PLECTRANTHUS AMBOINICUS (CUBAN OREGANO) A South African member of the mint family with velvety, slightly succulent leaves. Its foliage has a strong fragrance akin to oregano. The stems can grow up to 3.0′ long, bending and trailing from containers. This plant has similar care needs to those of a Kalanchoe.


Cuban oregano is a hardy, succulent herb. It has a stem similar to that of a succulent with new growth offering more delicate green stems. Cuban oregano leaves are rounded, thick, and velvety and grow in pairs around the stem. The leaves are green and serrated along the edges, though some varieties have a variegated color and more deeply-toothed margins. Cuban oregano has a strong, pungent and musky aroma, with a flavor profile that is similar to traditional Italian oregano with a hint of thyme.


The origin of Cuban oregano may be traced using its scientific name, Plectranthus amboinicus. The Latin name of the species ‘amboinicus’ may refer to Ambon, a small but fertile, mountainous island in Indonesia. Cuttings were likely spread to Africa, the West Indies and Latin America and propagated by Spanish explorers and travelers. There is a dispute regarding its origin – some claim Cuban oregano is native to eastern Africa. Despite the claims, Cuban oregano has existed in the coastal regions of the countries surrounding the Indian Ocean for centuries. A hardy plant, Cuban oregano grows well in USDA Zones 10 and 11.


PLECTRANTHUS AMBOINICUS is a tender perennial herb with many common names including Cuban oregano, Spanish thyme, oregano brujo, broadleaf thyme and big thyme.


CUBAN OREGANO can be used in place of other oregano varieties, thyme or other herbs with a similar flavor profile. The pungent aroma and strong flavor of Cuban oregano pairs well with meat and fish. Stuff pork with fresh Cuban oregano or use to marinate chicken or beef. Cuban oregano can also be sautéed along with assorted vegetables, or added to soups and stews as an aromatic. Store unwashed Cuban oregano in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week.



Annual herbs can be planted in the garden in spring. Annual herbs are also ideal for containers. Pots can be brought indoors for the winter and placed near a sunny window for harvesting through the cold months. Return the plants outdoors in the spring when the danger of frost is past, or simply replace with fresh plants





Invest in a good, sharp hand pruner or knife for harvesting. Pinching the stems off can cause damage to the main plant.