How to Grow Savory

Savory summer savory

Summer savory

There are two types of savory: summer savory and winter savory. Summer savory is an annual. Winter savory is a perennial. Both can be planted in spring about the time of the average last frost date or started indoors as early as 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost. Both will be ready for harvest about 70 days after planting.

Description. Summer savory is a fast growing annual. It grows upright to about 18 inches tall as a loose bushy plant. Summer savory has needle-shaped leaves to about 1 inch long on four-sided, gray-green stems. Summer savory flowers are light purple to pink.

Winter savory is a semi-evergreen bushy perennial that grows to about 15 inches tall. It also has needle-shaped, dark green leaves to about 1 inch long on four-squared stems that become woody with age. Winter savory has small white or purple flowers.

Winter savory has a piney, sharp flavor. Summer savory is sweet flavored.

Yield. Grow one savory plant per household.

Site. Plant savory in full sun. Summer savory prefers a rich, well-drained organic soil; winter savory prefers a well-drained, sandy soil. Savory prefers a soil pH of 6.7 to 7.3.

Planting time. Sow savory in the garden in spring about the time of the average last frost date. Savory can be started indoors as early as 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost. Winter savory may be slow to germinate. Savory can be started from cuttings and divisions also. Root cuttings from new growth in moist sand. Divide older plants in spring or fall. Both summer and winter savory will be ready for harvest about 70 days after planting.

Planting and spacing. Sow savory ¼ inch deep. Savory can be very lightly covered and will germinate with no soil cover. Thin successful seedlings from 12 to 18 inches apart about 4 to 6 weeks after germination. Space rows 12 to 18 inches apart. Winter savory may require more room than summer savory.

Water and feeding. Savory require regular even watering until established. Once savory is established it can be kept on the dry side. Savory does not require extra feeding. Side dress plants with aged compost at midseason.

Companion plants. Beans, tomatoes (summer savory); with other perennials (winter savory).

Care. Summer savory grows so quickly that it can become top heavy and may require staking. Winter savory is a perennial; it should be cut back to a few inches tall each spring and replanted every 4 to 5 years. Winter savory is hardy to about 10°F (-10°C).

Container growing. Sumer and winter savory can be grown in containers. Grow winter savory as an annual. Choose a container at least 6 inches deep and wide. Over-winter container grown winter savory in an unheated garage or patio.

Pests. Savory has no serious pest problems.

Diseases. Savory has no serious disease problems.

Harvest. Harvest savory fresh as needed, both leaves and stems. Winter savory can be harvested year round. In regions with a long growing season, cut plants back at the beginning of spring for second growth and a second harvest. For dried leaves, cut 6- to 8-inch stems just before flowering.

Storing and preserving. Use savory fresh or freeze leaves or dry leaves. Dried leaves should be stored in an airtight container.

Common name. Summer savory, winter savory

Botanical name. Satureja hortensis (summer savory); Satureja montana (winter savory)

Origin. Mediterranean, Southern Europe

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