Origanum majorana. Sweet Marjoram is a key ingredient in many Mediterranean dishes adding a similar flavour to oregano, but more delicate. This pale green, bushy plant will spread readily if the tops are pinched out when young. Direct sow Sweet Marjoram seeds uncovered in the spring. Pull the whole plant up in fall and hang to dry or pot some up to grow on a windowsill all winter. Marjoram performs very well in containers or any part of the garden with good drainage and full sun. The flowers are attractive to honeybees and other pollinators, and the leaves and sprigs are great for flavouring oils and vinegars.
Marjoram is the milder cousin of oregano, with a very similar flavour profile but gentler impact. Sprinkle some freshly cut marjoram over an omelette or baguette for a savoury treat. Follow this handy How to Grow Marjoram from seed guide and grow some flavour.
Season & Zone
Exposure: Full sun
Zone: Hardy to Zone 5
Start indoors in plug trays from February to April. Starting indoors is more reliable than direct sowing. Use bottom heat to maintain a constant soil temperature of 15°C (60°F) for best results. Seeds should germinate in 7 to 14 days.
Marjoram seeds are dust-like, so handle them with care. Prepare your containers or trays using sterilized seed starting mix, and water the mix. Then try to distribute the tiny seeds evenly on the surface of the wet soil. Do not bury them. As seedlings grow, reduce watering so that the soil is only just damp, never wet.
Grow in a sunny and warm spot. Thin or transplant leaving 25cm (10″) between plants. Cut back after flowering to prevent them from getting straggly. As autumn approaches, divide some to bring inside over winter. Cut back the year’s growth for the rest of your plants to about 6cm (2½”) from the soil.
Marjoram is particularly good for repelling cabbage moths, and it can be planted between rows of Brassicas for this purpose. Also good around asparagus and basil.
More on Companion Planting.