Sweet marjoram is often cultivated as a culinary herb. Plants do not normally survive the winter outdoors in Britain so they are usually grown as an annual.
Plants do not often set seed in Britain.
A good companion plant, improving the flavour of nearby plants. The flowers are very attractive to bees.
The bruised leaves emit a fragrance somewhat resembling thyme, but somewhat sweeter with balsamic undertones.
This is a sacred plant in India
The plant is often used to disinfect bee hives.
Requires a rather dry, warm, well-drained soil, but is not fussy as to soil type, thriving on chalk. Prefers slightly alkaline conditions.
Sow early spring at 10 - 13°c and only just cover the seed. Germination usually takes place within 2 - 4 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer.
The seed can also be sown in situ in April or early May and, although it can be slow to germinate, usually does well.
Leaves - raw or cooked. Sweet marjoram is widely used as a flavouring for salad dressings, vegetables, legumes and oils. It has a more delicate flavour than the closely related oregano (Origanum vulgare), and is best when used fresh and only added towards the end of cooking.
The aromatic seeds are used as a flavouring in sweets, drinks etc.A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves. The flavour resembles a blend of thyme, rosemary and sage.