Introduction to growing Marjoram in containers: Marjoram plant is one of the most versatile of the fragrant, aromatic culinary herbs. This tender perennial is easy to grow indoors in a container. Marjoram (origanum majorana) is a tender perennial Mediterranean plant with culinary and also medicinal applications. When growing Marjoram indoors, there are a couple of considerations that apply to the indoor herb. Access the amount of space you have, temperature, light source, air, and cultural requirements. A sunny location and moderately moist, well-drained soil with a pH level of 6.7 to 7.0 are the important conditions for growing Marjoram indoors. If planting Marjoram from seed, sow uncovered and germinate at about 65-70°F. Seeds are slow to germinate but plants can be propagated by cuttings or root division. In this article we also discuss below topics;
- How do you germinate Marjoram seeds
- Growing Marjoram from cuttings
- Conditions for growing Marjoram
- Different types of Marjoram
- Tips for Growing Marjoram
- Process of growing Marjoram from seed
- Marjoram plant propagation
A step by step guide to growing Marjoram plant in containers
The Marjoram plant spreads like a ground cover and small, oval, light green leaves. Marjoram plant is easy to grow herb well suited for growing in containers as well as the garden.
Types of Marjoram
There are three types of Marjoram plant;
- Sweet Marjoram,
- Pot Marjoram, and
- Wild Marjoram (known as common oregano).
All types of Marjoram plants are equally straightforward to grow and have similar properties, but sweet Marjoram is the mildest variety with the best flavor for using in a wide range of dishes.
Choosing soil and container for growing Marjoram
Select a container that is at least 6 inches wide and has holes at the bottom for the water drain. Pick a one that has a depth of minimum 6 to 8 inches. Once your Marjoram plant outgrows the current pot, you can transplant it into a new one.
Because Marjoram tends to trail, it will want the right container and potting soil to perform optimally as an indoor herb. A pot that is both shallow and wide will provide the surface area to give plant space to spread out. Potting mixes with good drainage designed for cacti or succulent plants will serve Marjoram well. Space plants about 12 inches apart in an area with full sun and fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.7 to 7.0. Add nutrients to native soil by mixing in several inches of aged compost or other rich organic matter.
Growing conditions for growing Marjoram
Marjoram is well suited to a hot, sunny, and arid environment, which means that it is well adapted for indoor container gardening. Marjoram plant needs bright light so place it on the sunniest windowsill you have, or in a window box planter with southern exposure.
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Light requirements for growing Marjoram
Marjoram plant requires a lot of light, a minimum of six hours of direct sun per day. If there is no suitable location at home, you may want to invest in a supplemental fluorescent or LED grow light. Make sure that any supplemental lighting is set up about 6 inches above the plant and set on a timer to stay on for twelve hours a day. If you have a sunny outdoor patio, you can place a pot on it during the summer, just be mindful of pests.
Marjoram plant propagation
Marjoram plants can be propagated from seed, cuttings, layering or by dividing the root. The optimum method of vegetative propagation mainly depends on the size and growth habits of the mother plant.
Seeds – Seeds must be sown outdoors when the soil has warmed and all danger of frost has passed. Seeds can be started indoors to produce transplants. Marjoram seeds must be sown indoors 6 to 8 weeks before planting outside. Sow seeds in a sterile seed starting mix in seed trays or pots 0.2 to 1.0 cm (0.08–0.4 in) deep and water gently. Ensure the temperature range remains between 15.5 and 27°C (60–80°F). Seeds must germinate in about 5 days at 21°C (70°F). Due to the slow-growing nature of the plant, many home growers select to start with small plants which can be obtained from a nursery or garden center.
Marjoram plant seed can be slow to germinate outdoors; germination indoors can happen in about 14 days. The seeds of Marjoram are tiny and fine, making them difficult to handle individually. To grow the Marjoram plant from seeds, sprinkle 5 to 10 seeds over the soil and cover them up with a very fine layer of multi-purpose compost. Cover the top about 2/3 of the container with a cling film, ensuring it is not hindering the light. Place the container in an airy location with plenty of sunlight, at a temperature of around 21 to 25°C (70-77°F). The seeds will germinate in 8 days.
Layering – Sprawling Marjoram plant varieties are easily layered by selecting a branch and covering with soil. A rock can be located on top to hold the branch securely under the soil. The branch will increase its root system and once established, can be cut from the mother plant and transplanted to a new site.
Cuttings – Larger and upright plants lend themselves to propagating from cuttings. Cuttings must be taken from approximately 20 cm (8 in) down the stem so that the basal portion of the cutting is hard and woody. The upper 5 cm (2 in) of the cutting could be nipped off to promote branching. Cuttings could be rooted in water, sand or a mixture of sand, peat, and perlite.
Division – Marjoram plant can be grown from root divisions in early spring. Divide roots in autumn and bring roots indoors in pots to produce through winter and then plant out in spring.
Seed germination of Marjoram
Start indoors under grow lamps 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost. Sow seeds just beneath the surface of the soil and seeds will germinate in about 10 days. Set the seedlings in the home garden after all danger from frost has passed. Space plants about 10 inches apart in all directions. If high humidity levels are a problem in the planting area, it is best to space plants further apart to encourage good air circulation. Begin harvesting 5 to 6 weeks after transplanting outdoors, or when plants are growing vigorously.
Sowing Marjoram seed indoors
Sow Marjoram seeds indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost in spring using a seed starting kit. Sow seeds about ¼ inches deep in seed-starting. Keep the soil moist at 70°F and Seedlings emerge in 14 to 21 days.
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Provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings about 3 to 4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this procedure because they will get too hot. Most plants need a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours. If you are growing in small cells, you could need to transplant the seedlings to 3 or 4-inch pots when seedlings have at least 3 pairs of leaves before transplanting to the garden then they have enough room to develop strong roots.
Before planting in the garden, plants require to be “hardened off”. Accustom young Marjoram plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. And be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or brings containers indoors, take them out again in the morning. This hardening off procedure toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.
Process of growing Marjoram from seed in containers
For the best results, plan to sow seeds 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost, in early spring. Fill the container of choice with soil to about one inch from the top. Broadcast a pinch of Marjoram seeds over the surface of the soil, and taking care to distribute them as evenly as possible. Water with a watering can so that the soil is completely moist. Cover the pot with cling wrap or plastic and put them in a well-lit windowsill to germinate. Within a week or two, you must see the first sprouts beginning to emerge. Give them a couple of weeks to grow, and pluck out all but the healthiest few plants you want to keep.
Planting Marjoram in the garden
Choose a sunny location with good drainage and slightly acidic soil. Transplant when seedlings have at least 2 pairs of plant leaves. Then dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball.
Carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently loosen the root ball with hands to encourage good root development. Locate the top of the root ball even with the level of the surrounding soil. Fill with soil to the top of the root ball and press soil down firmly with your hand.
Use the plant tag as a location marker. Thoroughly water and apply a light mulch layer on top of the soil about 1-2 inches to conserve water and reduce weeds.
Process of growing Marjoram from cuttings in containers
Growing Marjoram from cuttings is very simple. Find a mature plant and trim off up to a half dozen stems at least 6 inches long. Pluck the plant leaves from the bottom inch or so of the stems, dip them into rooting hormone, and then plant in pre-moistened soil. You could want to use a chopstick to make a hole for each stem and then gently nestle the soil around it once it’s been inserted.
This is the only time you will ever want to keep the soil of a plant consistently moist for any period. If you use a transparent container for this stage, you can see when the plant roots have extended to the edge, or you can plant in a small 4-inch plastic pot and wait until you see roots coming out of the drainage slots at the bottom. At this point, transplanting the Marjoram plant to a larger pot is ideal.
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Watering and feeding Marjoram plant
Give Marjoram plant regular even water until it is established. Once established water Marjoram plant sparingly allowing the soil to dry between watering. Moist soil will cause the Marjoram plant to be less flavorful.
Foliar feed Marjoram plant by spraying with compost tea or liquid seaweed extract 2 to 3 times during the growing season. Mulch Marjoram in warm weather to protect plant roots from too much heat.
Care of Marjoram plants growing in containers
To maintain the vigor and shape of the indoor Marjoram plant, pinch back plants before blooming in mid to late summer (July to September). This will keep the size down to a manageable 12 inches or so and eliminate much of the woodiness of the indoor Marjoram herb plant.
Water regularly, but do not overwater. Keep Marjoram plants trimmed by cutting the leaves throughout the growing season. When flower buds appear, cut the Marjoram plants back low to the ground to stimulate new growth.
Pests and diseases of Marjoram plants
Marjoram plant faces no significant pest problems. Though aphids and spider mites can attack the plant, they can be easily taken care of, by spraying a strong stream of water on the leaves.
Marjoram is relatively safe when it comes to serious disease problems. If you have grown the plant in wet soil or weather, it could suffer from root rotting and might damp off.
Harvesting and drying Marjoram plants
In addition to growing Marjoram herbs for aesthetic purposes, people harvest the plant for use in the kitchen. When harvesting Marjoram plant, pick the shoots just before flowers begin to open. This results in the best flavor, as fully opened blooms generate a bitter taste. Bundle Marjoram cuttings and hang them upside down in a dark, dry, and well-ventilated area.
Marjoram plant is ready to harvest after sowing, in 60 days. Snipping leaves with a garden pruner or scissors is the best method to harvest it. Cut leaves as you need, once the plant reaches about 6 inches in height or above. The flavor of the Marjoram plant intensifies in summers and hot weather. Regular harvesting will renew the Marjoram plant’s growth. Do remember Marjoram harvest before it flowers to get the best taste.
Some questions about growing Marjoram plant in containers from seed and cuttings
Is Marjoram a perennial?
Marjoram plant is a perennial herb usually grown as an annual for the fragrant foliage which is used to flavor dressings and meat dishes. Marjoram is considered a tender perennial plant.
How long does it take for Marjoram to grow?
Sweet Marjoram seeds will germinate in about 8 to 14 days.
Can you grow Marjoram from cuttings?
Most Marjoram plants are grown from cuttings, and then they are well rooted and ready to grow as soon as you transplant them into warm soil.
Can you grow Marjoram indoors?
Marjoram plant is one of the most versatile of the fragrant, aromatic culinary herbs. This tender perennial is easy to grow indoors in a container, making it a no-brainer for anyone who wants fresh Marjoram on-demand, right on a sunny indoor windowsill.
How big does sweet Marjoram grow?
Sweet Marjoram plant will grow to about 12 to 24 inches tall. Be sure to trim plants when buds appear (and before they flower) to ensure continued plant growth.
Conclusion of growing Marjoram herb in containers from seed and cuttings
The above information may be applied for growing organic Marjoram, growing Marjoram in the balcony, Marjoram farming in an open field, growing Marjoram on raised beds, and growing Marjoram herb on terrace or rooftop. You may be interested in the Cost of Cultivation of Saffron, Saffron Business Plan.