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June 2011
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Satureja acinos – Acinos arvensis – also known as Basil thyme and belongs to the genus Acinos

Acinos Arvensis is both an annual and a perennial that can grow up to a height of 8 inches and wide spread about 12 inches. It is also known as Basil Thyme and belongs to the genus Acinos. It is a European mint that is a native of eastern North America. The flowers are in clusters and violet and white in color. The other names are Basil Balm, Mother of Thyme etc. It is an herb that has medicinal properties and has no woody stems. The flowers are hermaphrodite in nature. These plants attract bees and are pollinated by them. They flower from July to August and seeds ripen from August to September.
Their leaves are in 1-3cm of length and bear flowers that form whorls on stems. The flowers are white to pale pink-violet. They attract larva of Lepidoptera that is butterflies and moths. Coleophora bifrondella moth and caterpillars feed on these plants especially on Winter savories. They can be used as ornamental plants.
These plants are basically used for flavoring the food. Winter savories are evergreen perennials and so always available unlike summer savories which are available only in summer. The leaves are either used dried or not dried in Italian cuisine and in mostly cooking beans and making teas. It is used as a Diaphoretic, Diuretic, and Odontalgic, Rube facient, Stomachic and a febrifuge.
These plants need full and strong sunlight to partial shade and well drained soil. It needs a hardy zone of 4. The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and needs dry to moist soil.

Growing conditions of Satureja acinos:

• These plants needs full sun and well drained soil. It needs a hardy zone of 4.
• The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils.
• This plant needs dry to moist soil.

As a perennial,
• Sow the savory outdoors every four weeks.
• The seeds should be sown on the soil surface from just after the last frost.
• Sow the seeds on the surface at the end of the spring.
• They need to be spaced at about 15cm apart.

As an annual,
• Sow the seeds indoors in pots about a month.
• Then transplant them outside after the frost of the spring.
• The seed germination needs about two week at 15-20 degrees centigrade.

Growing from divided plants
• The divided plants should be grown about 25 to 30cm apart.
• They need to be planted outdoors after planting indoors for about 7-8 weeks.
• Transplant them outdoors in late spring.

Caring for Satureja acinos

• Proper watering is required to avoid drying of soil.
• This plant dislikes shade.
• If grown indoors, six hours of sunlight is a must for the plant.
• Water only when the soil gets dried out, instead of watering regularly.
• Pinch of the tips of the young plant to ensure bushiness.
• The wood that is dead of the plant should be removed for new growth.
• Dividing plants every three years encourages new growth and vigor.
• Divide the plant in spring or in autumn.
• If stem cuttings are done for propagation, the best time is spring.

Images of the plant ‘Basil Thyme’ on Google Search (link)

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