The name says it all: this sun-loving, savory herb has a flavor profile similar to sage and is a popular addition to sauces, soups, and bean dishes. A main component of herbes de Provence, Summer Savory is considered to be a sweeter version of its more bitter cousin, Winter Savory, and is commonly regarded as the preferable cooking variety. If its delectable taste and scent were not enough, Summer Savory also attracts honey bees with its beautiful lavender, white, and/or pink flowers, adding a touch of color to your garden. Savory is a bushy plant that grows quickly and abundantly with stalks reaching between 1′ and 1.5′, so be sure to give it plenty of space to prosper.
Seed Depth: Press into soil, as seeds need light to germinate.
Space Between Plants: 10″
Space Between Rows: 12–24″
Germination Soil Temperature: 70–85°F
Days for Germination: 10–15
Sow Indoors: 4–6 weeks before average last frost date.
Sow Outdoors: After all danger of frost has passed. Start successive plantings every 3 weeks until mid-summer for continuous harvest.
Vegetative: Can be propagated by taking stem cuttings.
As its name suggests, Summer Savory prefers warmer weather; however, it can tolerate cooler climates for short periods of time. If you are living in a climate zone that experiences extreme cold in the winter and are planting outside, plan to transplant young seedlings out in the spring just after the last average frost for an abundant summer harvest.
Natural: Full sun. Tolerates partial shade.
Artificial: Prefers fluorescent bulbs placed 6″ above the tops of plants. As this herb loves lots of light, provide at least 10 hours a day for optimum growth.
Soil: Prefers rich, loamy soil with lots of organic matter. A pH of 6.7 to 7.3 will keep plants healthy and nourished.
Soilless: Seeds will germinate in most soilless mixes but prefers perlite, vermiculite, and/or well-rotted manure.
Hydroponics: Will thrive in hydroponic systems such NFT. Savory doesn’t like wet feet, so monitor roots carefully if using this system.
Aeroponics: Will grow in an aeroponic system.
Water: Requires moderate amounts of water until the plant is established, around 6″ in height. Once it has reached maturity, it can be kept on the drier side.
Nutrients: A light feeder, savory does not require much nourishment. If desired, feed plants with an organic compost every 3 to 4 weeks to improve soil quality and growth.
Foliar: Unless you are growing your Summer Savory to harvest it for its essential oils, foliar spraying is not needed. If growing for oils, studies have shown that application of a foliar such as jasmonic acid can increase productivity.
Pruning: Once the plant has established itself and/or reached a desirable size, pinch off new shoots to help the plant send energy to the existing leaves.
Companions: Grows exceptionally well with most varieties of beans, onions, garlic, and sweet potatoes.
Harvest: Once plants have reached approximately 6″, harvest by clipping or pinching off branches as desired. At the end of the season, harvest the whole plant by cutting the main stem just above soil level.
Storage: Can be kept fresh in plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to a few weeks. Make sure the plant is dry before storing it.
Fun Fact: In ancient times, both the Egyptians and the Romans used savory as an aphrodisiac in many brews, stews, and potions. Whether or not it was effective, we cannot say, but there are still some sources today that insist it has the capability to restore happiness to the bedrooms of those who use it. Good to know!
Preserve: As is the case with many other herbs, Summer Savory dries quite well and keeps for long periods of time. To dry, hang the herb upside down in a well-ventilated area. Once the leaves have become crisp to the touch, strip them from the stems and store in a jar, container or bag for later use.
Prepare: Is most flavorful when added fresh to stews, soups, sauces, and stuffing. Because of its more mild and sweet flavor compared to its cousin, Winter Savory, it can also be added to salads, dips, or other dishes that don’t require cooking.
Nutritional: In addition to its pleasant flavor, Summer Savory also possesses exceptional nutritional qualities. It’s rich in dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin(s) B6, C, A, and numerous minerals such as calcium, iron, manganese, and magnesium.
Medicinal: It’s been used since ancient times to treat many maladies, from low sex drive to infections. In modern times, some studies have shown that it can be effective in alleviating sore throats and relieving mild indigestion. Some accounts have noted its ability to reduce the inflammation and sting of bug bites when applied topically.
For a delicious, fresh dish that will wow at your next barbeque, try this bean and summer savory salad.