Native to southern Europe and used for centuries, 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.
Lovage was beloved during the Middle Ages and could be found in most kitchen gardens where it was cultivated for medicinal and culinary purposes. Today, the herb’s most popular usage is in soups, stews and salads. In England, an alcoholic lovage liqueur is traditionally mixed with brandy as a relaxing winter drink.
Fun fact: In the 12th century St. Hildegarde — known for visions and prophecies — recommended lovage for the relief of abdominal pains, coughs and heart problems.
Heirloom lovage can add depth to your savory meals. Planting instructions are included with each seed packet and shipping is FREE!
Quick Guide: Planting, Growing & Harvesting Lovage
- 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
Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 85-95 days from seed
Height: 4 to 6 feet
Spacing: 2 to 3 feet apart
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.
Harvesting and Storage
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 How to Dry Herbs — video).
Insect & Disease Problems
Insects and disease are not typically a problem.
Seed Saving Instructions
Plants produce huge heads of seeds. Allow them to dry; remove and collect. Seed heads may also be bagged to capture ripening seed.
Savvy growers know redworm castings to be rich in nutrients and beneficial microbes.$27.95Read more
Plant Success (3-1-2)
A mixture of beneficial fungi that are well suited to a wide variety of soils and plants.$19.95Read more
Contains NO GMOs, pathogens, growth hormones, or synthetic anything!$19.95Read more