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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Savory (winter)

Other Common Names Include:

White thyme, Spanish savory

Latin Name: Satureja montana

Plant Family: Lamiaceae

Close Relatives: Mint, oregano, thyme, rosemary, summer savory

Uses and Markets: Culinary (e.g. flavouring meat and bean dishes, soups and stews); Essential Oil (e.g. perfumes, food processing)

Winter savoryWinter savory beginning to flower
Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone


Special Notes

Winter savory is sometimes considered inferior in flavour to summer savory, but hardier and able to withstand more cooking.

Propagation method

Most commonly by transplants from seeds, stem cuttings or root division. Plants should be divided and moved to a new field every 2 to 3 years.

Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates

February to April

Field Seeding Date:


Field Transplanting Dates

April-May (division); May-June (transplants).

In-row spacing

40-60 cm

Between row spacing

80-120 cm

Optimal Soil temperature at planting



No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions. No research has been found on the nitrogen requirements of winter savory, but excessive nitrogen should be avoided. Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

Sandy or sandy loam, well-drained.

Soil pH


Special requirements for growth habit


Optimal Temperature Range


Temperature sensitivity

Freeze tolerant.

Irrigation requirements

Irrigation usually not required.

Days to harvest

For dried savory or essential oil production, a light harvest can occur just before flowering the first year, with subsequent harvests annually at the same time or year. Fresh herb can be harvested throughout the summer.

Specialized equipment:


Harvest Scheduling

Multiple harvests from the same planting (fresh herb); Single harvest annually (dried herb or essential oil).

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Hand harvest (fresh herb); machine harvest (modified forage harvester – dried herb and essential oil).

Quality parameters/grades

No established grades; Quality is determined by the market.

Additional Harvest Notes

Optimal quality occurs at or just before flowering, but savory for fresh use can be harvested at any time of year. For fresh use, harvest during cooler parts of the day to reduce moisture loss and cooling costs. Remove field heat as soon as possible after harvest.

Post harvest
Special handling/


Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH): >95% (fresh herb)

Temperature: 0°C (fresh herb)

Duration: 2-3 weeks (fresh herb)

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates: Four-lined plant bug, leafhoppers, leaf rollers, spittle bugs

Diseases: None

Other Potential Pests:The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates: Spider mites, aphids

Diseases: None

*Indicates pests commonly mentioned as causing significant damage or economic loss to this crop in other regions. 


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario: four-lined plant bug. This crop is in Crop Group 19: Herb and Spice Crop Group and subgroup 19A: Herb Subgroup. This crop group is being revised and may change in the near future. For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section.  Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product.  For more information, consult an OMAFRA specialist. For pest control products registered on this crop refer to OMAFRA Publication 838.

Four-lined plant bug damage to winter savoryA leaf roller at the tip of a winter savory branchWhite speckling damage caused by leafhoppers on winter savoryA spittle bug on winter savorySpittle bugs are the nymphs of froghoppers
Additional Notes


Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1. McKeown, A.W., C.J. Bakker and J. Schooley. 1998-2002. Herb Demonstration Garden, University of Guelph Simcoe Research Station, unpublished.
  2. Westerveld, S., Elford, E., Filotas, M. and J. Todd. 2010-present. OMAFRA herb demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  1. McVicar, J. 1997. Jekka’s complete herb book. Raincoast Books, Vancouver.
  2. Small, E. 2006. Culinary herbs, 2nd Edition. NRC Research Press, Ottawa.