delicate so handle them with care when germinating. The seeds will germinate best at a temperature close to 70°F, and under direct light. Some people swear by stratifying oregano seeds for a week prior to germination, but I’ve had great success skipping this step.

I germinate oregano seeds using the simple paper towel seed germination method. If you prefer, you can also place seeds directly into rockwool or grow plugs for germination.

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Oregano seeds can be slow to germinate, so don’t give up on ‘em too early. If you use the paper towel method, most seeds should be developed into transplantable seedlings after 14 days. Slow starters may take up to 21 days to develop.

How to Grow Oregano from a Cutting

Oregano Cutting Tips

If you already have an oregano plant, it doesn’t have to be hydroponic, count yourself lucky! Cuttings are the fastest way to grow a new oregano plant, plus it’s really easy to do it! If you’ve never made a cutting before, have no fear, it’s not any different than harvesting a stem. Just don’t eat it!

Step 1
Take a 5-6” cutting from a mature oregano plant. This can be done with pruning shears or sharp scissors. If you’re not good with guestimating how long something is, cut a stem  roughly the length of your hand from pinky to palm. Unless, your Shaq!

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Step 2
Remove the lower leaves. This area will produce the root system for the new plant.

Step 3 (Optional) 
Coat the cut end with a rooting hormone. I have never had to do this with oregano. It’s a hardy plant, which makes it really easy to grow from cuttings.

Step 4
Place the cutting into rockwool or grow plug. For growing from cuttings I prefer using grow plugs, but that’s totally up to you!

Step 5
Place the new cutting into a net cup in your hydroponic system. I prefer to use at least a 2” net cup to give the root system plenty of room to develop. This plant lives a long time, and will need a healthy root system for support. 

The nutrient solution level needs to be at a height that will just touch the bottom of the plug or rockwool. This will allow the nutrient solution to wick up to the cutting without waterlogging.

Note: The cutting may start to sag, and look like death for a few days. Don’t worry, you did it right and it should spring to life quickly. From that point it will be growing like crazy!

Hydroponic Oregano Fact Sheet

Growing Hydroponic Oregano

If you can grow hydroponic lettuce, you can grow hydroponic oregano. It will grow in any hydroponic system, including the Kratky method. One or two oregano plants will be plenty, unless you eat a TON of oregano or you’re feeding a small army.

Oregano is not a picky plant by any means. As long as your pH balance is somewhere between 6.0 – 7.0, and you’re using a nutrient solution suitable for lettuce, you’re ready to grow.

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In terms of lighting, oregano doesn’t require intense direct light and will grow great on the perimeter of your grow area. Ya’ know, those spots where lettuce doesn’t produce as well? Oregano will love it there. If it needs more light, it will grow its way toward the light. You can easily move it out of the way of other plants.

As far as temperature goes, somewhere around 70°F is optimal. My grow room temperatures range from around 60°F at night to 75°F during the day, and oregano doesn’t seem to mind a bit. It just keeps on growing.

Spacing hydroponic oregano isn’t much of an issue. It grows similar to a vine or ivy, making it easy to direct out of the way of other plants. In most cases, a spacing of 6 inches should be manageable.

That’s about all you need to grow happy, healthy hydroponic oregano.

Time To Maturity: 90-200 Days | pH Range: 6.0-7.0 | EC: 1.8-2.3 | Light/Dark Cycle: 12hr/12hr | Hydroponic System: Any | Grow Medium: Rockwool/Grow Plugs | Spacing: 6-8”

How to Harvest Oregano

One sure-fire way to promote the growth of an oregano plant is by harvesting it. You can begin harvesting leaves from the plant once it reaches 6” tall or so. You also want to harvest stems before they form flower buds. It’s also a good idea to harvest in order to keep the plant somewhat tidy.

To harvest oregano, simply cut a stem, or stems, with sharp shears or scissors. Cutting just above a set of leaves (growth node) will allow the plant to branch out with new growth from that point.

Don’t worry about getting super technical, just cut it close and you’ll be good to grow.

How to Dry Oregano

Dried Oregano

Drying oregano is really simple. If you have a food dehydrator, you can lay stalks out one layer per tray and quickly dry them in the dehydrator. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you’ll be using the old fashioned way.

Hang-Drying Oregano
1. Tie a bundle of stems together with twine at the cut end.
2. Find an area with good air circulation. A window will work.
3. Hang bundle from a hook, or use a folded out paper clip in an “S” shape as a makeshift hook.
4. If drying at a window, rotate the bundle every day or two so it dries evenly.

If you’re hang-drying oregano, it will normally be dry in 4 to 5 weeks. Once the oregano is dry, you can remove the leaves from the stems. Once you’ve done this, separate the stems and other chaff from the leaves. At this point you can store leaves whole, crushed, or however else you like them! Store dried oregano in an air-tight container in a dark cool place, like your cupboard or wherever you store other herbs.

FAQ

How long does oregano take to grow from seed?

90-200 days. It can take up to 200 days for an oregano plant to reach full maturity, but you’ll be able to harvest edible leaves, as well as cuttings, well before the 90-day mark.

Can I grow oregano from a cutting?

Yes, in fact, growing from a cutting is arguably the easiest and fastest way to grow oregano. A 5-6″ cutting placed in a rockwool starter cube will take off like a weed after only a few days.

Can you grow oregano inside?

Yes, oregano is well suited to growing inside either hydroponically or in soil. Oregano doesn’t require an extreme amount of sunlight and can perform really well on a sunny countertop or the perimeter of your indoor grow area.

Now You Oregano

Well, now you “oregano” how to grow hydroponic oregano. It’s a great addition to your hydroponic garden whether you’re a seasoned pro or gearing up for your first grow. You will love how easy this plant grows, tastes, and smells!

Want to try out a new recipe with your dried hydroponic oregano? One of my all time favorites is this grilled shrimp with oregano and lemon recipe by Ethan Stowell. It tastes amazing, and it looks super gourmet when plated!

Chris Cook started Happy Hydro Farm to share his passion for hydroponic gardening! Growing your own food is incredibly rewarding both physically and mentally. His mantra - "Take excellent care of your plants, and your plants will take excellent care of you."