Tropical Oregano

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Plant Description: This perennial evergreen herb reaches about 19 inches tall and has a spreading growth habit. With aromatic, velvety leaves, this herb makes a great addition to any garden. The menthol or camphor scent of this plant is particularly strong when the leaves are crushed.

Scientific Name: Plectranthus amboinicus

Common Names: Mexican mint, Spanish thyme, and Indian borage, Vicks plant

Family: Lamiaceae

Origin: Malaysia to the Caribbean Islands

Distribution/History: Perennial in the tropics, its origin was most likely in the East Indies, or possibly Africa, but Cuban Oregano ranges from Malaysia, where it grows wild, to the Caribbean Islands, and it is cultivated from India to Southeast Asia to tropical and subtropical Americas.

Importance:  Used in poultry stuffings, beef, lamb, and game dishes, this herb can easily overpower other flavors, so use sparingly. This is an ideal herb to grow in partial shade. P. amboinicus requires well-drained soil, only occasional irrigation (if any), and little else as far as maintenance is concerned. You should see blooms from your plants from late winter to mid-spring depending on your area. This plant is frost-tender, so while it does well in sub-tropical and tropical areas, gardeners in cooler climates should plant in pots that can be moved indoors when temperatures plummet.