Rising savory: winter or summer season seasoning

The herb savory is just like the name suggests, full of flavor, tasty and tasty. This salty, flavorful herb has been used in cooking and medicine since Roman times when it was used as a salt substitute for flavored foods. It was also believed to be a powerful aphrodisiac! Known by the Romans as the "herb of love", its powers were believed to be so strong that monasteries in Europe banned the cultivation of savory for fear that the monks might be charmed by its pungent aroma.

The popularity of summer and winter savory cultivation declined with the introduction of the Eastern Spice Routes, which traded all kinds of new and interesting flavors, especially black pepper. Fortunately, savory foods have made a small comeback in recent years and are increasingly being used in home and restaurant kitchens.

Savory is particularly suitable for use in spicy meat massages, with the additional advantage that it does not lose its taste like other herbs during long cooking times. A traditional combination of foods for savory foods is to add bean dishes and add salt without salt, which can harden the beans as they cook. It also promotes healthy digestion and reduces gas and wind when consuming beans.

Used fresh or dried, savory is one of the main ingredients in Herbes de Provence alongside marjoram, thyme, oregano and rosemary and is a great growth partner alongside its Mediterranean cousins. Why not try growing your own herb bed or Herbes de Provence patio container at home?

Good products for growing hearty foods:

Brief instructions for care

Growing savoryGrowing savory, whether in winter or summer, is surprisingly easy. Source: Wallygrom

Common Name (s) Winter savory, mountain savory, summer savory, satyricon, St. Julian's herb and stone basil
Scientific name Winter savory: Satureja montana. Summer savory: Satureja hortensis
Days to harvest Summer tasty 60-65 days, winter hearty all year round
light Full sun
Water: Moderate
ground Loam to sandy loam
fertilizer Organic soil amendments and mulch
Pests No significant pest problems, but can harbor aphids and spider mites
Diseases No diseases to speak of

Everything about hearty foods

Bee on a spicy plantBees and other beneficial pollinators feel great tasting. Source: Lofidelion

Hearty comes from the mint family, Lamiaceae, which originate from southern Europe, the Mediterranean and southwest Asia and are grown for their highly aromatic leaves. There are two main types of savory; Winter, Satureja montana and summer, Satureja hortensis. They're both very similar, but have some differences in the way they're grown.

The botanical name for summer savory is Satureja hortensis. It is also commonly known as St. Julian's Herb, Stone Basil, and Satyricon. Summer savory grows as an annual herb that is sown in spring and harvested by autumn and falls back with the first frost. It is a compact herb that grows up to 30-45 cm tall and the same size in its distribution. It has bronze-green leaves on green-burgundy stems and swirls of small white flowers that are pink in color in summer. Its taste and aroma is spicy and peppery with notes of thyme, marjoram and mint and it is much more subtle than winter savory.

Winter savory is known botanically as Satureja montana. It is a sturdy, dwarf, semi-evergreen perennial that grows up to 15-45 cm tall and wide. The leaves are dark, gray-green, lanceolate and stiffer than in summer and grow on woody, brown-green stems. The flowers are white, purple in color and appear in summer. Winter savory has a stronger aroma than summer savory with tones of sage and pine in addition to its tangy, peppery taste. Savory seeds are small and brown-black.

Both winter and summer savory are easy to care for herbs and are easy to grow in your garden. They take up very little space, but give back a lot of flavor. Grow heartily in containers along with other perennial Mediterranean herbs like the mint family cousins, thyme, marjoram, and oregano.

Other varieties of savory you may be interested in include:

  • Satureja biflora – lemon, African savory. A hardy evergreen with strongly pungent leaves that smell of lemon.
  • Satureja spicigera – Creeping savory. A low growing evergreen variety with a height and spread of 8 cm and 75 cm.


Winter and summer savory can be harvested from seeds indoors in the spring and planted out after the last frost. Germination usually takes 1-3 weeks. Seeds can also be sown right in the garden if all frost hazards have been accompanied by well-rooted transplants or a store-bought savory plant.

Simply sow hearty seeds on the surface of a pre-watered seed compost mixture 4-6 weeks before the last frost. In their final growing positions, plant 30-45 cm apart in rows that are 45 cm apart. Alternatively, you can sow the seeds directly outdoors in prepared drills. Thin seedlings 6 inches apart and later to the thickest plants 30-45 cm apart.

Grow hearty in an open, sunny spot with well-drained, moderately fertile soil. Savory's dwarfism habit allows him to tolerate exposed locations.

If you are short of space in the garden, you can grow hearty in containers in a greenhouse or conservatory. Growing indoors extends the summer savory harvest time and produces more tender leaves on tender winter plants.

Care for hearty plants

Spicy seedsHearty seeds are quite small and dark in color. Source: John and Anni

Read on for tips on how to keep your hearty plants happy and healthy!

Sun and temperature

Summer and winter hearty are definitely sun-loving plants. If you're growing summer savory, you'll need to get about 12 hours of sunlight exposure every day. The ideal temperature range is between 12 and 29 ° C, but plants are sensitive to frost at low temperatures. Grow in USDA Zone 6-10.

Winter savory needs half the hours of sunshine (6 hours) compared to its summer cousin, which reflects its perennial habit and grows in USDA zone 4-8. The ideal temperature range for optimal growth is 7-27 ° C. It will survive winter temperatures down to -5 ° C. At lower temperatures, plants should be placed in pots or protected in garden beds with garden fleece if they are in beds.

Water and moisture

Hearty is a drought tolerant plant, but it will be watered regularly to keep the foliage fresh and hydrated, especially during the hot summer season. Be careful not to drink too much water, as savory doesn't like growing in damp soil. Water in the morning with a timed soaking hose or watering can near the floor. Winter savory requires minimal watering during the winter months unless it is grown indoors.


The ideal soil conditions for the cultivation of savory vary between sandy loam (summer) and loam (winter) and range in pH from neutral to slightly alkaline. The soil must also be able to drain freely. Both savory varieties benefit from changes in organic matter prior to planting in the spring, and a compost mulch in late autumn protects the plants' savory winter roots from hard frost.


Savory is not a heavy feeder and can handle organic mulching and soil improvement. Transplants can benefit from balanced hydration in mid to late spring to help the roots establish and reduce transplant shock.


Regular harvest promotes branching and creates a beautiful, bushy habit. Untrimmed, the savory becomes long-legged and weak. Summer savory should be harvested in full when flowers develop in late summer and early fall. Winter savory benefits from a light plum at the beginning of the growing season, removing old or damaged shoots and stems.


Sow hearty summer and winter seeds 4-6 weeks before the last frost. Sow the seeds one by one in modular trays or send them to a seed tray for later picking out. Use a prepared seed compost mixture and water it well before and not after sowing. This will prevent seeds from washing into the edges of the pots or cells. Do not cover the seeds as they need light to germinate, which can take 1-3 weeks. When the seedlings have developed good root systems, plant them 30-45 cm apart.

Alternatively, you can sow the seeds directly outside once the risk of frost has passed and the soil temperatures have reached 16 ° C. Sow in prepared bores and thin seedlings 6 inches apart and again a few weeks later in the thickest plants about 15-45 cm (6-18 inches) apart.

Propagation of winter beans from softwood cuttings in spring and semi-ripe cuttings in late summer / early autumn. Use clean secateurs to cut stems 4 to 6 inches in length and remove the bottom 2 to 3 inches of the leaves. Prepare small pots with a 50:50 mixture of compost and perlite or horticultural grain to aid drainage. Insert the cuttings evenly around the edge of the pots down to the leaves and firmly to ensure good contact with the compost. Stems can be dipped in root hormone if desired, but this is not strictly necessary. Water the cuttings and keep moist until roots have formed. Cuttings can benefit from some warmth in the soil to stimulate root development. When you're done, separate the cuttings and plant one root cut per pot to be planted in the garden in the spring.

Harvesting and storing

Hearty winterBoth summer and winter savory have similar taste profiles. Source: eekim

Savory is a great all-round herb to use in the kitchen. Here are some tips and tricks for harvesting fresh leaves and storing savory for longer enjoyment.


Harvest when the plants reach six inches in height. It is a good idea to have a few plants on to ensure constant supply. Harvest savory summer and winter mornings when the essential oils are at their peak. Simply cut off the young leaves and use fresh or dried. Try not to trim the stems back too far as it will take longer for the savory plant to recover. This is especially important with winter savory with woody stems. Winter savory can be harvested all year round. Leaves picked in the colder months may be tough, but they are perfect for slow cooking in stews and casseroles. Harvest the summer savory before blooming for the best flavor.


Store fresh, savory leaves in the refrigerator for up to a week, wrapped in damp paper towels or in a zip-lock bag. The leaves can be dried in a dehydrator or laid flat on a tray in a cool, dry place for a few weeks. When completely dry, crumble and store in an airtight container for up to a year.


Summer heartySummer savory is usually grown in the warm season. Source: cathy480

There are no pests or diseases worth mentioning in either winter or summer. In fact, they're considered an excellent companion plant for repelling or luring away pests like bean beetles and aphids and reducing powdery mildew on roses.

Growing problems

The main growth problem associated with both summer and winter tastes is that the soil becomes too moist and develops Fungal root rot. Tell-tale signs include a slow decline in plant health with withered or yellowed leaves. Check the roots for moisture and reduce watering until the plant improves.

Pests and diseases

As a rule, most pests and diseases do not cause much harm to savory, regardless of the type. However, each plant can become a breeding ground for certain pests. Aphids and Spider mites be the most common. Whenever you see evidence of any of these pests it is always wise to reduce the population so you don't run the risk of the pests spreading further in the garden. Neem oil is beneficial for getting rid of both of these pests.

frequently asked Questions

Winter tasty in bloomWinter savory produces plenty of small white flowers. Source: KHQ Flower Guide

Q: What do you use summer savory for?

A: The young leaves are delicious added to salads and pasta dishes for a flavorful kick, or they can be dry rubbed onto grilled meat along with other herbs. It's also great for casseroles, stews, especially sausage and bean recipes.

Q: What do you use winter savory for?

A: Winter savory can be used in a similar way to summer savory. However, since the leaves can be a bit tougher, it's perfect for slow-cooking casseroles and stews.

Q: Can you eat summer savory flowers?

A: Summery hearty flowers are tiny and don't have a lot of flavor, but they look great when sprinkled over a summer salad.

Q: How big is the winter tasty?

A: Depending on the growing conditions, winter savory grows to a height of 6 to 18 inches and the same diameter.

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