How to Grow Summer and Winter Savory from Seeds
Savory is a half-hardy annual that self sows freely and has a strong, hot and slightly bitter flavor reminiscent of thyme. The annual Summer Savory will grow to about 14-18 inches and have slender, erect stems with sparse bronze leaves and small, pale pink flowers, the perennial Winter Savory will grow to about 15 inches and has stiffer stems, smaller and more pungent leaves with a wider spreading habit than the summer savory. Germination is often erratic, and grows slowly from seed.
Sow seeds in spring, thinning to every six inches. Plants need a sunny location and look good in rock gardens.
Use summer savory to flavor beans, peas, pork, game and sausages. Finely chopped leaves can be added to soups and stews near the end of their cooking time. The herb makes a flavorful oil or vinegar.
Summer savory is used as a companion plant for beans because it helps deter bean beetles.
Savory is a fast-growing annual that provides an abundant supply of leaves, growing quickly to a height of about 12 inches. It has narrow, intensely aromatic leaves that grow in pairs on short, branching stems. The plant tends to be top-heavy when it is mature. In summer, small, pinkish-white flowers appear, attracting bees.
Plant summer savory in an herb garden or in a bed with summer annuals, where it can be replaced with a cool-season annual when it is killed by frost in fall. It also does well in containers.
- Planting Depth: 1/4" press into soil but do not cover as they need light for germination.
- Soil Temperature for Germination.: 70-85°F
- Days to Germination.: 10-14 for Summer Savory and 20 days for Winter Savory at 70ºF
- Plant Spacing: 8-12"
- Days to Maturity: 65-75
- Full Sun
- Moderate Water
- Both Savories appreciate full sun and good drainage, the plants thrive in lean soil, however Summer Savory likes somewhat richer soil then Winter Savory.
Plant in full sun to partial shade in the spring after threat of frost has passed. It needs well-drained soil; keep the bed moist, as savory will die back in dry soil.
Savory is easy to grow, but the plant tends to have thin, weak stems. Set forked twigs and small branches in the plant so that as the plant grows through the branches, they will provide support.
You can begin harvesting savory when the plant is only 6 inches tall. Because savory grows so quickly, it responds well to frequent pinching back. This gives you continuous harvests while encouraging the plant to sprout new leaves and remain bushy. In the Gulf South, summer savory may go to seed very quickly, providing only a short harvest period.
You can dry cut stems by tying in small bunches or spreading them on screens or paper until thoroughly dry. Then strip the leaves from the stems, being careful to remove all small pieces of woody stems. Store in airtight containers.
The sharp, spicy taste and strong, pleasant fragrance of summer savory make it very useful for sauces, vinegars, meat stuffing, stews, soups, and vegetables.