Satureja hortensis. This delicate, aromatic little plant grows quickly in rich soil. Used in bean, pea and lentil recipes, summer savory has a more delicate flavour than winter savory. Sow Summer Savory seeds in the spring. After flowering, pull it up and hang to dry. Let a few plants go to seed, and it should come back the following year. This herb grows to 25cm (10") tall.
This is the better known savory - it is an annual plant as opposed to perennial Winter Savory. Maritime Canadians know and love it, and use it the way sage is used elsewhere. It's nice with poultry stuffing and stews, and it is a key ingredient in herbes de Provence.
Summer savory is a half hardy annual. Winter savory is perennial. Both are well suited to container growing. All savories prefer full sun and well-drained, rather poor soil. Summer savory wants a warm, protected spot in the herb garden, while winter savory is less fussy. Do not feed with liquid fertilizer. Pick leaves as needed, and cut back if the plants begin to appear leggy. Continue reading below for more details on how to grow savory from seed.
Summer savory: Satureja hortensis & Winter savory: Satureja montana
Season & Zone
Exposure: Full sun
Zone: Summer savory: Grow as an annual. Winter savory is hardy to Zone 5.
Sow the very tiny seeds indoors about 4-6 weeks before the last frost. They should sprout in 10-15 days.
Sow seeds on the surface of prepared starting mix. Do not bury them as they need light to germinate. Don’t bother using bottom heat, as the seeds will sprout well without it. When seedlings are large enough to handle, delicately pot them on or transplant out to the herb garden once all risk of frost is past. Both varieties benefit from careful hardening off to reduce transplant shock.
This herb attracts honeybees, and repels cabbage moths. Planting it near beans and onions will improve the flavour of both.
More on Companion Planting.