yamattOctober 26, 2006

I'm not new to gardening but I have had the hardest times trying to germinate lovage seeds that my old college class mate from Germany sends (I have tried three different packets over the last three years and the best I ever got is something coming up to about an inch before it died). I have even germinated papaya seeds in the garden with no cover :-) I have almost given up but not quite there yet (too many memories of the flavor I enjoyed in soups and salads as a child).

I'm thinking now that my last hope maybe to have a seedling (or a small division) shipped from a nursery that specializes in herbs since I have not been able to find a nursery that has lovage in the Bay Area.

Is there anyone out there who knows a source/nursery in the US that can sell me a seedling (or some form of a live plant)? It couldn't have been a bad batch of seeds that my friend was sending from Germany, could it? There were three different shipment of seeds packs I tried.

Thanks for the help,

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www.richters.com has it, but they're sold out... maybe next year? Did you give it stratification? Since Lovage likes it cooler than where I live, I usually think it would need some stratification.... maybe a good frost?

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 7:32PM
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I can't get it to grow at all, even starting with a small plant! Just too hot here. But the following might help you:

Lovage will tolerate either full sun or partial shade, depending on prevailing climate conditions. It grows best in climates where it can receive a period of dormancy in winter. In spring, or when the centres of the plants start to die out, established plants can be divided by digging up the dormant clumps and splitting them with a sharp spade. Sow seed in autumn as soon as they ripen, at an ideal temperature of 20C. Seeds are viable for 2-3 years. They need light to germinate, so just barely cover them, and they usually germinate in less than 2 weeks. Grown from seed, the plant may take 3-4 years to reach full maturity. Seeds do not store well, so use seed which is as fresh as possible. It prefers a very rich, moist but not heavy soil. If in sandy soil, fertilise well for good leaf colour. The plant dies back in winter but grows back in spring. Mulch the roots to protect against freezing. Lovage can be grown in a container. Make sure you keep it trimmed  it can withstand heavy pruning. It is a very adaptable plant and frequently occurs as a garden escape. It will last several years if well cared for. After about 4 years when it becomes too woody, the roots can be used as a vegetable after the bitter skin has been removed. Keep the plants well watered in autumn and spring. Water deeply to encourage deep root development and take special care that young plants are never allowed to dry out.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 8:01PM
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CA Kate

I've successfully grown Lovage in Wisconsin and Connecticut, but can't seem to keep it alive here in California. I'm sure it needs the cold, so might need to get it from an northern or eastern grower.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 8:56PM
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ltcollins1949(9a TX)

You don't say where you are from, but I see that you are in Zone 9. Lovage is considered a cool-weather herb here in the South, so give up trying to grow it in the summer. Instead plant it now and it should make it until the heat and humidity come in summer. I treat it as an annual because of the combined very high heat and very high humidity here in south Texas!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 1:44PM
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