An Herb With Savory Flavor


A word that makes your mouth water: Savory. It names this herb plant used to flavor stuffings and roasts. Satureja has a fairly strong and peppery taste, it is mainly added to slow cooked stew and best known for pairing with beans. Easy to grow, an annual type is called “Summer Savory”(Satureja hortensis), and the perennial is called “Winter Savory” (Satureja montana).

Using Satureja montana in the garden, it is a good companion plant to grow with beans, and that makes it convenient to harvest and put into the cooking pot together.

Satureja hortensis has a more mellow flavor than its cousin and is an annual plant.

Herbes de Provence

Wish to combine your own Herbes de Provence? Put together some savory with lavender, rosemary, thyme, parsley, tarragon, basil, some fennel if you have it and oregano. This is a marvelous addition to all sorts of recipes.

Savory flowers attract pollinators.

Savory flowers attract pollinators.

Savory Plants in the Garden

Seed Summer savory directly in the soil where it is to grow. A low plant of about 12-18 inches high, it like a loamy soil of good tilth. Both types need full sun.

Winter Savory is a hardy, semi-woody, herbaceous perennial plant. for the best flavored leaves be prepared to prune old branches back to the ground several times a year. The softer leaves and stems taste best in dishes.

Hardy to Zone 5 unless a cold snap does away with it. So give it some protection, or consider it more of a Zone 6 hardiness level. Not all “cold” is equal. Soil that is well drained, a pot protected from low lying frosts and sweeping winds, will be more successful than spots without those conditions.

These plant tend to repel insects, but also deter the growth of other plants around them. (1)

Herbs love sun and well drained soil.

Many herb plants od best without additional fertilizing in an average soil. Savory is one on that list. Overly rich feeding will not produce the good flavors and aromatic oils desired as well as leaner growing conditions.


Growing Perennial Winter Savory

  • ⇒ Six hours of sun.
  • ⇒ Can be propagated by cuttings, similar to lavender herbs.
  • ⇒ Likes sweet soil near a pH of 6.7
  • ⇒ Be sure the soil is well-drained

Growing Annual Summer Savory

  • ⇒ Full Sun
  • ⇒ Soil with good drainage.
  • ⇒ Plant seeds 1/8 inch deep, in situ after the last frost date.
  • ⇒ Space 3 inches apart. Begin harvesting when plants are about 6 inches high.
  • ⇒ Regular moisture

Native to the Mediterranean region, Satureja plants have naturalized in parts of North America. I recommend growing it in containers and raised beds in the vegetable and herb gardens.

Culinary Uses

shelf o' herbs

Shelf o’ Herbs

Use savory leaves in the recipe for Cheesy Zucchini Muffins
    This herb is delicious in dishes of:

  • beans
  • beets
  • potatoes
  • tomatoes
  • game meats
  • cabbage
  • cheese
  • mackerel and eel
  • eggs
Herbs are best harvested in the morning when the essential oils are most concentrated.

Fun Facts About Savory

romanThe original “salt substitute”, Romans took it with them to flavor foods when salt was in short supply.

Try it as a companion plant for roses, to discourage aphids.

Long a medicinal herb, these plants are being investigated for modern use in regards to cancer, high cholesterol, and diabetes. They have antioxidant properties.

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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author


I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of "Ilona's Reflecting Pool". Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. The work on "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.