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How to Grow Satureja Plants

Guide to Growing Summer Savory, Chilean Shrub Mint and Wild Basil

The Culinary herb Satureja can be either grown as an hardy annual or as perennial Satureja.

This page is dedicated to the annual variety known as Summer Savory.

Summer Savory

Annual Satureja species range from 15 to 90 cm in height and flower from the middle of summer to autumn with small double lipped tubular flowers of purple or white. However it is usually the fragrant greyish green oblongish leaves that Satureja plants are grown for. The leaves of summer savory have a peppery taste and can be harvested at any time and used fresh.

If you want to dry the savory leaves then it is best to harvest before flowering has occurred (start of summer), and after it has finished (autumn). It is best to remove stalks and leaves, place in a paper bag, hang upside down, allow to dry, then store the summer savory leaves in a Tupperware container.

Satureja spicigera
Satureja spicigera – Creeping Savory by peganum; Creative Commons.

Satureja multiflora
Satureja multiflora – Chilean Shrub Mint by inao ᵕ; Creative Commons.



Quick Annual Satureja Plant Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Savory: Summer; Winter; Serpentine. Chilean Shrub Mint, Wild Basil, Yerba Buena.
Life Cycle: Hardy annual. Hardy perennial.
Height: 6 to 24 inches (15 to 60 cm).
Native: Americas, Europe.
Growing Region: Annual: zones 3 to 10. Perennial: zones 6 to 9
Flowers: Annual: from the middle of summer until autumn. Perennial: early summer.
Flower Details: White, Lilac. Tubular.
Foliage: Bronze-green; Greyish green. Slender. Lanceolate to Oval.
Sow Outside:
Annual: Surface. At three week intervals from the beginning of spring. Spacing 8 inches (20 cm).
Perennial: Surface. The end of spring. Spacing 12 inches (30 cm).
Sow Inside:
Use peat pots. Germination time: one to three weeks in the light. Temperature 60°F (16°C). Annual: four weeks in advance. Perennial: eight weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.
Requirements:
Full sunlight or light shade. Good drainage.
Annual: Light soil. Fertile soil.
Perennial: Average soil. Soil pH 6.5 to 7.5. Cut back when young. Divide plants every two years to encourage growth. Propagate: Divide or take cuttings in the spring. Divide in autumn.
Miscellaneous: Grown for their culinary use, the annual variety (Summer Savory) has the best flavour; the Perennial (Winter Savory) is usually used as a substitute when the annual is out of season.

How to Grow Summer Savory (annual Satureja Plants)

It is best to sow Summer savory and other annual Satureja plants outdoors every four weeks to ensure a wide time-range in which to harvest fresh leaves. The seeds of summer savory should be sown on the soil surface from just after the last frost at about 15 cm apart. Ideally they should be grown in a sunny area that has good drainage and a light yet rich soil.

Annual Satureja plants can also be started off indoors, sow the seeds into peat pots about a month before putting out (after the last frost of spring). It should take about two weeks fro savory to germinate at 15 to 20 degrees centigrade.

Caring for Summer Savory

It is very easy to look after the summer savoury plants outdoors, give them a light watering if the soil dries out. If growing the Satureja herb indoors then be sure that they get at least 6 hours of sunlight, and water them every time the soil dries out (do not water regularly).


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