Native Oregano (Prostanthera rotundifolia) is a perennial Australian native herb in the Lamiaceae family. Here’s how to grow it in your edible garden.
How to Grow Native Oregano
Also known as round-leaf mint bush, native oregano is an Australian native herb in the flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae native to New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. The evergreen shrub with aromatic leaves can grow to a height and width of 1.5 to 2 metres and in spring, it produces masses of mauve / lilac flowers.
Much like river mint, native oregano can tolerate a range of climates from light frosts to full sun, however, it favours a part-shade position that is sheltered and protected from strong winds. The Australian native herb is best grown from an established seedling. Plant in well draining compost rich soil, water regularly and mulch to retain soil moisture.
Although it grows as a tall shrub, it can be grown in containers and pruned to maintain a bushier and more compact shape. Alternatively, it can be used as an aromatic hedge which is trimmed to the desired shape. After flowering in spring, apply an organic fertiliser and keep it well watered. The semi hardy plant is relatively pest resistant.
Prostanthera rotundifolia can be propagated from semi-hardwood. Take a woody, soft cutting that is 7-10cm long and plant in propagating mix, keeping the soil moist at all times. Within four weeks, roots begin to form and once established, it can be transplanted in the garden.
Culinary Uses of Native Oregano
Native oregano has an intense mint-oregano flavour with a hint of a citrus tang. The leaves, which can be used fresh or dried, can be harvested as needed throughout the year. Their culinary uses are diverse from flavouring sauces, pasta, chicken and meat dishes. Native Australian pizza, anyone?
Native Oregano in Cocktails
Native Oregano can be steeped in hot water to make a tea to be enjoyed on its own or part of a herbal tea mix. The bush tucker herb can be used as an aromatic garnish in a cocktail or a Gin & Tonic infused in syrups or cordials, or in a non/alcoholic lemonade.
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