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How to Grow Lovage

by on January 23, 2012

Chances are that you’ve never heard of lovage before. It isn’t one of the most popular herbs in the urban garden but we think it is awesome and we’re pretty confident that once you give it a shot, you will too.It’s been used for centuries  as a home remedy for stomach upset and as a digestive aid, but the best part is that lovage tastes good too.
AT A GLANCE: LOVAGE
Temp Range: 50 – 60 degrees F
Seed to Plate: 55 days
Light Needs: min. 4-6 hours of full sun, partial shade per day
How Much to Grow: 1 plant per household
Average Space Needs: 4-6 heads / 1 Square Foot
Water Needs: moist, well drained soil
Soil pH: slightly acid, 6.0 –6.5

If you have ever seen lovage you may have mistaken it for a rather large parsley plant. Its leaves are quite similar to that of flat leaf parsley. The flavor couldn’t be any more different. Think about a combination of a powerful celery flavor with a hint of anise. As you might imagine with those flavors, a little goes a long way but a little in soups, stews and many other dishes will make you wonder how to lived so long without lovage in your garden!

Growing Lovage

It is usually easiest to start lovage plants outdoors in late summer or early fall, but if you want to start it indoors, you can do it anytime. You need to know that the lovage plant is going to get big though, so be sure that you have enough indoor space to accommodate a plant that can get as large as 3-4 feet. With that size in mind, you can see why we only recommend one plant per household.

If you decide to transplant your lovage outside, be sure to have the area well-cultivated. Lovage grows a long and deep taproot and it needs well tilled soil to establish that much-needed strength.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Marguerite July 26, 2012 at 2:00 PM

My lovage plant was thriving. It is presently in full bloom with the stems to the height of 5′. The plant, however, is dying leaf by leaf. The are turning yellow and then just shriveling up and dying. I planted tomatoes around it. Is that the problem? I was hoping I would have it for several years since it is a perenniel. I live in the foothills of California in zone 9. It is in a raised bed. I fertilized with chicken manure. Do you think after the seed are ready to harvest I can just cut the plant back and it might rejuvenate? I have not much experience with it, only having it about a year and a half …it was very small when I bought it and it has been very happy ’til now. I take it the seed are edible also? I was thinking of substituting them for celery seed. Would that work? Thanks for your feedback. Marguerite

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Carol July 30, 2012 at 10:20 AM

Hi Marguerite,
I’ve never experienced that, but sometimes yellow leaves can indicate overwatering. I don’t think the tomatoes are a problem. I would try cutting back all of the unhealthy parts of the plant and see what happens. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

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Marguerite July 31, 2012 at 8:31 AM

Carol,
Thanks for taking the time to comment. I think you may be right about the water. When Spring rolled around I planted vegetables around it. With our 90 – 100 degree temperatures I flood about every third day. It probably doesn’t like wet feet. I think I will wait to harvest the seed, cut it back completely and relocate it to a spot with more shade and more drainage. I will let you know how things go.
Marguerite

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Cacophony February 17, 2013 at 7:06 AM

I’ve just ordered lovage seeds and am doing research on it now. I’ve read through my herbal books and many online links. From what I’ve read Marguerite’s climate may be at fault. Lovage needs the cold dormancy period of a winter. Growing it indoors will make it a smaller plant and growing it in warmer climates will do the same and it will be short lived. I’d think in California this might be the issue.

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