The young leaves of this perennial herb are ideal for adding to salads, soups, stews and potato dishes, while blanched shoots can be eaten as a vegetable, and the roots are edible as a cooked vegetable or raw in salads. The stalks can be candied like angelica, while dried leaves can be used to make a tea. Thanks to its ornamental good looks, it is perfectly at home grown among other plants in a sunny or partially shaded border.

Jobs to do now

  • Water
  • Prune established plants

Month by month


Start plants from seed in spring. Sow a few into a small pot filled with seed compost and cover with a thin layer of perlite – don't sow too many seeds, due to its size one plant is generally enough in the garden.

Place in a heated propagator to germinate.

When seedlings are large enough, prick out into individual pots.

Plant out well rooted plants into the garden in late spring or early summer.

Alternatively, save time and buy ready grown plants in spring.


Plant in rich, deep, moist soil in sun or partial shade.

Lovage is a prolific self seeder. Retain some seedlings if you like, but weed out others to prevent the plants from smothering other plants in the border.

Trim plants in summer to encourage a flush of new shoots.

Plants start to die back in autumn. At this time, cut stems back to just above ground level.

Large clumps can be divided in spring.


Lovage is mainly grown for its leaves, which taste rather like celery, but sweeter, with a hint of parsley and aniseed.

Harvest the young leaves regularly, so more are produced. Use them fresh, finely chopped in salads, soups and stews, and to complement potatoes and eggs.

Stop picking the leaves once plants start to flower in late summer, as they turn bitter.

The seeds can be used in baking, in a similar way to fennel seeds.

You can also harvest young blanched stems, to eat like celery. Loosely wrap a length of light-proof paper around a few of the stems, when they’re about 30cm (1ft) tall, and secure with twine. Leave a third of the stems exposed. Unblanched stems can also be cooked, and have a robust celery flavour.

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