Lovage is a perennial herb with celery-like leaves and yellow flowers. The leaves are used in salads and soups, and the seeds are substituted for fennel or celery seeds.
Lovage originates in the mountainous regions of Italy, Greece, and France. Its name comes from ancient people's belief in its aphrodisiac power and a small town in Italy whеre it is believed to have been first cultivated before the first century AD. Lovage is multifunctional, and all its parts have been used to make liquors and liqueurs. This herb helps improve digestion, fever, and sore throat in traditional medicine. Externally Lovage is very similar to poison hemlock and should be carefully identified before being used for culinary purposes.
How to Grow Lovage from seeds:Sowing: When planting indoors, plant seeds 1/4 inch deep in a flat surface 6-8 weeks before last spring's frost. On average, seedlings germinate within 10-14 days. Provide constant watering with a spray bottle and keep the temperature low for good growth. Transplant seedlings outdoors when frost is no longer likely, by planting them 2 to 3 feet apart in rich sоil and full sun or partial shade. Lovage can be sown directly in autumn for early spring growth.
Growing of Lovage: Lovage prefers moist soil, so keep them well watered and control weeds. This perennial plant tolerates cold well, but you should apply a layer of mulch in freezing winters. To prevent self-seeding, cut off the flowering heads before they are ripe. Then, trim stems to encourage new leaves to grow. After several years of growth, the Lovage must be dug up and divided.
How and When to Harvest Lovage: Harvest when the plant reaches 12" tall as needed. Start with the outer stems; use them fresh or frozen. Harvest the edible roots in the spring or fall after the plant has established itself and nеeds to be divided. Wash the roots, cut them into 1/2" pieces, and lay them out to dry for several weeks. Seeds that taste similar to celery seeds can be harvested as soon as the seed heads begin to dry and form mature seeds. Store seeds in an airtight container.
Lovage's Seed Saving: Once the flowering seed heads have dried and mature seeds have developed, you should lay them out to dry out of direct sunlight. Then thresh them and store them in a cool, dry place. For best germination, use seeds as soon as possible.
FAST FACTSLatin Name: Levisticum officinale
Species Origin: Mediterranean, Europe, Southwest Asia
Type: Open Pollinated, Heirloom, Cool Season
Life Cycle: Perennial
USDA Zоnes: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Seeds per Ounce: 10,000
Planting Method: From Transplant
Sunlight: Full Sun, Part Sun
Height: 60 Inches
Color: White, Cream
Bloom Season: Blooms Early Summer, Blooms Late Summer