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 (Winter Savoury).

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

Summer Savory

Annual Satureja species range from 15 to 90 cm (6 to 36 inches) in height. They bloom 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), or 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.

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.

Family: Lamiaceae.
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 (6 inches) 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 for Savory to germinate at 15 to 20 degrees centigrade (59 to 68°F).

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 Satureja herb indoors, then be sure that they get at least six hours of sunlight, and water them every time the soil dries out (do not water regularly).

Common Questions

How many members does the Satureja genus have?

The Satureja genus, also known as Savory, consists of about 30 to 40 species.

Do members of Satureja make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Indeed, members of the Satureja genus make excellent garden plants, known for their attractive foliage, delicate flowers, and aromatic qualities. They're also popular in herb gardens.

Which Satureja species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Satureja hortensis (Summer Savory) and Satureja montana (Winter Savory) are the species most frequently grown due to their culinary uses.

Are members of the Satureja plant genus fragrant?

Yes, Satureja plants are known for their aromatic leaves which are often used as a culinary herb for their peppery flavor.

What is the perfect location to grow Satureja?

Satureja plants prefer full sun and well-drained soil. They can be grown in a wide range of zones but perform best in zones 5-8.

Is Satureja invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Satureja is not considered invasive in the USA. Always check with your local extension service for specific regulations in your area.

How do I remove Satureja plants from my garden?

Satureja plants can be removed by hand-pulling, ensuring that the entire root system is removed to prevent regrowth. For larger plants, a gardening fork can be used.


The Satureja genus, encompasses annual and perennial herbaceous plants and subshrubs, native to warm temperate regions of the world. Known for their strong, peppery flavor, they are often used in cooking and as a traditional medicinal herb.

To grow Satureja, plant seeds or cuttings in early spring in well-drained soil. They prefer full sun and a regular watering schedule, without allowing the soil to become waterlogged. Once established, savories require little maintenance aside from regular harvesting to promote bushy growth.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Satureja (summer) plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow mint and Melissa plants.