Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 85-95 days from seed
Height: 4 to 6 feet
Spacing: 24 to 36 inches apart, 3 to 5 feet between rows
Native to southern Europe, growing lovage (Levisticum officinale) is easy! The leaves, stems, roots and seeds of this old-time herb are all edible and taste a lot like celery, but stronger. Perennial plants are large — up to 7 feet tall — and very hardy, no trouble to maintain.
Beloved during the Middle Ages, lovage could be found in almost every kitchen garden where it was cultivated for medicinal and culinary purposes. Today, the herb’s most popular usage is in soups, stews and salads, similar to celery. Lovage may also be useful for relieving abdominal pains due to gastrointestinal gas when consumed as a tea.
Flavorful and exotic, heirloom herbs have passed through kitchens and tea rooms for generations. And they’re easy to cultivate… try raising them indoors! Planting instructions are included with each packet and shipping is FREE!
- Huge perennial plant grown for leaves, stems, roots and seeds
- Adds a celery flavor to salads, soups and stews; teas are made from the leaves
- Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before planting outdoors after frost danger has passed
- Needs full sun to light shade and rich soil, well-watered soil with plenty of added organic matter
- No problems with pests or diseases
Lovage prefers full sun to light shade and a rich, moisture-laden, organic soil. Before you plant, consider how much space can be devoted to growing this attractive herb. Mature plants will reach 4 to 7 feet tall, which makes it the perfect backdrop for any garden. Grows well in large containers, too! Read our article How to Start an Herb Garden for more information.
Note: In mid-summer, the greenish-yellow flowers of lovage attracts a large number of beneficial insects and pollinators.
How to Plant
Lovage grows well from seed. Start indoors 6-8 weeks before planting outside. Sow 1/4 inch deep. Seeds will germinate in 10-20 days. Transplant after the danger of frost has passed and apply an all-purpose organic fertilizer to promote healthy growth.
Lovage may be harvested after the first growing season. As with most culinary herbs, cut in the morning after the dew has dried. Do not wash the leaves or aromatic oils will be lost. Lovage is best used fresh but can be stored frozen in plastic bags or dried. To dry, tie the cuttings in small bunches and hang upside down in a well-ventilated, dark room (watch — video).
Insects and Disease
Insects and disease are not typically a problem.
Seed Saving Instructions
Lovage produces huge heads of seed. Allow them to dry on plants; remove and collect. Seed heads may also be bagged to capture ripening seed.
Gardeners know earthworm castings to be rich in nutrients and beneficial microbes.
Plant Success (3-1-2)
A mixture of beneficial fungi that are well suited to a wide variety of soils and plants.
Adds a crisp, spicy flavor to soups, stews and salads and is sometimes used in teas.