Origanum syriacum 'Zaatar'
Zaatar Oregano foliage
(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)
Height: 18 inches
Spacing: 16 inches
Hardiness Zone: 8b
Other Names: Syrian Oregano, Lebanese Oregano, Bible Hyssop
A culinary herb that is also quite ornamental; arching flower spikes in summer, over aromatic foliage; excellent mid to late season color for a rock garden or border front
Zaatar Oregano is a perennial herb that is typically grown for its edible qualities, although it does have ornamental merits as well. The fragrant round bluish-green leaves are usually harvested from late spring to early summer. The leaves have a zesty taste and a distinctive fragrance.
The leaves are most often used in the following ways:
- Fresh Eating
Features & Attributes
Zaatar Oregano features showy nodding pink flowers with violet overtones and shell pink bracts at the ends of the stems in mid summer. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Its attractive small fragrant round leaves remain bluish-green in color throughout the season. The brick red stems can be quite attractive.
This is an herbaceous perennial herb with a shapely form and gracefully arching stems. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage. This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and should be cut back in late fall in preparation for winter. It is a good choice for attracting butterflies to your yard, but is not particularly attractive to deer who tend to leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.
Aside from its primary use as an edible, Zaatar Oregano is sutiable for the following landscape applications;
- Rock/Alpine Gardens
- Border Edging
- General Garden Use
- Container Planting
Planting & Growing
Zaatar Oregano will grow to be about 18 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 20 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 16 inches apart. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 5 years. As an herbaceous perennial, this plant will usually die back to the crown each winter, and will regrow from the base each spring. Be careful not to disturb the crown in late winter when it may not be readily seen!
This plant is quite ornamental as well as edible, and is as much at home in a landscape or flower garden as it is in a designated herb garden. It should only be grown in full sunlight. It prefers dry to average moisture levels with very well-drained soil, and will often die in standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.
Zaatar Oregano is a good choice for the edible garden, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. It is often used as a 'filler' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination, providing a mass of flowers and foliage against which the thriller plants stand out. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.