Oregano and Thyme on Steep Slope in North Carolina
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Nancy Wells
Posted on: May 31, 2008

I wasn’t sure who to ask this question of, but being a horticulturist I thought you might be a good place to start. I have bought herbs from Richters for years while living in Alaska. Now I am in NC and have an unruly steep slope in full sun, zone 6 (I am in the mountains about 2600 ft). The slope currently has lawn and I cannot mow it. I love herbs and put them everywhere I can. I have been looking at oregano or thyme (or both?). I have common thyme which is doing very well in my herb garden. I have not grown oregano here. It can get up to 90 degrees and 90% humidity in August, and we do get some snow that doesn’t stay. We get late frosts. I would appreciate any thoughts.

If common thyme does well in your area, then oregano and other thymes should do well also. The heat is not a problem. The high humidity and (presumably) the rainfall can be problematic, as these herbs prefer dry conditions. The slope works in your favour because excess rainwater will drain away quickly; but you need to watch for fungal diseases that attack these herbs when the humidity is high for prolonged periods. If the soil is a heavy clay it may be a good idea to add sand so that the roots are not waterlogged for lengthy periods. Both oregano and thyme prefer full sun.

Also, it is an area about 12 ft. x 36 ft. and am wondering how many plants I would need.

If you are planting the whole completely with plants and not in rows, you will 1 oregano or 2-4 thyme plants per square foot. I am assuming that you intend to plant a creeping thyme such as wild thyme.

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