Whenever I get a new herb plant from the garden centre it’s always in desperate need of a repot. Instead of just moving it up a pot size I like to divide it so I can pop one half in my square foot garden to get nice and big and have the other in my little windowsill herb garden so I’ve always got some to hand.

Before you put your plant through the trauma of tearing up its roots, make sure you have at least two stems. Each section you divide will need some roots and at least one stem. If you can only see one stem coming out of the soil then leave your oregano to grow (and prune it regularly to encourage more new growth.

Multiple Oregano Stems on Oregano Plant
Multiple stems on an oregano plant

Get your oregano plant out of the pot by tipping it on its side and giving the pot a squeeze while you support the top of the plant so it doesn’t fall on it’s leaves when it comes free.

If the roots around the edges of the soil are thick and tangly then slice through them with a knife. Grab a sharp knife and make a cut on either side of the root ball about a centimetre deep where you want to divide the plant.

Cutting through the roots to divide oregano
Cut through the oregano roots if they’re too thick to pull apart

Stick your fingers into the slice you’ve made and pull the two halves apart.

Dividing Oregano
Pull the two halves of the oregano apart

For roots that aren’t too developed you could skip the slicing step if you don’t want to damage the roots more than you need too. Instead, find the point on the top of the soil between the stems where you want to divide the plant and dig your fingers into the soil there while gripping the rest of the soil with your hands and pull the two halves away from each other. It’s better to go from the top if you haven’t cut the roots so you don’t end up ripping out a load of soil and roots without any stems (I learnt that the hard way). You’ll hear a load of ripping sounds as the roots in the centre break apart – it’s fine, oregano is pretty hardy and it’ll recover in no time.

Two halves of an oregano plant
Two oregano plants!

Now that you’ve got two sections (or however many you’ve decided to do) it’s time to get them in their own pots. It’s the same process you’d go through for repotting. Grab some plant pots – I prefer terracotta for oregano as they like a drier environment but plastic will work just fine too. Pop some potting soil in the bottom of the pot and pat it down a little.

Freeing up potbound oregano roots
Free up the roots so they’ll grow into the new soil

If the roots are growing around the soil in the shape of the pot they were in then it’s best to free them up before you plant them. I usually break up the soil a bit on the bottom of the root ball to help the roots fan out into the new soil.

Stick your plant in the pot and fill in around the edges with fresh potting soil and give it a pat down. Then, give it a really good water. The soil level will probably go down a bit when you water because the water helps the soil move around and fill in any gaps so top it up if you need to and pat it down again. Make sure you don’t bury the oregano deeper than it was before because burying more of the plant could cause it to start rotting.

Small oregano plant in a terracotta pot
My divided oregano in it’s new pot ready for my windowsill herb garden!

Pop your oregano in some bright indirect light for a couple of days to recover and then get it in a nice sunny spot. I’ve found that putting them straight back into the sun doesn’t seem to do them any harm – I always plant one of my divisions straight in the ground where it gets full sun all day and it does just fine.

That’s it! Enjoy your bounty of delicious oregano!

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