Winter savory (*satureja montana*) is an evergreen perennial herb that is often used as a seasoning in cooking. Winter savory has dark green leaves with small spiky white flowers and looks similar to oregano. The dried herb leaves have a mild peppery flavor with notes of marjoram and mint. Winter savory is typically used as a garnish or spice in meat or bean dishes. It can also be used to cut the odor of strong-smelling vegetables such as cabbage when boiling. It can survive temperatures as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit and is an easy herb to grow in your own home garden.\nWinter savory is a cold-hardy plant that can survive cold temperatures down to ten degrees Fahrenheit. Winter savory thrives in USDA hardiness zones 6–9 and prefers full sun. You can plant winter savory after the last frost of spring has reliably passed, and it will continue to grow throughout the year. It will go dormant in the winter temperatures below 10 degrees Fahrenheit and will start growing again when the temperatures return to normal.\nWinter savory can be grown from seed or from cuttings, but [propagating](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-propagate-plants) them is fairly simple. Start with a root cutting of four to six inches long, cut away the bottom two inches of leaves, and plant it in a container filled with potting mix during the summer. Once the cutting has established its own root system, transfer it to your herb garden. Planting winter savory from a seed is a little more involved.\n\n1. __Germinate your seeds__. You can buy winter savory seeds from any plant care store or nursery. Once you have them, you will need to germinate them to kick-start the growing process. Sow seeds indoors in a small plastic tray filled with seed-starting mix. Start the germination process roughly six to eight weeks before the last frost to prepare for planting in early spring. They should start to sprout in ten to 14 days.\n2. __Choose your location__. Winter savory grows best in full sun, so you want to choose a planting spot in your garden that gets six or more hours of sunlight throughout the day. If temperatures drop below ten degrees Fahrenheit in winter, you can cover your plant with mulch and remove the soil when temperatures are back to normal. \n3. __Prepare your soil__. Winter savory prefers well-draining soil with a neutral pH between six and eight. Loosen the earth where you’ll be planting your herbs to allow for good drainage and add mulch or organic fertilizer to enrich your soil. \n4. __Plant your seedlings__. In early spring after the last frost has passed, transfer your germinated seedlings into your herb garden. Sow your seedlings 1/4 inch deep in soil, spacing them 12 to 18 inches apart if you’re planting multiple seeds. Water them immediately. Winter savory grows well with thyme, sage, hyssop, and lavender if you’re planting multiple plants in the same bed.\nOnce your seeds are planted, it will take around 90 days for your savory to mature. Here is an overview of how to care for your winter savory while it’s growing. \n\n1. __Water your savory regularly__. Your winter savory will need to be watered multiple times a week when it is being established. Keep an eye on your soil to ensure it doesn't dry out. If it is dry, water the soil. Once your plant has reached maturity, your soil can be kept on the dry side and you can scale back your watering regimen. \n2. __Prune your winter savory__. You should regularly prune your winter savory to encourage new growth. Trim back fully-grown plants a few inches tall every spring. Deadhead your bushes to get rid of stalks that are no longer growing or look unhealthy. \n3. __Cover your savory if it gets too cold__. In the winter months, cover the soil in a mulch of dried leaves or straw to protect your winter savory's root system from the frost.\n4. __Consider container-growing if you live in a very cold climate__. Winter savory can be grown in containers or large pots in the same way that you plant them in the garden. It can survive outdoors throughout winter, as long as the temperatures remain above 10 degrees Fahrenheit. \n5. __Protect your companion plants from pests__. Winter savory can be used to ward off pests from companion plants because it is immune to most diseases and pest problems. Planting winter savory plants near roses will help deter aphids, and planting it next to beans will deter pests such as bean weevils.\nOnce your winter savory is fully grown, you can harvest the leaves for cooking. Here is an overview of how to harvest your winter savory leaves for cooking.\n\n1. __Harvest just before the flower buds open__. You can harvest winter savory year-round. Keep an eye on the leaves and flowers. When the flower buds are just about to open, your savory is ready to harvest. \n2. __Cut your winter savory__. Trim the fresh woody stems of your winter savory from your bushes using clean garden pruners or scissors. If you’re drying your leaves, you can cut an entire stem. If you’re using fresh leaves, cut sections that are one to two inches long. \n3. __Dry your leaves to use them as herbs__. To dry your winter savory leaves, strip the leaves from their woody stems and lay them on a sheet of parchment paper. Keep your leaves in a cool dry place or in the refrigerator. You can also dry your leaves in a hanging mesh bag. \n4. __Store your savory leaves__. Fresh leaves should be harvested as needed so there is no need to store them. Dried leaves should be stored in an air-tight container or bag.\nGrow your own garden with Ron Finley, the self-described "Gangster Gardener." Get the [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com/) and learn how to cultivate fresh herbs and vegetables, keep your house plants alive, and use compost to make your community - and the world - a better place.\nWinter savory is an evergreen perennial herb used in cooking, as well as a pest deterrent for other neighboring plants.