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Growing Lovage

Updated on May 1, 2011
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Lovage, (Levisticum officinale)

Though not highly sought out amongst the majority of American cooks, Lovage is a staple in some European countries. This hardy perennial is easy to grow; withstanding severe winter conditions and offers a strong sweet celery aroma and flavor. Lovage is commonly used to flavor stews, soup, poultry and vegetable dishes.

Growing Lovage

Lovage is very easy to grow and can be propagated by either root division or by seed.  Be sure to use fresh seed.  Lovage seed does not store well, the older the seed the lesser the germination rate.   Lovage will take about 8 to 9 weeks before it should be transplanted to outdoor beds.  Once the plant has reached a couple of inches it is recommend to transplant them in to larger containers, preferably no less than 4 inch container.  When your Lovage plant reaches about 4 inches or so it is time to transplant them to beds.

Lovage is a heavy feeder, so be sure to prep your beds with composted manure and choose a location that receives plenty of sun or partial shade.  Lovage grows to be very tall, so it would be wise to plant it on the north side of the garden so that it does not shade out other plants, and spacing between plants should be about 36 inches apart.  During the first year Lovage will only grow to be about 1 foot, but by the second year it will reach nearly 6 feet tall.

Harvesting Lovage

Lovage should always be used fresh.  It seems to lose its flavor when dried.  During midsummer the plant will produce long flowering stalks.  These stalks should be cut back to produce more leaves.  By the third year it is recommend dividing roots allowing the plant to grow more vigorous.  To harvest Lovage you need to cut the side branches off the main stem or from the crown.  If the stems are long bunching is easier.  A bunch size is typically 1 to 1 ½ inches in diameter at the rubber band.

If you enjoy growing and cooking with herbs and have not experimenting with Lovage yet- give it a grow!  This is a very easy herb to grow and harvest, and brings that extra flavor to the table.

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      molly 5 years ago

      I have been trying to grow lovage for 2 years and I've never been successful! I feel like a failure because I keep reading "its so easy to grow." First it went yellow when i kept it outside (a pot that my prof. had given me). The next time I tried to grow it inside and then it was murdered by aphids and finally mold (I over watered - I was watering to knock the aphids off). Now I bought a plant from a nursery about a month ago and it's stagnant - not growing and the ouuter leaves are yellow. I guess its under fed? I threw clover seed all around the bed for some nitrogen - maybe i'll side dress it with steer compost...

    • rpalulis profile image
      Author

      rpalulis 7 years ago from NY

      Pamela- thanks and yes I do have a big garden, slowly getting into the farming business.

      Bethany, Thanks for reading this hub I am always glad to share new things that I am growing like lovage, so glad you found this interesting as well.

      Chatkath, So glad to have introduced to you this wonderful herb Lovage. Thanks for the read.

      RTalloni, I too am looking forward to experimenting with Lovage in the kitchen, thanks for stopping by.

    • Susan Miles profile image

      Susan Miles 7 years ago

      Very informative article. I'm new to lovage and intrigued. Always looking for new spices and tastes. Can lovage be used in a salad? Voted up.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

      Am not familiar with lovage so thanks for the info. The foliage is beautiful. I'll have to read about how to cook with it.

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 7 years ago from California

      Thanks again for providing something new that I can learn about RP! I don't think I know much at all about lovage! Not until now anyway!

    • profile image

      Bethany Culpepper 7 years ago

      Interesting - I've never heard of it. Sounds like something I need to try. Thanks for introducing us to something new.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      This is new to me also. You must have a huge garden or maybe you are in the farming business as you seem to know how to grow everything. Rated up.

    • rpalulis profile image
      Author

      rpalulis 7 years ago from NY

      Thanks Sunnie! I too am always looking to expand my garden with healthy plants such as this wonderful herb lovage. Thanks for stopping by, take care- Rob.

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 7 years ago

      Good Morning Rob,

      I had not heard of this green before..very useful hub. Thank you..Always looking for something else to plant that is green and hearty in Texas. Thanks so much.

      Sunnie

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