Savory (Vegetable Gardening)

Common names: summer
savory, winter savory Botanical names: Satureja
hortensis (summer savory);
Satureja montana (winter
savory) Origin: Mediterranean,
Southern Europe


Few varieties are available; grow the variety available in your area.


Both types of savory belong to the mint family. Summer savory is a bushy annual with needle-shaped leaves and stems that are square when the plant is young and become woody later. The flowers are light purple to pink, and the plant grows to a height of about 18
inches. Winter savory is a bushy hardy perennial that grows about a foot tall. The small flowers are white or purple and, like the summer variety, winter savory has needle-shaped leaves and square stems that become woody as they develop. The winter variety has sharper-flavored leaves than the summer kind.

Where and when to grow

Both varieties grow anywhere in the United States from seeds planted two to three weeks after the average date of last frost.

How to plant

Summer savory can be grown in almost any soil; winter savory prefers soil that is sandy and well-drained. Both need full sun. Before planting, work a complete, well-balanced fertilizer into the ground at the rate of one pound to 100 square feet. Plant seeds of both summer and winter varieties half an inch deep in rows 12 to 18 inches apart. When the seedlings are four to six weeks old thin summer savory plants to stand three to four inches apart. Winter savory needs more room;thin the plants to 12 to 18 inches apart.

Fertilizing and watering

Do not fertilize at midseason. Detailed information on fertilizing is given in “Spadework: The Essential Soil” in Parti.
Both varieties do better if kept on the dry side.

Special handling

Summer savory has a tendency to get top-heavy; stake the plants if necessary.


Savory has no serious pest problems.


Savory has no serious disease problems.

When and how to harvest

Pick fresh leaves and stems of both summer and winter savory at any time during the growing season. In areas with a long growing season you may get two harvests. For drying, cut off the top six to eight inches of the plant as soon as it begins to flower.

Storing and preserving

Store the dried leaves in an airtight container. Detailed information on storing and preserving is given in Part 3.

Serving suggestions

Savory has a peppery flavor that is good with fish, poultry, and in egg dishes. Try it in vinegars, or add a little to a cheese souffle.

Next post:

Previous post: