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Growing and Selling Fresh-Cut Herbs
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Growing and Selling
Fresh-Cut Herbs

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Herb of the Month

Over the next year, the herb of the month feature will focus on those unusual herbs that a professional grower may occasionally be asked to supply.  These profiles are supplied by Herbalpedia

Cuban Oregano

Plectranthus amboinicus
A succulent perennial herb that can reach 2 feet in height with fleshy leaves in opposite pairs. It occasionally produces pale violet flowers. The leaves emit a very strong aroma when handled. 

         Cultivation: The brittle stems and colorful foliage resemble the common Coleus. Growth is slow in the winter months and moderate in spring and summer. Heat and direct sun don't seem to adversely affect growth or appearance. Insignificant flower stems form in the fall. It is extremely tender so grow in a protected area or keep it mobile in a pot so it can be placed in a controlled environment in the winter.  Propagate vegetatively, from cuttings. Terminal cuttings only slightly benefit from a root hormone, but it is probably not cost effective. They are placed in a well-drained rooting medium with 72-75F bottom heat. Rooting will occur in about 10-14 days. Can be direct stuck or transplanted to 4" pots in 3-4 weeks. Plants grow best in the winter months with as much sunlight as possible. However, if producing plants for a summer market, 30-50% shade results in less stress and water consumption. Supplemental lighting is not required unless a fast winter crop is desired. Plant growth will be delayed at temperatures below 60F,.day temperatures of 70-75F day temperatures are recommended, night temperatures of 62-65F are recommended. Oregano Plectranthus is best finished in a 4" container, but for larger containers (one gallon, ~6" pot), two plants per container can be used or a single pinch can be provided. For baskets, 3 cuttings per 10-12" basket.  Plants will finish in 4-9 weeks from a rooted cutting, depending on the container size. No particular nutritional needs. Nutrition of 75-100ppm N 20-10-20 seems to be adequate, few nutritional problems have been seen. Do not over fertilize or plants will get soft and too leafy. No growth regulators needed in the greenhouse. In the greenhouse, white flies can be a problem.

Culinary Uses: This unusual, fleshy leaved plant is used as a culinary seasoning in the Caribbean.  Leaves are mainly used in stuffing and for flavoring meat, also as a substitute for sage.  It has a very strong long lasting flavor similar to common sage but too many leaves will give a turpentine flavor and the younger leaves are milder.  Classic flavor partners: Rosemary, Lemon Thyme, Garlic Chives, Savory, Garlic, Shallots, Marjoram.   Classic food partners: Pork, Veal, Duck, Lamb, Chicken stuffings, Ham, Sausages, Potato, Pumpkin, Artichokes, Leeks.

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