Perennial – Mexican Oregano (Poliomintha longiflora)

Mexican Oregano (Poliomintha longiflora)
Mexican Oregano (Poliomintha longiflora)

Mexican Oregano is a culinary herb and native to North America,  even though in central Texas you are more likely to see it in landscaping that in the vegetable or herb garden.   Mexican Oregano has a very different flavor than Mediterranean oregano. Mexican Oregano stronger and more bitter, this more robust flavor makes a good companion for the spicier and stronger flavored seasons used in Mexican cooking. peppers, cumin).

Common Name

  • Rosemary Mint

Origin

  • Mexico and the southwest United States

Hardiness

  • Perennial
  • Evergreen
  • Drought tolerant
  • USDA hardiness zones: 9-10

Height

  • 2 – 4  feet

Spacing/Spread

  • 3 – 6 feet

Flower Color

  • Tubular lavender flowers, about,  1 inch long

Season

  • Blooms Spring until frost

Repels

  • Deer Resistant

Attracts

  • Butterflies
  • Bees

Requirements

  • Full to Partial Sun
  • Well-drained soil

Propagation

  • Easy to grow from root cuttings
  • Like Rosemary, the branches can be rooted and, pruned and transplanted.  Basically, scrap the bottom of a branch, cover with soil,  weight/pin it to the ground, and keep moist (don’t over water) it roots.  Then, prune the branch from the parent plane, gently dig it up (if you didn’t root it in a transplant pot), plant in new location water regularly, until the transplant has set in for the first season.

Use

Culinary Use

  • Frequently used as a replacement for oregano, although not botanically related. It is sweeter and less bitter than oregano. Used to flavor marinades, meats, tomato dishes, bean dishes, eggs, soups, and stews.

Medicinal Use

  • Used as a tea for respiratory infections, gastrointestinal tract disorders, nervous system complaints, and a palliative for sore throats. The plant was said to contain oils that had bacterial fighting properties.

Landscape Use

  • In central Texas, popular in landscaping as a middle tier perennial.  I usual plant them in groups of three to five plans, about 18 inches to two feet apart.