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Oregano is a pungent, tasty herb from the mint family. So, do deer eat oregano plants? Most of us love adding oregano to our pizza – but deer tend to dislike it as much as we love it. For that reason, oregano is a great addition to your deer resistant garden.

Oregano plants are easy to grow. They form a lovely, perennial mat of white flowers in summer. You can harvest this herb almost year-round and the leaves taste great freshly picked or dried.

Do Deer Eat Oregano Plants?

Origanum vulgare - do deer eat oregano plants
Origanum vulgare – oregano

As we know, when a deer is hungry enough, it will browse almost any plant. However, as far as deer resistant plants go, oregano is one of the best. Oregano’s pungent scent is usually enough to deter a deer from eating them.

Oregano plants can also be useful to keep deer away from other areas and plants in your garden. The scent can help to mask other plants’ scent so that deer do not smell them as easily. Grow oregano as ground cover around other plants or use them as a garden border.

Deer Resistant Oregano Varieties

Ornamental Oregano Plant (Origanum 'Barbara Tingey')
Ornamental Oregano Plant (Origanum ‘Barbara Tingey’)

Most varieties of origanum are worth growing in areas where deer are common. Some great varieties to try in your garden are:

  • Origanum ‘Aureum’ – Golden oregano. Creates a dense ground cover or yellow flowers.
  • Origanum dictamnus – Hop marjoram. Loves warm climates and it is a favorite amongst bees and butterflies.
  • Origanum vulgare – Culinary oregano. The ‘standard’ oregano often used in flavoring dishes.
  • Origanum libanoticum – Ornamental oregano. This is an inedible variety of oregano – but it bears lovely pink flowers.
  • Origanum vulgare nanum – Dwarf oregano. A small version of the common oregano plant.
  • Origanum ‘Betty Rollins’. A beautiful oregano with exceptional cold tolerance.
  • Origanum laevigatum. An ornamental variety of oregano which provides a low, perennial ground cover with small, pink flowers.

About Oregano Plants

Oregano plants are usually grown for their small, flavorful leaves. This herb is exceptional in many dishes, particularly Italian cuisine. Some varieties can grow as tall as 18 inches! Other varieties are more of a ground cover, like hop marjoram from the list above. It only grows to around 6 inches tall.

Most varieties of oregano are well suited to rock gardens, borders, lining garden paths, and containers. Some are also useful as a lawn replacement, emitting wonderful, uplifting scents when stepped on!

Oregano prefers a full sun position. Exceptionally well-draining soil is a must – oregano does not appreciate wet roots.

It is easy to propagate new plants for free by taking basal cuttings. These cuttings should be taken in Spring. Use a sharp, clean knife to take a cutting from the base of the plant. If the plant is well-established, these basal cuttings will already have roots where the plant touched the soil.

Do Deer Eat Ornamental Oregano?

Ornamental oregano (Origanum Kent Beauty var.)

Ornamental oregano, or pretty oregano (Origanum libanoticum / Origanum pulchellum), is an inedible variety of oregano. They are gorgeous, trailing plants that are excellent for hanging baskets. It is also a useful ground cover and bears lovely, pink flowers.

So, do deer eat ornamental oregano? Deer do not usually like to eat ornamental oregano. Although this herb isn’t used in cooking, it still contains similar pungent oils to culinary oregano. This is most likely the reason deer tend to steer away from ornamental oregano.

Do deer eat oregano plants?

No, oregano plants aren’t a deer’s favorite food. They will steer away from them unless there is nothing else to eat and the deer is desperate.

Do deer like the smell of oregano?

No, deer do not like the smell of oregano. Like many other herbs, oregano has a pungent scent that we love, but deer hate. It is a useful plant for your deer resistant garden, as well as in the kitchen.

What herbs do deer not like?

There are many herbs deer do not like to eat. Some of the best include sage, rosemary, mint, thyme, and oregano. Herbs are great for the deer resistant garden as they may help to repel deer away from plants they would usually browse on.

Will mint plants keep deer away?

Mint plants may help to keep deer away. Many herbs contain volatile oils and pungent scents, which is why so many of them make fantastic essential oils. These oils are naturally repellent to deer and can help to steer deer away from your garden plants.

Verdict: Is Oregano Deer Resistant?

Yes, oregano can be considered a deer resistant plant. In truth, no plant is completely deer resistant. If a deer is desperate, it will eat any plant it can find. However, oregano’s pungent scent will deter a deer from eating it unless it is exceptionally hungry.

If you love using oregano in your cooking, you’ll be happy to learn that the answer to ‘Do deer eat oregano’ is ‘No!’.

Keep reading!

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