Origanum ‘Kent Beauty’

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Robert Pavlis

Origanum ‘Kent Beauty’: by Robert Pavlis

Origanum ‘Kent Beauty’ is a wonderful little plant for the rock garden. It is not a show stopper, nor does it have big flashy flowers, but it does have a very unique look that gets people talking. It requires almost no care and has few pests.

Origanum ‘Kent Beauty’: by Robert Pavlis
Origanum ‘Kent Beauty’: by Robert Pavlis

Origanum ‘Kent Beauty’ is commonly misnamed Origanum rotundifolium ‘Kent Beauty’. It is actually a primary hybrid between O. rotundifolium and O. scabrum.

I have grown a few different origanums but none have really impressed me until I started growing this one. Each stem is about 15 cm (6”) long and pendent. Stems originating from the center lie on top of the stems growing towards the outer edge, forming a semi-mounding dome. It looks its best in a container, or growing over a rock so the pendent stems can droop down.

Origanum ‘Kent Beauty’: by Robert Pavlis
Origanum ‘Kent Beauty’: by Robert Pavlis

The flowers are small but show up well through the large bracts which last all summer and cover the stems to such an extent that by late summer you hardly see the leaves. Flowers continue to develop all summer long. The Royal Horticultural Society has rightly given it the Award of Garden Merit.

Compost Science for Gardeners by Robert Pavlis

The pictured plant was grown from seed obtained through the ORG&HPS Seed Exchange Program and is now about 5 years old. It is slow growing, but the mound gets bigger each year.

Oregano, Origanum vulgar, is closely related to this plant and is also in the mint family. Don’t let the reference to mint scare you off.  Kent Beauty does not spread like other mints. It does not make runners and has yet to make a seedling for me. Origanum ‘Kent Beauty’ can be eaten, but is more commonly used as an ornamental. Some people do collect the fragrant stems to make potpourri.

Once new growth starts in spring, cut last year’s growth back to a new bud. It requires no other maintenance for the rest of the year.

Origanum ‘Kent Beauty’: by Robert Pavlis
Origanum ‘Kent Beauty’: by Robert Pavlis

Origanum ‘Kent Beauty’

(or-RI-ga-num)

Life Cycle: perennial, considered by some to be a sub-shrub

Height: 15cm (6in)

Bloom Time: all summer

Natural Range: N/A

Habitat: N/A

Synonyms: N/A

Cultivation of Origanum ‘Kent Beauty’

Light: full sun

Soil: well drained

Water: drought tolerant once established

USDA Hardiness Zone: (5)610, seems hardy in my zone 5 garden

Propagation: seed, division, basal cuttings in spring

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Robert Pavlis

I have been gardening my whole life and have a science background. Besides writing and speaking about gardening, I own and operate a 6 acre private garden called Aspen Grove Gardens which now has over 3,000 perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees. Yes--I am a plantaholic!

6 thoughts on “Origanum ‘Kent Beauty’”

  1. hi there
    i am jaspreet and live in brampton. this is my 2nd post. my house is small but has a relatively big front.i like to fill some space with succulent and cacti.i love these plants.can u send me some info about this and please tell me is it possible in brampton.how to protect them in winter?
    thanks for your emails,very rare information.
    jass

    Reply
    • My first garden was in Brampton – you can grow many succulents there, but cactus are harder. They need excellent drainage and may need cover in winter to keep them dry.

      Reply
  2. Hi Ron. I used to have one of these a few years ago that came back for quite a few years. I lost it 2 seasons ago. I had it one other time many years ago and it did come back, but lost it as well after a number of years. I guess it’s not a truly hardy perennial. I did love the light green and pinky shades in the bracts. I don’t suppose it would be easy to find another plant these days.
    Kriss

    Reply
  3. Looks very interesting, I will endeavour to find one. Thanks for your articles. FYI droop not drupe. Drupe is a fruit with a hard stone in the middle.

    Reply

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