Origanum ‘Rotkugel’ (or ‘Herrenhausen’)

I’ve often described this plant, what I’ve erroneously believed to be a calamint, as “oregano-esque.”

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chilly morning today

Checking out High Country Gardens’ current sale offerings, I’m now fairly certain that I can drop the “esque.” This plant was shipped to me as Calamintha nepeta ‘Gottlieb Friedkund,’ but judging by HCG’s photo, its true identity is either Origanum ‘Rotkugel’ or ‘Herrenhausen.’ I’ve grown calamints before, so I know their small-flowered, twiggy ways, and this one just never seemed to fit the mold. But because there’s not a lot of photos available, the misidentification has been surprisingly prolonged.

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The “oregano-esque” blooms in July. The dusky bracts give a good impersonation of a miniature Joe-Pye Weed. (From High Country Gardens: “Rotkugel is one of the very best ornamental oreganos that blooms in mid-to late summer with a profusion of flower heads filled with small bright pink flowers. A fantastic perennial for feeding bees and butterflies.”)

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Threading around the base of Euphorbia atropurpurea. I was just mentioning in the last post how valuable small-scale, creeping plants can be, and I never have a roster of them as deep as I’d like. This oregano is just the scale of ground cover I need in my small garden, where it’s evergreen. ‘Rotkugel’ was introduced to the U.S. by Dan Hinkley as superior to ‘Herrenhausen.’

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The oregano and Grevillea ‘Mt. Tamboritha’ are getting increasingly chummy, but so far seem to be matched in vigor.

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In bloom last July.
Mystery solved, sort of.

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8 Responses to Origanum ‘Rotkugel’ (or ‘Herrenhausen’)

  1. Tim says:

    That’s a great oregano, especially since you are finding it well-behaved. I wonder how it would fare in a less-extreme climate? My ‘Norton’s Gold’ is hell-bent on shrubby domination, and even my more timid O. libanoticum is starting to thread about. That last photo is full of thrilling combinations. What’s the silver fuzzy plant?

  2. Denise says:

    Hi Tim — the silver fuzzy is a sideritis. I love the golden oregano too. The drought keeps these oreganos manageable!

  3. ks says:

    I have an attraction to Oreganos..I have at least 10 different varieties, along with the dreaded golden which has to be reduced in size every winter lest it take over the area. On the plus side, none of them seem to care much about water.

  4. Kris P says:

    Based on that first photo, I thought at first you’d been touched by frost! Your oregano is very pretty. I’ve been looking out for another ornamental oregano hybridized by Monterey Bay Nursery and named ‘Monterey Bay’ but I’ll keep this one in mind too.

  5. hb says:

    That’s a cutie. I got a Sideritis by accident, love the little thing. The oregano in my garden is vulgare or somesuch, and vulgar it is, but no water required, ever.

  6. Christina says:

    I am always on the look out for good ground covers and this one seems to be perfect! Since you are gardening close to me, I assume that it will grow well in my garden, too. Now I just have to find it. Most likely it needs to be ordered. Thanks for featuring it!

  7. Carol says:

    Does this oregano attract pollinators in your garden? I know that High Country Gardens says it does. I have a hot dry area in Durham, NC that could use some more green. I’m trying to add more garden layers to protect the roots of other plants.


  8. Denise says:

    Carol, yes, it does attract pollinators. This oregano keeps an evergreen mat in winter for me here in zone 10, then builds up into a nice, relatively vertical presence for summer. I’m clearing out a lot of its competition and giving it more open room this summer — photos of its progress to follow!

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