This woody little evergreen perennial is easy to grow. It has small dark green acute pointed leaves on many stiff upright stems growing to about two feet in height. In summer it produces a multitude of small white or lavender flowers from July until October. The whole plant is very aromatic and makes an attractive border plant. It can be pruned to form a hedge or any shape you like. It can be grown in containers and makes an attractive plant for the deck or patio.
It needs at least six hours of sunlight a day and does not do well in shade. It also needs well drained soil and is fairly drought tolerant, too much moisture will kill it.
Once established it needs little care and can be pruned for culinary or medicinal use. Some sources say that cuttings should be taken to replace plants every 3-4 years, but if plants are pruned well they can last longer. The plant is best cut before flowering for culinary use but leaves can be removed at any time during the summer months. If large quantities are needed cut stems to within 4-5 inches from the ground just before flowering. The new shoots will grow up and can be cut in turn.
Winter savory has a strong spicy flavor reminiscent of marjoram. It gives a very interesting and appetizing flavor to soups and stews and meatloaf. It's best known for use with beans, peas and lentils. It can be used to flavor vinegars, herb butters, bean dishes, creamy soups, and tea as well as in liqueurs.
Many claim that winter savory is inferior to it's counterpart Summer Savory (Satureja hortensis). The flavor of winter savory is stronger and more potent and not as sweet as the summer variety, which is an annual plant. For many gardeners however growing the annual every year is far more time consuming than having the perennial continuously on hand making it far more convenient and less work.
Medicinally winter savory is said to benefit the digestive system. It is claimed to be an excellent remedy for colic and a cure for flatulence whilst it is also used to treat gastro-enteritis, cystitis, nausea, diarrhoea, bronchial congestion, sore throat and menstrual disorders. It is also reported as being excellent for bee and wasp stings if a fresh sprig is rubbed onto the area. Essential oils from the plant are used to stimulate the scalp and treat incipient baldness whilst an ointment is used externally to relieve arthritic joints.
Zones: 5-8 although there are some claims to be hardy only to zone 6.
Other Common Names: Ajedrea, Ajedrea Fina, Bean Herb, Sariette, White Thyme, Winter Savory, Winter Savoury