Marjoram is used in the kitchen as a spice and helps with various health problems. We have instructions for cultivation and care for you.© Pixelmixel - Fotolia.com
The marjoram (Origanum majorana) belongs to the family of the labiate family and is related to the oregano. The plant originating from Cyprus has long since conquered our raised beds and herb spirals. The spicy kitchen herb can also be cultivated in the plant pot on the windowsill.
Marjoram gives a characteristic taste to potato dishes, soups and not least sausages. The nickname sausage herb is also common. What makes the spice plant, what needs to be taken into account when growing and caring for it and how versatile marjoram can be used will be read below.
❍ Small plant description
|Marjoram (Origanum majorana)|
|Height:||up to 50 cm|
|Use:||Herb bed, pot|
|Location:||Sun to partial shade|
|"Show more pictures and data|
Marjoram grows in small perennials that reach heights of 20 to 40 centimeters. The garden major differs from oregano by its dark green, relatively large and slightly hairy leaves. The opposite leaves appear almost round and are about 2.5 centimeters tall.
The hermaphrodite inflorescences appear from June. The flower consists of a fluffy hairy calyx and white crown leaves. Developing from this are round one-millimeter large partial fruits.
Origin and distribution
The marjoram could be described as an exotic spice. The original home of the sausage herb lies in the Arab region, probably in Cyprus. Marjoram has been known in our latitudes since the late Middle Ages. In Central Europe, the monks began planting marjoram in the monastery gardens in the 16th century.
Today the plant is cultivated in a targeted manner throughout the Mediterranean region, as well as in Central or Eastern Europe. The area under cultivation in Germany is around 600 hectares. This means that leaf parsley alone is grown on a large scale in this country. The cultivation of marjoram in Germany focuses on Saxony-Anhalt. The region around Aschersleben in the northern Harz foothills is favored.
Marjoram is rich in essential oils. However, the content of these health-promoting substances fluctuates greatly. A plant can contain up to 3.5 percent essential oils.
Tip: The concentration of essential oils is highest during the flowering period.
The soil, the climate and the season influence the concentration of the ingredients.
In addition to essential oils, the following substances are also included:
- ascorbic acid
- rosemary acid
Tip: The phenols found in related oregano are not contained in marjoram.
Marjoram as a herb© 5ph - Fotolia.com
The high proportion of essential oils gives the marjoram a strong and intense taste. A rather economical use is recommended for the housewife. The leaves give mashed potatoes, poultry or game dishes a distinctive taste. Not to be forgotten is the spice of numerous sausages, which gave the marjoram its nickname. It can be used fresh, dried or frozen.
Tip: Marjoram still has the full aroma when dried.
Based on the cooking tradition in the oriental region, marjoram can be used to flavor bean or lentil dishes. Hearty stews get an intense taste when marjoram and bacon are added.
Every now and then marjoram can also be found as an ingredient in the mixture "Herbs of Provence". However, the spice does not appear in the basic Mediterranean mix.
Marjoram as a medicinal plant
The use of marjoram as a medicinal plant goes back to ancient times. The Arabs used the herb as a remedy for drunkenness. The ancient Greeks even gave marjoram aphrodisiac properties and dedicated the sausage herb to the goddess Aphrodite.
Essential oils have a positive effect on digestion. Every housewife can take advantage of this property and make hearty dishes more digestible by seasoning them with marjoram. When marjoram comes into play, flatulence and cramps can be alleviated. In babies, marjoram ointment can be used against flatulence.
The use of marjoram has also proven itself for migraines, insomnia or nervous restlessness.
In summary, marjoram promises relief from the following complaints:
- a headache
- nervous restlessness
- wound healing
Marjoram oil is also suitable for external use. The thin, yellowish liquid is created by distilling marjoram and water. For colds, marjoram oil can be added to a steam bath. The vapors clear the sinuses.
With marjoram, women can experience menopausal symptoms. If the dried leaves are placed in a linen bag and heated in the oven or microwave, an effective migraine remedy has been found.
Tip: If you suffer from a toothache, drizzle some marjoram oil into the affected tooth.
Marjoram as a garden plant© focus finder - Fotolia.com
Marjoram should not be missing in any herb garden. The spice herb can also be cultivated on the windowsill or in the balcony box and is robust and not very demanding.
❍ Plant marjoram
Find the right location
Marjoram will develop its full flavor in a sunny location. The location should also be protected from the wind. Marjoram finds its favorite place in the driest and warmest place in the herb spiral.
Marjoram also thrives in partial shade, but will then miss its typical aroma and develop a grass-like taste.
Attention: Marjoram does not tolerate itself and should therefore not be cultivated in a location where the herb has been in the past three years.
Choose the ideal substrate
In its original homeland, marjoram thrives under relatively poor conditions. However, Cyprus' earth is considered to be quite fertile. Therefore, marjoram does not necessarily have to be placed in a barren soil and also tolerates nutrient-rich substrate.
A loose and permeable soil is ideal. Heavy clay soils should be mixed with sand. A humorous, calcareous soil is welcome for the herb. The earth can be a little damp. However, waterlogging should be avoided.
Tip: If the soil is fertilized with compost, the aroma of the marjoram suffers.
Marjoram is either sown directly in the bed or pre-cultivated under glass. Preferred herb pots are also commercially available, which can then be planted out in the garden or further cultivated on the windowsill.
Sowing - step by step
- Select seed container or location
- Fill in the substrate
- Spread the seeds evenly
- Do not cover seeds with soil
- Moisten the earth
- Wait for germination
- Separate plants
- Plant marjoram
Should the marjoram go straight into the outdoors should be sown by after the ice saints being repaired. The plant needs a lot of heat and needs temperatures above 15 degrees for germination.
Attention: Marjoram is a light germ. The seeds should not be covered with substrate.
For sowing in the pot on the windowsill are the months March and April ideal. Marjoram should be sown evenly but not too densely. The seeds are only lightly covered with substrate.
The ideal germ temperature is 20 degrees. If small plantlets have emerged, they are converted into individual pots. The young plants can be planted in the bed from mid-May. There should be a planting distance of 25 centimeters.
An overview of the most important planting tips
|Prepare the substrate|
❍ Maintain marjoram
Water marjoram properly
The marjoram is poured rather moderately. A damp floor is tolerated. The sturdy herb can easily survive longer dry periods. It is important that you do not overdo it and waterlogging occurs.
Properly fertilize marjoram
When cultivating outdoors, no fertilizer is required. Moderate composting in the spring enhances the soil. If fertilization is too intensive with animal manure or compost, the marjoram loses its aroma, as already mentioned.
If marjoram is cultivated in a pot or planter, there is a higher need for nutrients. During the growing season, you should work regularly with a commercially available herbal fertilizer.
The most important care tips at a glance
Detect diseases and pests on marjoram
Diseases rarely occur on marjoram. Occasional aphid infestation is observed. From time to time, snails enrich their menu with the leaves of the marjoram.
Aphids can often be removed with a hard water jet. For stubborn infestations, sprays with garlic brew or a mild soapy solution help. The snails can be collected. Even a barrier made of pine needles or a trace of coffee grounds usually drive the pests away without any chemicals.
The annual garden variety Origanum hortensis is usually on the market. In its wild form, the marjoram is perennial, but only partially hardy in our latitudes. Slight frosts are tolerated. The plant generally tolerates temperatures in the single-digit minus range and shoots again in spring.
If the marjoram is cut back in late summer and covered with leaves and brushwood before the first frosts in the night, chances are that winter will survive.
The one-year-old marjoram is often advertised, since it turns out to be more aromatic than the wintered variety.
However, if you consider that the marjoram develops an amazing aroma and only a few leaves are needed to achieve the desired flavor, there is nothing to be said against the multi-year variant. If just a few more leaves are used, there will be no disadvantages in terms of taste.
❍ Harvest marjoram
Marjoram is one of the herbs that develop their most intense aroma during flowering and are therefore harvested during flowering. Specifically, these would be the months of June to September.
The essential oil content is highest in the morning or early afternoon. Some fresh shoots for the saucepan can be harvested all summer.
If you want to dry the herb, you can loosely tie the cut shoots together and hang them up in a dry, airy place. Since the marjoram retains its flavor even when dried, it can be used in sachets or potpourris.