We often hear about marjoram, but we ignore both its origins and its main characteristics.
Marjoram is nothing more than a real herbaceous plant, which is characterized by being perennial within those places where it initially spread.
This plant has the particularity of coming from north-eastern Africa, but also from central Asia, while it does not develop spontaneously in the old continent, but is only cultivated.
There marjoram plant it has the particular characteristic of belonging to the Lamiaceae family, while the scientific name is “Origanum majorana”, even if in some cases it is called by the name of Majorana hortensis.
However, this genus includes herbaceous plants that have a bushy habit which, unlike oregano, do not develop spontaneously in Europe, but rather are the subject of numerous crops.
As for the structure of this particular plant, we can underline how the stem has an erect posture, with a quadrangular shape, with a height that touches sixty centimeters and with a characteristic reddish color.
The root of the marjoram does not reach great depths inside the soil, while the leaves have particularly small dimensions, with a typical oval shape and a thick down that covers the entire structure.
Instead, the flowers of the marjoram have a color between white and pink and are collected in spikes.
Finally, the fruits are formed by particular oval capsules which, once fully ripe, have a rather dark color.
One of the most important features of the marjoram plant is to give off a particularly intense and aromatic perfume.
The increased is a plant that is classified as perennial, even if, often, it is cultivated in the old continent as an "annual", since it does not have a great resistance to low temperatures.
The marjoram plant certainly needs to develop in particularly hot climatic conditions, outdoors and in direct contact with the sun's rays for several hours a day, so that correct development is guaranteed.
As for the watering of this plant, we can underline how the preference goes for those very dry soils.
It is very important to pay the utmost attention to avoid soaking the soil excessively, making sure that water stagnation does not form, which could be a serious danger to the health and development of the marjoram plant.
The most important water requirements that come from this plant are concentrated in the first period of its life, but also during flowering.
This plant has an important characteristic, namely that of adapting without particular problems to any type of soil, including poor ones, although it prefers all those soils characterized by an alkaline formation, completely dry and permeable, as well as having a good quantity of organic matter.
It is a plant that cannot tolerate all those soils characterized by a high level of humidity and, in particular, cannot tolerate them during the winter season, due to the association with low temperatures.
The fertilization of the marjoram plant does not present any particular problems since they are rustic plants, which do not need specific treatments.
The plant will have to undergo a complete fertilization, characterized by the presence of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
As for the flowering period of the marjoram, it is between the month of July and that of September, while the seeds have the particular characteristic of reaching full ripeness between August and September.
Marjoram is one of those plants that have the characteristic of being able to be propagated by seed, by cuttings or, in some cases, even by division of the plant.
In the event that one opts for multiplication by seed, it is necessary to underline the fact that, once genetic variability has come into play, it is not certain that the plants obtained will be similar to the mother plant.
This is a disadvantage that is felt above all when you intend to obtain an extremely precise marjoram plant: in the event that you do not have relevant and optimal information regarding the quality of the seed, the advice is to carry out the multiplication with the other two modalities, that is by division of the plant or by cutting.
In the event that the decision ends on sowing in pots or in a seedbed, it will be necessary to arrange for the dispersion of the seeds when the spring season begins, inserting them inside a compost that must consist of equal fractions of soil fertile and sandy.
Since marjoram seeds are particularly small in size, it is important to emphasize that they must be buried, albeit to a rather light extent.
The tray inside which the marjoram seeds are located must be stored in a place in the shade, characterized by the fact of having an ideal temperature that is around 10-13 degrees centigrade, always keeping the humidity level well under control. of the soil, which must be constant, at least until germination occurs.
One of the main rules is also to cover the tray containing the marjoram seeds with a transparent plastic sheet, which must be removed on a daily basis, especially to understand the degree of humidity in the soil and eliminate the condensation that can frequently occur. form on the plastic itself.
In case you intend to carry out the sowing operation directly inside a field or a garden, it is necessary to pay great attention to working the soil, so that you can remove the crust that is in the superficial part and make sure to have a less compact and uniform soil: this explains the reason why, in these cases, a bottom manure is also used.
During the spring season sowing also takes place, especially during the month of April: what must be paid the utmost attention undoubtedly concerns the fact of not burying the seed in an exaggerated manner and providing for their arrangement in such a way that a certain distance between the marjoram plants is also respected.
Finally, the marjoram seeds must be placed directly inside the field and have the particularity of having a rather slow germination.
In the event that it is decided to carry out a transplant operation of all that series of seedlings that have been developed inside a seedbed, it is better to do so during the period between the months of April and May.
The multiplication of this particular plant by cuttings must always occur during the first part of summer and, in particular, during the month of June.
The cuttings, in this case, must be checked for their length, which must never be less than 8-10 centimeters from the basal shoots.
The removal of this type of cuttings must always occur from plants that enjoy an excellent state of health.
The next step will consist in planting them inside a compound made up of peat and sand: it is important to provide for the conservation of the marjoram plants inside this compound, guaranteeing the ideal temperatures, or keeping them inside a particularly cool greenhouse. at least until they come to take root.
Once rooted, the marjoram seedlings can be safely transplanted.
The multiplication operation of this particular plant can also be carried out by dividing, as we said earlier, the marjoram: this choice must in any case be implemented during the period corresponding to the month of March or that of October.
It is always better to avoid young marjoram plants being inside a too hot environment, thus ensuring good air circulation and rather low temperatures, at least until they have taken root completely.
The next step will be to transplant these plants into a rather sheltered space: the ideal period corresponds to the final part of the spring season, but the initial part of the summer season is also particularly suitable.
The parts that are mostly used for therapeutic and non-therapeutic purposes of the marjoram plant essentially correspond to the flowering tops and leaves.
The collection of these two parts of the plant must always take place when it coincides with the initial phase of flowering, by cutting them together with the branches themselves.
The twigs with marjoram flowers and leaves have the particular characteristic of being able to be dried in the immediate moment in which they are harvested.
The next operation will be to hang them, in the shortest possible time, upside down inside a mainly dry space, well ventilated and without light, so that the marjoram leaves can maintain all their characteristics.
After the twigs with marjoram flowers and leaves have been dried, we move on to the collection or, better, to the recovery of the same, to then crumble them and keep them inside special jars made of glass.
Marjoram, in spite of what happens instead for oregano, has the particularity of dispersing most of its traditional aroma with the drying operation: this explains why it is always better to eat it fresh or even frozen.