Commonly called the Cuban oregano, this plant belongs to the mint family and is biologically known as Coleus amboinicus. It has a few other common names such as succulent spur flower, Mexican mint, Spanish thyme, Caribbean oregano, and country borage. They can be grown from young plants or seeds but in this article, we are going to find out how to grow Cuban oregano from cuttings.
Can you propagate Cuban oregano from a leaf?
Widely used as a cooking herb for its scent and flavor, Cuban oregano can easily be grown from cuttings using stems or leaves. This is a hardy plant, you can grow it in any kind of soil or even in containers. They will grow well in both situations.
This plant is really easy to grow specifically if you are a beginner gardener. The reason is that Cuban oregano is a pest-resistant plant. This is a tropical herb and can also be used as an ornamental plant. Although the exact origin of this plant is unknown, it is thought that Southern and Eastern Africa is its origin.
Cuban oregano is a semi-succulent perennial herb. It grows best in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 8. The average length of grown Cuban oregano is 1 to 3 feet and the width of a mature plant is about 2 to 3 feet.
USES OF CUBAN OREGANO
This herb has many medicinal and cooking uses. Due to its strong aroma and taste, it is used in many dishes and recipes. It can also be used in soups, sauces, and teas.
Medical benefits of this herb include respiratory treatment, it can also help in curing arthritis and respiratory problems. Many other home remedies can be done using Cuban oregano.
HOW TO GROW CUBAN OREGANO
There are a few methods to grow Cuban oregano. They can be grown from seeds, young plants, or from stem cuttings. You won’t be able to find healthy and real Cuban oregano seeds in the market very easily. The best way to grow Cuban oregano is by buying young plants or getting some stem cuttings from a healthy grown-up Cuban oregano plant.
Growing from stem cuttings would be discussed in detail here. Stem-cutting growth can also be done in a couple of ways. You can either grow the stems in water or directly into the soil.
HOW TO GROW CUBAN OREGANO FROM CUTTINGS
Follow the below-mentioned simple steps to grow your Cuban oregano plant from stem cuttings using water or soil as its growing medium.
GET THE STEM CUTTINGS
Ask your fellow gardeners for Cuban oregano stems or buy them from your plant store. Make sure that the mother plant is healthy and free of diseases. This way you can be more confident in propagating a healthy plant.
WHEN TO GET THE STEM CUTTINGS
At the end of the fall season, the oregano plants get woody and this is the ideal time to get the cuttings. It is not recommended to get the cuttings when the plant is in the flowering phase. During this time most of the plant’s energy is focused on growing flowers, so root growth would be a risk during this phase.
HOW TO GET THE STEM CUTTINGS
You must use sharp and sanitized pruners or shears to cut the stems. Look for the leaf nodes and cut smoothly below the node. The length of your stems should be 4 to 6 inches. It is better to get more stems than the number of plants you want to grow.
HOW TO GROW CUBAN OREGANO FROM CUTTINGS IN WATER
After you have got the stems from a trusted mother plant, it’s time to grow them in water. Get your stem cuttings ready now. Snip the leaves on the lower side of the stem and make at least 2 inches of the stem bare. The topmost leaves may not be disturbed.
PROPAGATE THE STEMS IN WATER
You can use a glass jar or a small container for this purpose. Using durable plastic bags would serve better. Although it is not necessary to use transparent jars or pots, using them would keep you updated about the root growth of your stem cuttings.
How do you propagate Cuban oregano in water?
Fill the jar with clean, filtered water for up to 6 inches. Don’t use chlorinated or distilled water for this step. Now dip the cuttings in the jar. About half the length of the cutting should be submerged in water. Make sure the leaves should not get dipped in water. Multiple plants can be grown in a single jar depending upon the size of the jar. For best results, it is better to keep each of the stems in a separate jar.
CHOOSE A SPOT
Now you have to place these jars or pots in a location where they could get plenty of fresh air. Don’t place it in a dark place. It could be placed in a shady place where it gets light as well. Do not expose the jar to direct sunlight.
CHANGE THE WATER FREQUENTLY
It is important to keep the jar of water clean. Therefore you have to change the water regularly on a daily basis. If not done on a daily basis, the water would provide an environment for algae and bacterial growth, they can damage the plant’s growth.
LET THE ROOTS DEVELOP
You would start to notice the root growth of your Cuban oregano stems within a few weeks. It could be earlier or later depending on the growing conditions. Some of the stems may also die during the process which is why it is advised to grow more stems than the required plants.
After the roots have developed it’s time to transplant the stems. You can transplant them into the garden soil or containers. These stems can also be kept growing in the water jar. They would keep producing new leaves that are ready to be harvested.
TRANSPLANT THE STEMS
Once the root system has developed and the stem shows signs of new growth of leaves, you can now move them into the soil. It is recommended to harden off the plant before shifting it to the container. The best thing to be done is to start adding little soil to the glass jar so that the plant gets used to the new growing medium.
HOW TO GROW CUBAN OREGANO FROM CUTTINGS IN SOIL
All the steps included in this case are similar to those told above. You need to get the stem cuttings first from a healthy plant and use a small-sized container for the initial stage of root growth.
Place this container where it should get four to 6 hours of sunlight. Don’t let it remain under direct sunlight during midday. The leaves can get sunburn. Water gently every time the soil dries out completely.
Once the growth of new leaves starts and the roots start to develop, you can shift the plant to its final location in a bigger container or directly in the garden soil. Keep in mind that Cuban oregano grows about a couple of feet high and wide so you must shift the plant to a bigger container or a place where it gets ample space.
It is an important step in this process. You need to get sandy loam soil that has good drainage for growing Cuban oregano as they perform best in this kind of soil. Soil with high moisture levels or rich in organic matter is not suitable for growing oregano.
You can mix sand, perlite, and vermiculite to make good potting soil for your plant. A cactus and succulent mix potting soil can also be used for growing. The pH should range from 6.0 to 7.5.
TRANSPLANT IN THE SOIL
When the roots are about 2 inches or more, it’s time to transplant them into the garden or container soil. Make a hole in the soil and place the stems, also adjust the roots properly in the hole. Fill it back with the soil and make sure not to leave any empty spaces.
If you want to grow them in containers, you need a 12-inch deep container having drainage holes in it.
The location of your plant in the garden or in the container should be the place that gets 4 to 6 hours of morning sunlight per day.
WATERING AND FEEDING THE CUBAN OREGANO
Once you have transplanted the stems into the soil, water gently and slowly. Provide an inch of water every week. Don’t overwater and don’t let the leaves touch the water.
During the high growth season in summer and spring, use slow-release 5-5-5 NPK fertilizer. Adding fertilizers once a month is recommended.
Mulching the Cuban oregano during winter helps to keep it safe from extreme cold.
HARVESTING THE CUBAN OREGANO
Once the Cuban oregano plant is fully mature you can harvest it. You can cut a 2-inch piece of the stem using sharp scissors. Now remove the leaves from this stem and they are ready to be used.
Cuban oregano leaves can also be dried up for later use. Wash the leaves first and dry them, after that you can use the oven to dehydrate the leaves completely. After this, let them cool and store them in dry packaging.
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