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August 2011
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Satureja Multiflora – Also known as Chilean Shrub Mint

Images of this plant on Google Search (link)

This is a herbaceous plant and a shrub. These shrubs bear flowers that are red in color and can grow up to a height of 1.5 meters. These shrubs grow in humid areas where there is constant rainfall generally. They need good amount of sun and some shadow. The plant grows in USDA Hardiness Zone 9. This plant cannot tolerate snow. A temperature of about – 5° C is considerable for this herb.
The flowers are pinkish violet in color. They are small and grow in bunches. The flowers are hermaphrodite in nature. The fruit is schizocarp. These plants are native of Southern Europe. These species are called savories. Winter savory and Summer savory are among the thirty of the known species and most important. They are herbs and low growing in heights, being sub shrubs. 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. Fricot is one traditional stew which uses this seasoning as a must. The other dishes that use this herb are Sarmale, Yerba Buena etc. (Yerba Buena is an herbal tea. It is used as a Diaphoretic and a febrifuge.)
These plants needs full sun to partial shade and well drained soil. 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 mexicana:
• These plants needs full sun to partial shade and well drained soil. It needs a hardy zone of 9.
• 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.

Caring for Satureja mexicana:

• Proper watering is required to avoid drying of soil.
• 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.

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