UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA


Garden Help > Herbs

Marjoram is grown for its aromatic leaves, which can be used fresh or dried. Closely related to oregano, they are sometimes used interchangeably in recipes. In general, marjoram has a sweeter, more floral flavor than oregano. Enjoy marjoram in soups, egg dishes, beef and chicken dishes, sausages, and cheese dishes. Flower heads are often used in craft work.

How to grow

Keep plants trimmed to remain compact and the leaves tender.

  • Type: Perennial, woody
  • Light: Full sun. Variegated leaf varieties prefer afternoon shade
  • Soil: Well drained
  • Water: Moderate
  • Mature Size: 1-2' high, 6-8" wide. Space plants 12-18" apart

When to plant/propagate

Marjoram is freeze-sensitive, so in cold winter microclimates grow as an annual or in a container. 

  • From seed: Direct seed after the last frost date in spring, or sow seeds indoors 8-10 weeks prior to the last frost date
  • Transplants: Plant seedlings when danger of frost is past
  • Cuttings & divisions: Propagate from cuttings prior to bloom. Divisions can be done year round


  • For best leaf flavor, do not allow plant to flower
  • Harvest both the tender leaves (to be added at the end of cooking) and hardier leaves with whole stems (typically added at the beginning of the cooking process, then removed)
  • For the most tender leaves, harvest frequently to encourage new growth and prevent flowers from developing. Pinch off any flowers that do develop
  • Dry the leaves for winter use. Shelf life is approximately one year
  • Many beneficial insects appreciate marjoram flowers, so consider allowing some plants to flower

Indoors: Marjoram can be grown as an indoor plant with 5-6 hours of bright light from a sunny window, or 12-16 hours of supplemental light provided by cool white fluorescent or LED lamps

Common pests & diseases: Leafhoppers

More information

Recommended Varieties for Santa Clara County

There are no specific recommendations for marjoram varieties.


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