Lovage has a longer life then any other garden herbs and can survive for many years in the same place in your garden. However, it is not wise to grow this plant for such a long period in the same place, as they will loose vigor with age. It is best if you split the plants and re-plant the plump roots along with the stems at intervals of three to four years. This helps the plants to remain strong and energetic. The best time of the year to do this is in early spring or late autumn, when the plant is dormant.
All parts of the plant: leaves, stems, roots and seed, are edible. Fresh Lovage leaves may be picked anytime of the day, but the best time to harvest them is in the morning, soon after the dew has disappeared. If you want to dry and preserve Lovage leaves, it is best to harvest the stems with leaves, before to the plant’s flowering season, then hang the herb’s stems in a warm, dry, well-ventilated and shaded place. When they are dried out, strip off the leaves and store them in airtight, sealed containers. You can also freeze the leaves and stems. Blanch the leaves in boiling water very quickly, then quickly throw them into a bowl of ice water for a couple of minutes. Drain, place in plastic freezer bags and freeze. The frozen Lovage can be minced and used in cooked dishes. Lovage seeds can also be used. A large seed stalk will form in early summer. Allow the seed to ripen until they begin to turn brown, during the late summer, then cut the stalk and dry the seeds. Store the seeds in hermetically sealed containers.
You can propagate Lovage from seeds or root cuttings. If you have a longer growing season, simply direct seed it outside. Lovage seeds need to be fresh and should be sown as soon you obtain them, this way they will germinate easily and better. Germination takes about 10 to 28 days. Seeds should be sown in late summer or early autumn, in a location where you want the plants to grow permanently. Keep only 2 or 3 hardy seedlings. Water regularly so that it doesn’t dry out and give it a boost in the spring with some natural fertilizer. Lovage dies back in autumn and goes into a period of dormancy. In zones with hard winters roots should be mulched to protect them from cold damage. If you live in an area with a shorter growing season, start seeds indoors about 6 weeks before transplanting them in your garden. It takes a complete summer or a year for the Lovage seedling to develop into a plant of a good enough size.