Mexican Oregano, Puerto Rican Oregano

Lippia graveolens

Family: Verbenaceae (ver-be-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lippia (LIP-pee-uh) (Info)
Species: graveolens (grav-ee-OH-lens) (Info)




Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round

Suitable for growing in containers


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer


Grown for foliage



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama

Goodyear, Arizona

Tempe, Arizona

Davis, California

San Diego, California

San Francisco, California

Melbourne, Florida

Pinellas Park, Florida

Hana, Hawaii

Las Vegas, Nevada

Denville, New Jersey

Port Elizabeth, New Jersey

Hollywood, South Carolina

Austin, Texas

Belton, Texas

Rockport, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Waco, Texas

Reston, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 20, 2016, Shaggy2061 from Tempe, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Got this in April From a sale at the desert Botanical Gardens here in Phoenix. When i brought it hom it was just a little thing in a 4 inch pot 2 little sticks and very stringy.Now on the other hand it is a bush that is almost 2 feet by 2 feet has grown like a weed, and most of that was this since August. When i started watering every other Night with whole yard sprinkler(it is on edge of the sprinkler reach).
As for sun exposure it is full Phoenix sun from sun up to sun down no breaks for it. It is flowering now so seeds incoming i am also trying to root some cuttings.
It has a very strong taste of oregano with a little spice. Strong Oregano odor when picked. this one will soon be going though its first winter here where it can sometimes reach as low as 25f(rarely).
... read more


On Mar 15, 2016, wcast from San Diego, CA wrote:

I suppose one could get a burro and trek thru the 13 varietal zones of Mexico. Collect varieties of Lippia Graveolens from each zone, return to the US and share the bounty!


On Sep 25, 2013, MallyJ from Las Vegas, NV wrote:

this plant can be grown from seed! got seed in bag of mexican oregano from the spice house (, but you will need at least 5 power glasses to find seed. i contacted them by e-mail and they confirmed it was lippia graveolens. my plant is about 18 in. tall after one season. started in hotbox during winter.


On Apr 22, 2013, bobschrad from Reston, VA wrote:

I live in northern Virginia. I bought this plant last summer and it has thrived. It was about 18 inches tall when I bought it. I transplanted it into a large container, about 16 inches in diameter. Its leaves have a wonderful fragrance of oregano. Last fall I brought it inside when nighttime temps got down to about 40F, and I put it in a west-facing bedroom window, where it got afternoon sun. At first it lost some leaves, which I dried and kept to use in soups and sauces, and on pizza. To me it tastes just like traditional oregano. It soon recovered and made it in fine shape through the winter. I recently put it outside, but if night temps are forecast in the mid-30's I throw a sheet over it. A few times when it got even colder I brought it inside for the night. The plant is now over two ... read more


On Jun 10, 2012, psharboneaux from La Porte, IN wrote:

I'd like to clarify that the species Lippia graveolens is considered Mexican oregano, while Lippia micromera is the real Puerto Rican oregano. Lippia micromera is also called Spanish Thyme which I consider a misnomer since L. micromera is used as an oregano substitute, not a thyme substitute. Thyme is rarely used in Puerto Rican cuisine.


On Sep 12, 2011, YSFinHollywoodS from Banner Elk, NC (Zone 5b) wrote:

I live near Charleston, SC, zone 8a, and have had this plant just this summer. It has grown very well even though we had a drought. I would like to know about keeping it over the winter months if someone might know.


On Mar 17, 2010, greenhouse_gal from Southern NJ,
United States (Zone 7a) wrote:

We use this plant for seasoning Italian foods; for us it seems to have a truer Italian flavor than do the other oreganos such as the Greek variety.


On Dec 23, 2008, cachecreek from Davis, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Love this plant for seasoning Mexican food. But the info on cold tolerance above is incorrect. Lippia graveolens suffers severe cold damage at about 29 degrees F. There are references to it being hardy at lower temperatures on your website. I just lived through this...I know what happened to my plant, even though covered with a pot and then several layers of floating row cover. In the right conditions, it is very vigorous. The flowers are insignificant.


On Jul 31, 2003, sbates from Austin, TX wrote:

This plant provides an amazing flavor to salsa's when used fresh. Use just the leaves, wash them and chop them. The flavors combine very well with cilantro. The plant is hardy and roots easily with cuttings. The flavor is much more pungent and quite different than the dried versions you find in the store.