I found some beautiful variegated Cuban oregano at a nursery and brought it home. My daughter planted it in her flower garden, where it shows off wonderfully.
Why would you EVER want the boring green version of this plant when you can grow the pretty variegated version?
At least, that’s what I thought until I actually tasted the variegated variety. It’s watery and bitter, with a bit of a sour flavor. Not nearly as good as its all-green sister. In fact, it’s downright bad.
Sadly, I found this out after sticking pieces of it here and there to grow in a garden bed.
That’s how easy it is to propagate Cuban oregano. Just jam a piece in the ground and it will root and grow.
Like the Monstera I wrote about yesterday, though it may not be that edible, AT LEAST IT’S ATTRACTIVE!
It looks good as a backdrop in a garden.
It’s just not that good in tea or in cooking. Oh well. I thought I’d found something great.
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I use this to repel flies in my hen house. I rub the poop board with it and haven’t had flies. I live in sw Florida so this is wonderful. Also rub on myself to avoid mosquito bites.
BTW you wrote about yaupon holly. Can I feed leaves to rabbits?
Great idea – I will have to try that when we get chickens again.
Yaupon leaves burn my mouth when raw. Probably not good for rabbits.
i grow three varieties of cuban oregano and all of them taste exactly the same to me. there is the all green one, the variegated white and green, and the dark green/light green variegated one
We must just have a bad variety.
I bought two different kinds of Cuban Oregano and one that was called VICK’s plant, which I googled and found it was a Cuban Oregano, also. My Cuban friend told me it is widely used in Cuba (and he was tasting and using the Vick’s plant! I know that it opens my sinuses when I rub a leaf under my noes and smells just like vapor rub. I’ve heard it is great to keep insects away. I haven’t used it for cooking but have made too many cuttings that all grow and look so pretty! I love it for that alone. I see that my first Cuban Oregano has regrown from the plant that froze off a couple months ago. I don’t think you can go wrong with them. I just need some recipes or ideas on how to use this pungent plant in cooking. Will be using it for bug repellent soon.
mary, that vicks plant is actually Plukenetia conophora! a different species than cuban oregano but a close relative. i have that one growing as well, but i havent used it for cooking as it is quite pungent. ive found some delicious uses for the regular cuban oregano though, i typically cook them in a veggie chili and i throw them in around the same time i put in my tomatoes. i use a lot of leaves, a bundle of leaves 2-3 inches thick and chop it fairly fine. i find it a great complement to culantro or cilantro whom i add to the very end of cooking. delicious!
Thank you so much for this information. I bought some palm oil to infuse with the juice of the Vicks, thinking it would be great to use for colds. Is that why you have it or are there other purposes other than admiring it?
woah good idea! i actually copied and pasted the wrong species for the vicks plant. it is indeed Plectranthus tomentosus. i got confused with camphor (another common name for vicks plant) and conophor (which is Plukenetia conophora) in my notes. i got the vicks plant from a friend and havent found a use for it except to smell it and admire it periodically. ive planted it around my structure in hopes it would reduce mosquito and fly populations by being so fragrant, same as i use the cuban oregano. it took me months to figure out the scientific name but besides that i havent really done that much research on the plant itself. guess ive got some more homework!
I have 2 varieties of this plant. One is a broad leaf thyme (Cuban Oregano), which I use as a seasoning. The other looks the same, except the tip of the leaves are a little pointed instead of round. The pointed leaf plant has a very bitter taste, When i cooked with it my meat was bitter. I was told this variety is a mix of mint and thyme and is used as a tea. Still trying to find the name of this variety. Is anyone familiar with this variety?
There are a range of plectranthus species. It may be Plectranthus caninus, the “panadol plant.” Very bitter and unpleasant in food, but supposedly medicinal.
Thank you for the info – I have several kinds that are labeled Cuban Oregano and that would explain why they look different. One has very small leaves and is used for cooking and the other is very large leaves and used for cooking and another that is just bitter. I think that oregano is from the mint family and have also read that oregano has very medicinal so assume the bitter one would be the one I use for congestion, the big leaf one I dry for seasoning and the small pretty one I use for fresh seasoning especially when cooking pork roast. By the way, they came back for me after winter here in North Florida. I’m so glad to know there are many different kinds as I was afraid I had bought mislabeled plants as they are all different.
If the larger photos are of your daughter’s garden I do believe your problem is that’s not Cuban Oregano (Plectranthus amboinicus ‘Variegata’). It’s the closely related Swedish Ivy (Plectranthus coleoides ‘Variegata’). Cuban oregano has soft furry leaves, Swedish Ivy’s are smooth and shiny
That would make a lot of sense – thank you.
All of my “cuban oregano/vicks” plants do have fuzzy leaves, also. Forgot to mention that above. I know I’ve bought several plants over the years that are mislabeled at the nursery. That is one reason when shopping for edibles, I always ask the nursery person if they use it and what do they think of it. Many times they have no answer – assume they are hired help instead of the gardener.