Introduction on how to grow lovage in the garden
Lovage or Levisticum officinale is a perennial. It’s a native in southern Europe.
The taste and smell make you think about celery but it’s so much stronger.
The plant is quite a big plant and can grow up to 4 feet from the third year. So looking for a good spot where the plant can grow to its full potential, is the first point if you want to plant out a lovage plant.
Did you know that the ladybird likes to hibernate between the standing stalks of the lovage plant?
Where to grow lovage?
Lovage loves the sun so a spot where the plant gets at least 6 hours of full sun is preferred although the plant will survive with more shadow.
Make sure the plant stands in a well-draining soil as lovage doesn’t like its feet to stand wet. This doesn’t mean you can’t plant lovage if you don’t have sandy soil. The plant will just do better in a good draining soil.
A ph-value between 6 and 7 is best for the Levisticum plant.
When to grow lovage?
Although the part above ground will die off in winter, the plant is still hardy to zone 4 so it can take a lot of frost.
Talking about frost, when you first plant out the plant in spring, wait until the temperature has risen above 15°C or 59°F because the young plants are still really tender and could die off due to late frost.
Once the plant has settled, there won’t be any problem anymore.
If you start your plants from seed, just sow in small pots on top of the soil and cover with a little bit of sand. Don’t top water as this would flush away the sand.
Start the seedlings about 5 to 6 weeks before frost so they can grow out to small plants before you plant them out.
Germination takes about 2 weeks. If you have a fully grown plant flowering and you want to have seeds, wait until the seeds turn brown before you take them off the plant.
It’s well known that lovage seeds don’t stay viable for several years, already after the first year, they lose a lot of their vigor.
Transplanting or planting lovage
Transplanting lovage or planting out a lovage plant, is as easy as making a small hole and putting the plant in it.
If the plant is hardened off, there should be no problem, planting the plant outside. Because the plant doesn’t have any problem with handling the roots, it will grow without a problem.
Even if you’re quite hard with the plants, pulling them out of the pots, there will be no problem, the only thing you could see, is the plant being stunted for a while until the roots have regrown.
Maybe you don’t know, but it’s also possible to split up the roots of bigger plants. That way, you can have two plants out of one. Don’t do this with plants of less than 2 years old. Every three years it is most certainly possible to slice the roots from the plants.
Harvesting lovage is really easy, just take scissors and cut off a number of leaves you need. Or just break off a stalk and use it as celery. Just know that the stalks are a bit more fibrous then celery. So you’ll have more threads in your meal if you use the stalks.
Diseases and pests on lovage
Euleia heraclei or celery fly
One pest can be quite annoying and that’s the leafminers.
They tend to love making pathways into the leaves of the plant.
Getting rid of these pests can be quite easy if you check your plants regularly.
Just squish the end of the tunnel between your fingers to kill the larvae inside the tunnel. Of course, if you have a lot of plants, it becomes a little bit more difficult.
If you have several plants and control is more difficult, you can place yellow sticky traps to catch the adults. That way the plant will be spared in the future.
Also, cutting off the badly damaged leaves and tossing them, helps a lot.
Neem oil is another good product to use against leaf miners. There’s only one problem, once the leafminers are inside the leaves, you can’t get to them anymore. .
Closing on how to grow lovage in the garden
Lovage is one of the perennial plants I mentioned in my article about 5 perennials you can grow once and for years.
There are other diseases and pests we can talk about. But for now, this is the only one really worth mentioning. If you get in trouble with the plants, you can always contact me through the comment section. I can help you out determining the disease and fighting it.
So this is it for this article on how to grow lovage in the garden. I hope you’ve found it interesting. If so, please share on social media, with friends, and other gardeners.
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Thanks for reading and see you in the next post.