Winter Savory

Common name: Winter Savory

Scientific name: Satureja montana

Family: Labiatae

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

History: The genus Satureja was named by the Roman writer Pliny. It is derived from the word satyr, the half-man, half-goat creature in mythology who owned the savories. The Romans used this herb for cooking and introduced it to England during Caesar

Description: This hardy semi-evergreen bush has branching roots which produce a woody base. The glossy, dark green leaves are about an inch long, opposite, and lance shaped, widening at the tips. The white or lilac flowers are two-lipped with purple spots on the lower lip. The flowers are 1/3 inch long and grow in terminal spikes. The fruit is comprised of four nutlets.

Plant type: Perennial

Hardiness: Hardiness zone 6.

Height: 6 to 12 inches

Width: 8 to 12 inches


Soil: dry, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.7


Disease: None noted.

Cultivation: In spring, sow seeds in flats and transplant once the soil has warmed up. Place 10 to 12 inches apart. Cuttings also can be taken in late spring. Cut the tips of new shoots and place in pots of wet sand. When roots are well formed, plant in the garden.
Companion planting: Beans grow better with winter savory planted next to them.

Propagation: Seeds or cuttings.

Flowering period: July to September

Flower color:


Garden notes: Perhaps not as full as other plants because of its thin foliage, the winter savory did best planted in a mass in front of an extensive planting of sweet basil. This arrangement provided a change of texture and looked especially nice in August and September, when both plants were in bloom. The winter savory contributed a reddish hue to the garden and bloomed profusely for nearly a month.