Lovage is great to cultivate in a large pot on the balcony or terrace. What you need to consider when sowing, planting and care, we explain in this article.
- cultivate alone in a large container if possible
- wide as well as deep planter, at least two liters capacity
- preferably sunny, warm location (e.g. south-facing balcony)
- fertilize every four weeks, keep evenly moist
- overwinter bright, cool and frost-free, not in heated indoor areas
Planter and substrate
Lovage (Levisticum officinale) grows very large and therefore needs a planter with a capacity of at least two liters. The container should also be both wide and deep, as the plant forms thick, underground rhizomes and therefore also requires a lot of soil. Nutrient-rich herbal or vegetable soil, such as humus-based tomato soil, is suitable as a substrate. You should not use pre-fertilized flower or balcony plant soil, as this mostly consists of peat and is mixed with plenty of artificial fertilizer.
The culinary herb needs a lot of sun for optimal growth. A south-facing balcony or terrace offers the best conditions in this respect. But a southwest or southeast facing location is also suitable, as long as it offers several hours of sunshine a day. For growing young plants (e.g. by sowing or propagating cuttings), it is best to place the pots in a bright and warm, but not directly sunny place on a windowsill in the living room.
The vigorous Maggi herb is easy to grow by sowing. It can be grown indoors as early as February, but sown directly in a pot on the balcony from the end of April. The optimal time for sowing outdoors is when the temperature is continuously above 18 degrees Celsius – the dark seedling loves the heat. This is how you plant the seeds:
- Fill planting containers (pots, bowls) with herb soil.
- Place the seeds in depressions and cover lightly with soil.
- water and always keep slightly moist
- place in a warm and bright place
- cotyledons become visible after 15 to 20 days
- Place young plants individually in larger planters
Tip: The variety ‘Verino’ has proven to be particularly robust and fast-growing. It is also resistant to many (fungal) diseases and is therefore very suitable for pot culture.
Planting young lovage plants, whether purchased or homegrown, is done this way:
- clean large planter and fill it with substrate.
- Do not forget a drainage layer of clay shards or similar on the bottom of the pot.
- needs moist soil, but does not tolerate waterlogging
- Dig a planting hole
- Place the plant in the hole and press the soil down well
- do not leave air pockets
- therefore tap the pot lightly on the ground
- Water freshly planted plant vigorously
Do not put the young herbs immediately in the sun, but accustom them slowly to their new location. Otherwise, unsightly leaf burns are the result. Initially, place the pots outdoors only in the morning for two to three hours, never over midday. Extend the period a little more each day.
Tip: The sunnier and warmer the location, the higher the water requirement for lovage plants. Therefore, make sure that the substrate is always slightly moist, but not wet.
Water and fertilize the lovage regularly. These tips will help you with optimal care:
- Calcareous tap water is well tolerated.
- but soft rainwater is best
- do not water with cold water directly from the tap
- use warmed, stagnant water if possible
- fertilize every four weeks between April and October
- suitable for this purpose is a liquid vegetable or herb fertilizer
Since Levisticum officinale is perennial, you can overwinter the plant. Lovage in a pot, however, do not spend the winter months outside, but in time before the first frost should be spent in a cool and bright interior. The living room is not suitable for this purpose, but a bright basement room, the same stairwell or unheated garden shed.
Frequently asked questions
What gets along with lovage?
Lovage is a pronounced loner, which should be kept alone in a pot if possible. The culinary herb can grow up to 250 centimeters high and very extensive, so it needs plenty of space. If you want to plant the Maggi herb in a raised bed or similar, it gets along very well with fennel and parsley.
Can lovage be cultivated on a windowsill?
Due to the growth habit of lovage, we do not recommend growing it on a windowsill. In order for the plant to stay healthy and flourish, it needs a large container and plenty of space. A sunny location on the balcony or terrace is therefore useful. However, if you do not have both, the plant can be placed in a spacious and bright hallway or staircase.
What is the best way to care for pre-bred lovage from the supermarket?
Sometimes pre-pulled plants are available in hardware stores or supermarkets. These have been cultivated very quickly in optimal conditions in greenhouses and are therefore extremely delicate. Accustom them slowly to the new location at home, do not put them immediately in full sun and plant them in a new planter and fresh substrate only after a few days of acclimatization.