Potted Lovage Care: How To Grow Lovage In A Pot

Potted Lovage Care: How To Grow Lovage In A Pot

When you think about herbs, many instantly come to mind such as rosemary, thyme, and basil. But lovage? Not so much. And I don’t understand why, really. I mean, what’s not to love about lovage? Yes, it was beloved in medieval times, but there’s nothing medieval about it! The roots, seeds, and leaves are all edible. The leaves have a strong celery taste and, when used in moderation, give you some great culinary options in soups, stews, salad dressings, and more in their fresh or dried form. It’s even easier to grow than celery.

All of my other herbs are grown in pots, but can you grow lovage in pots too? Let’s learn more about how to grow lovage in a pot.

Potted Lovage Plants

Lovage is not easily found at your grocery store in the fresh herb section or the spice rack, which makes it a worthwhile venture in the garden. And the stalk of this aromatic herb can be used as a straw in your favorite cocktail – I’ve heard that a pairing with Bloody Mary is pretty awesome. These all sound like great reasons to grow lovage, especially that last one. Let’s try it, shall we?!

So how can you grow lovage in pots? It turns out that growing lovage in a container is relatively easy! This herb, which looks similar to parsley, is a tough long-lived perennial. Hardy to zone 3, potted lovage plants require a large, deep, well-draining pot, at least 12 inches (30.5 cm.) wide and 10 inches (25 cm.) deep, due to the development of a rather large, vigorous root system.

Lovage can be grown from seed or plants, but growing from plants is said to be much easier. If you do decide to go the seed route, then here are some seed sowing tips.

Seeds sown should be ¼ inch (just under a cm.) deep with germination expected in 10-20 days. Fresh seeds are recommended for better germination rates. The cultivation of seed sown lovage typically starts happening in the second growing season, as it takes a complete summer or nearly a year for the plant to reach a good usable size.

A rich, well-draining, sandy loam soil is most ideal for potted lovage plants and the container should be placed in a location that receives full sun or partial shade. Keep the soil in the container consistently moist – do not overwater and try not to let it dry out during its growing season. Feed container grown lovage monthly with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer.

Caring for Container Grown Lovage

Lovage can grow several feet (1 to 2 m.) tall. When growing lovage in a container, I would not foresee it reaching the same height as an in-ground planting (which is up to 6 feet, or nearly 2 meters); however, it will probably still be a sizeable plant if you let it be. For container grown lovage, you may want to contain the height and encourage a bushy growth pattern by keeping it well clipped, harvesting your lovage frequently, and being sure to cut off the flower stalks as they appear.

Cutting the flower stalks as directed will also keep the lovage leaves from getting too bitter. However, if you’re into lovage for purely aesthetic reasons versus culinary, then you would be interested to know that the flowers are chartreuse (greenish yellow). The flower stalk will eventually produce huge heads of seeds which, if you’re interested in harvesting viable seeds, should be left on the lovage plant until the seed stalk has ripened and turned brown, then collected and further dried in a warm ventilated location.

By late autumn you will observe die back in the plant’s stems, which means the lovage is going dormant for the winter. Cut the dead stems off and store the pot in a protected, cool place, such as a basement or garage, until spring.

Repot with fresh soil in the spring, resume watering and fertilizing, and soon it will re-sprout and you will once again be blessed with fresh leaves. To keep the plant vigorous and to contain its size, you will want to divide the root ball every 3-4 years.

How to Grow Lovage

Mark Macdonald | September 09, 2014

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 from zone 3 and up

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, adding well rotted manure as you do. 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 gain a bitter taste, so it is best harvested in early Summer and frozen as you would parsley. Chop the leaves finely and distribute them in ice cube trays, then cover with water. When the cubes are frozen, put them in ziplock bags.

Chopping back a big plant may expose you to the sap, which can burn skin.

Lovage Growing Conditions:


Lovage is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8.

Light Requirements

Grow lovage in full sun to part shade. It’s one of the most shade tolerant herbs.


Lovage will grow best in rich loamy soil that retains moisture well. Prep the herbal bed by adding compost before planting.


Keep the soil evenly moist. Add mulch to help conserve moisture.


Give lovage a growth boost by feeding with compost tea a few times throughout the growing season.

Companion Plants

Lovage makes nice with most other garden denizens and is often used to improve the flavor of other nearby plants. Try growing lovage alongside tubers like potatoes, yams, taro, or artichokes.

How to Grow Lovage | Guide to Growing Lovage

Binomial Name: Levisticum officinale

Also known as love parsley, Lovage is a hardy perennial herb has an odor and taste that are often compared to parsley and celery. Nearly every part of this plant has found some culinary application over the centuries. The leafstalks are most commonly is the stalk which is often used interchangeably for celery. Additionally, the leaves can be added to soups, stews and other vegetable dishes while the root is sometimes grated and added to salads, icings, syrups and other concoctions. Lovage is also noted for its high content of quercetin, a plant flavanoid believed to have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Growing Guide
Lovage will grow to nearly 6' tall and yield copious quantities of flavorful, compound-type leaves.

Lovage can be direct sown in late fall in zones with a long growing season, or started indoors or in a greenhouse approximately 6 weeks prior to the final frost of the spring. Sow approximately 1/2" beneath the surface of the soil. Keep well moistened, and moderate water slightly once starts begin to break through surface of soil.

Lovage prefers partial or filtered shade, and fertile, well-drained soil that is rich in compost and nutrients. Keep soil moist.

Tranplant outdoors once plant has reached a height of approximately 3-4" tall and shows its first set of true leaves.

Heirloom seeds are the gardeners choice for seed-saving from year-to-year. Learning to save seeds is easy and fun with these books. Before you harvest, consider which varieties you might want to save seeds from so that your harvesting practice includes plants chosen for seed saving. Be sure to check out our newest seed packs, available now from Heirloom Organics. The Super Food Garden is the most nutrient dense garden you can build and everything you need is right here in one pack. The Genesis Garden s a very popular Bible Garden collection. The Three Sisters Garden was the first example of companion planting in Native American culture. See all of our brand-new seed pack offerings in our store.

Harvesting Guide
The leaves can be collected any time during the growing season with a snip. For best results, collect in mid morning once the dew has dissipated and before the intensity of the midday sun has

The seeds can be harvested late in the summer or early fall, once they have ripened and are completely dry. Dry seed head can be brittle, so collect over a bowl, basket, bag or other container to collect all seeds. Winnow through a fan or over a screen to separate seeds from chaff. Seeds can be collected in same manner as with harvesting. Store in a sealed container in a dry, cool location out of direct sunlight for optimum life.

Watch the video: LOVAGE-- levisticum officinale IN THE GARDEN AND DISCUSSION