How to Grow Summer Savory: A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide

Summer Savory (Satureja hortensis). Summer savory is grown for its spicy-tasting leaves that lend themselves to meat and bean dishes. It is one of the most popular herbs in Eastern Canada. Summer savory forms a mound-shaped plant about 35 centimetres tall with small greyish-green leaves. Summer savory has a more delicate flavour than winter savory (Satureja montana), described in a separate entry.

Cultivation: Summer savory can be started from seeds sown directly in the garden after danger of frost has passed or started earlier indoors and transplanted into a sunny spot when temperatures are warm enough. Summer savory prefers fertile, well-drained soil. Occasional feeding with an all-purpose fertilizer will keep it productive. Summer savory will bolt (flower prematurely) if allowed to dry out, so keep it well watered. Frequent harvesting of young leaf tips will keep the plant bushy and delay flowering. Summer savory will not survive the typical Toronto winter, but container-grown plants can be overwintered indoors in a sunny location.

From mid-summer through to frost, summer savory has small violet or pink flowers that are attractive to bees. It can be grown as an ornamental in a mixed bed or planter.

Harvest the leaves any time but they are best just before flowering. Summer savory is typically used fresh, but it can be dried.

Disclaimer: Toronto Master Gardeners does not advise or recommend herbs for medicinal or health use. Any information in the recommended resources should be regarded as being for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a recommendation or an endorsement of any medical or health treatment.

For more information:

Cornell University Home Gardening http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/homegardening/scene0e45.html

Herb Society of America Essential Guide to Savory https://www.herbsociety.org/file_download/inline/01ceb540-a740-4aa5-98e7-0c40b1f36c21

Masterclass https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-savory-herb-learn-about-winter-and-summer-savory-with-4-recipe-ideas#what-is-savory

OMAFRA http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/CropOp/en/herbs/culinary/ssav.html

Richters Herbs https://www.richters.com/Web_store/web_store.cgi?product=X5290&show=all&prodclass=&cart_id=9721811.20382

RHS Grow your own herbs https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/grow-your-own/herbs/savory

University of Illinois Extension https://web.extension.illinois.edu/herbs/savory-summer.cfm

Date revised: December 2021

Prepared by the Toronto Master Gardeners, these Gardening Guides provide introductory information on a variety of gardening topics.  Toronto Master Gardeners are part of a large, international volunteer community committed to providing the public with horticultural information, education and inspiration.  Our goal is to help Toronto residents use safe, effective, proven and sustainable horticultural practices to create gardens, landscapes and communities that are both vibrant and healthy.

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