Plant Type
Sunlight Amount

Dress up food as well as your container gardens with this attractive perennial herb.

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Cuban Oregano

With common names that include Mexican mint, Spanish thyme, and Indian borage, Cuban oregano leaves many gardeners wondering exactly what it is when they encounter it at a garden center. Let’s start with what it is not. Cuban oregano isn’t actually oregano, or even mint, thyme, or borage. It is an herb that is perennial in tropical regions but most commonly grown as a container plant elsewhere. It has fragrant, velvety leaves edged in white, and trumpet-shape flowers in pink, white, and lavender. It grows rapidly, creating a lush display in a container garden.

genus name
  • Plectranthus amboinicus
light
  • Part Sun
  • Sun
plant type
height
  • 1 to 3 feet
width
  • 2 to 3 feet
flower color
season features
problem solvers
special features
zones
  • 10
  • 11
propagation
Dean Schoeppner

Kitchen-Friendly Herb

Cuban oregano bears a strong menthol or camphor scent that intensifies when the leaves are crushed, so use this powerful seasoning carefully. It is most often used in dishes that include poultry, lamb, beef, and stuffing. Cuban oregano can be used fresh or dried for cooking.

Cuban Oregano Care Must-Knows

Cuban oregano grows well in part-shade areas like porches, patios, or courtyards that receive a few hours of morning light. Plant this drought-tolerant plant in well-drained soil; water occasionally. It grows well in containers alongside other part-shade plants like begonia, impatiens, fuchsia, and coleus.

Cuban oregano blooms in late winter to midspring in tropical areas. Don't expect to see blossoms in cool regions where it's grown only for a single season like an annual plant. This perennial is frost-tender and must be protected when temperatures dip below 32˚F. In that case, move any potted plants inside and cover in-ground plants with a bedsheet or plastic sheet.

Inside the house, Cuban oregano grows best in a bright, sunny window but will tolerate less light if needed. Water it about once a week and feed with an all-purpose fertilizer about once a month. This fast-growing plant will outgrow its container after a few months. Simply trim back foliage by one-third or repot it in a larger container.

More Varieties of Cuban Oregano

Marty Baldwin

This variety of Plectranthus amboinicus has pale green leaves with darker green margins. This variety does well in containers. Zones 9-11.

Comments (1)

Anonymous
November 23, 2019
Note that the Cuban oregano, Plectranthus amboinicus, has much larger leaves than pictures, and a distinctly oregano fragrance. The pictured plant and what's described in this article is commonly called the Vicks plant, Plectranthus tomentosa, which has a strong camphorous fragrance, and no similarity to oregano. They look similar, but they are completely different in use.