Summer Savory

Common name: Summer Savory

Scientific name: Satureja hortensis

Family: Labiatae

Uses: Aromatic, culinary, decorative, and medicinal.Dried plants are used to scent potpourris. Fresh or dried leaves flavor vinegars, herb butters, bean dishes, creamy soups, and tea. Summer savory can be grown in containers. It is said to have some medicinal qualities.

History: The genus Satureja was named by the Roman scholar Pliny and is derived from the word satyr, the half-man, half-goat creature in mythology who owned the savories.

Description: The branching roots produce a bushy, fine-haired stem, which often has a purple tint. The inch-long grayish green leaves are opposite and oblong-linear. They turn purplish in late summer to fall. The two-lipped white or pink flowers are 1Ž4 inch long and grow in whorl-like cymes. The fruit is comprised of four nutlets.

Plant type: Annual

Hardiness: Hardiness zones are not applicable to annuals.

Height: 12 to 18 inches

Width: 10 to 14 inches


Soil: average soil with a pH of 6.8


Disease: None noted.

Cultivation: Use fresh seeds to start summer savory as seed viability decreases after one year. Sow seeds directly into the ground or in flats no more than 1/8 inch deep or just scattered on top of the soil. Space or thin to 10 inches apart. Successive sowings may be made in spring until mid-summer. If plants start to lean over, mound soil up around the base.

Companion planting: Summer savory helps beans grow better. It also helps onions grow when planted in a border around them.
Propagation: Seeds or cuttings.

Flowering period: July to September

Flower color:

Garden notes: This plant was a nice addition to our garden, producing delicate blooms profusely for nearly a month. Because of the thin foliage, we massed the plants together in front of an extensive planting of sweet basil. The combination and contrast in texture was especially effective in August and September, when both plants were in bloom. The summer savory contributed a reddish hue to the garden.