Lovage has been used since the time of the ancient Greeks as a remedy for stomach upsets, and to aid digestion. As herbs go, this is a massive plant, so you may only want one or two for your home garden. Follow this handy How to Grow Lovage from seeds guide. The leaves of lovage can part a wonderful meaty flavour to vegetable soups, stews and stocks.

Levisticum officinale
Family: Apiaceae


Season & Zone
Season: Warm season
Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
Zone: Hardy to Zone 4

Start indoors in spring or direct sow in the fall. If starting indoors, try to maintain a soil temperature of 15°C (60°F). Once seedlings are big enough to handle, harden them off before transplanting to the garden.

Sow seeds 5mm (¼”) deep, three or four seeds per pot, and thin to the strongest seedling. Germination takes 10-14 days. Keep soil moist until they are established, and transplant out at least 60cm (24″) apart.

Choose the site for your lovage with care, as they are long lived perennials, and they grow tall. They will tolerate partial shade to full sun. Lovage develops a long taproot, so cultivate the bed deeply, and add well rotted manure. Consider grouping lovage together with other perennial food plants like asparagus and rhubarb in a permanent bed. Allow for a spread of at least 1m (3′).

The leaves of lovage can part a wonderful meaty flavour to vegetable soups, stews and stocks. After the herb has flowered, the leaves develop a bitter taste, so it is best harvested in early summer. The fresh leaves can be frozen in ice cubes for winter use. Chop the leaves finely and distribute them in ice cube trays, then cover with water. When the cubes are frozen, put them in zip-top bags.

The sap of lovage can cause skin irritation, so wear long sleeves and gloves when cutting the plant back in autumn.