Satureja montana - October 2019 Plant of the Month
Winter Savoury (Satureja montana) is an indestructible, garden-worthy, perennial herb. It is a small spreading shrub which has pretty white flowers in the late Autumn. At Growing Friends we grow Satureja montana and Satureja montana ‘Procumbens’. Satureja montana is more upright, has small white flowers along the stems at the leaf axils and small dark green oval leaves. Satureja montana ‘Procumbens’ is very similar, with coarser and lighter green leaves, larger flowers, and a low more spreading habit. Saturejas are related to thyme and rosemary, and can be used in their stead, sparingly, as they have a strong peppery flavour. They are mostly used in hearty Winter dishes - cassoulet, bean dishes, stews, roasted meats, and tomatoes.
First described in Carl Linnaeus’ book ‘Species Plantarum’, Saturejas are native to warm temperate regions of Southern Europe, The Mediterranean, Africa, Middle East and Central Asia. They all grow well in walls, dry banks, rocks, hillsides, and rocky mountain slopes, preferring alkaline soils in a sunny well drained position. All Saturejas can be propagated by seeds, cuttings and layering. Both Saturejas are dormant in Winter, but will grow back from the woody stems. They are companion plants for beans - said to discourage bean weevils, and with roses, said to reduce mildew and aphids. Before Dettol, an infusion of Satureja leaves was used as an antiseptic, to calm one, as a digestive, an expectorant, for bee stings and insect bites, as well, a poultice of the leaves was used for sore throats!
Thank you to Pam Smith from the Growing Friends for words and images.