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.
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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.
Related: Fanciful Indoor Herb Gardens
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.