Growing savory (Satureja) in the home herb garden isn’t as common as growing other kinds of herbs, which is a shame as both fresh winter savory and summer savory are excellent additions to the kitchen. Planting savory is easy and rewarding. Let’s look at how to grow savory in your garden.
Two Types of Savory
The first thing to understand before you start planting savory in your garden is that there are two kinds of savory. There is winter savory (Satureja montana), which is a perennial and has a more intense flavor. Then there is summer savory (Satureja hortensis), which is an annual and has a more subtle flavor.
Both winter savory and summer savory are tasty, but if you are new to cooking with savory, it is generally recommended that you start growing the summer savory first until you feel comfortable with your cooking savory.
Tips for Growing Summer Savory
Summer savory is an annual and must be planted every year.
- Plant seeds outdoors right after the last frost has passed.
- Plant seeds 3 to 5 inches (8-13 cm.) apart and about an 1/8 of an inch (3 mm.) down in the soil.
- Allow plants to grow to a height of 6 inches (15 cm.) before you start to harvest leaves for cooking.
- While savory plant is growing and when you are using fresh savory for cooking, use only the tender growth on the plant.
- At the end of the season, harvest the entire plant, both woody and tender growth, and dry the leaves of the plant for so that you can use the herb over the winter as well.
Tips for Growing Winter Savory
Winter savory is the perennial version of the savory herb.
- Seeds of the winter savory plant can be planted indoors or outdoors.
- If planting outdoors, plant the seeds right after the last frost
- If planting indoors, start the savory seeds two to six weeks before the last frost.
- Plant seeds or transplanted seedlings into your garden 1 to 2 feet (31-61 cm.) apart and an 1/8 inch (3 mm.) down in the soil. The plants will get large.
- Use the tender leaves and stems for fresh herb cooking and harvest the leaves from woody stems for drying and use later.
Other Tips for Growing Savory
Both kinds of savories are from the mint family but are not invasive like many other mint herbs.