Lovage is also known as maggi herb and has an unmistakable aroma. If you want to cultivate the spicy herb in the garden or on the balcony yourself, you can do it very easily with seeds. Interested hobby gardeners can find out below when it is time to harvest the leaves, seeds and roots of the lovage.

Harvest time of lovage

The lovage ( Levisticum officinale ) has developed its first large leaves by May at the latest and can be harvested as required. The stems are best cut off just above the ground or at a branch with a sharp knife or scissors.

During spring and early summer, the leaves are spicy and aromatic but still quite mild. The later in the year the leaves are harvested, the more bitter substances they contain. The taste of the leaves changes noticeably, especially during and after flowering. If you want to use the leaves in particular, you can remove the flower and thus keep the aroma mild for a longer period of time. This also extends the harvest time of the lovage leaves.

Tip: Leaves and stems will keep longer for fresh use in the kitchen if they are placed in water and the cutting edges are kept ‘open’. To do this, the ends of the stems are simply cut off a bit every two days at the latest. This allows the maggi herb to absorb water for a longer period of time and keeps it longer after harvesting.


The flowering period of the Maggi herb is between June and August. However, buds only form from the second year of growth. If you only want to use the leaves, you should remove the flowers as soon as possible. In order to obtain seeds, however, the flowers and the following split fruits are essential. The flowers are pale green to yellowish and primarily attract flying insects.

They are not suitable for use in the kitchen due to the high proportion of bitter substances. They can still be used fresh or dried as an ingredient in tea.

harvest seeds

Fruiting bodies have formed from the flowers around September. These fissile fruits are yellow-brown and contain several tiny seeds. They can be harvested between September and October.

If the fruits and their contents have not yet dried completely on the plant, they should be well ventilated and laid out dry after the fruit stalks have been cut off. Spread out on the window sill, the heater, a grate or lattice, it dries evenly and gently, while reducing the risk of mold growth.

The fruits are separated from the stalks and stored in a dark and dry place. However, there are other ways of preserving the seeds and leaves after harvesting.


The Maggi herb can be used fresh or preserved after harvesting. The following options are available:

  • Dry:
    • wash herb
    • dry with a lint-free, clean cloth
    • then either lay them out loosely, bundle them up and hang them up or dry them in the oven at 50 °C
    • for drying in the oven, the maggi herb can already be crushed
    • dries faster, less electricity is used and dried lovage is easier to store afterwards
  • Freeze:
    • harvest together with the stalks, wash thoroughly and dry
    • then chop the maggi herb to the desired size and freeze in an airtight container
    • Ideally freeze quantities directly in portions
    • possibly chopped up, place in ice cube molds and pack in a freezer bag after freezing for the first time
  • Insert:
    • to preserve the aroma after harvesting, it can also be preserved in oil
    • Wash and chop the lovage
    • place in a bottle or jar and cover completely with oil
    • in the following two weeks, essential substances and thus the aroma are released into the oil
    • Remove solid parts after two to four weeks
    • Duration depends on how aromatic you want the oil to be


Lovage can be used in a variety of ways. For example, as a fresh herb:

  • in soups and stews
  • in salads
  • as tea
  • in flavored oil
  • in sauces

Dried as an ingredient in broth, sauces or in spice mixtures and teas, the Maggi herb can also be used and tastes slightly reminiscent of celery after drying. Due to the strong aroma, the herb should be used sparingly. This is especially true for the dried version. For example, one teaspoon of dried maggi herb is enough for a cup of tea, while two teaspoons of the fresh herb should be used for the same amount of tea.

The seeds can also be used sparingly. The fruits are crushed or ground in a mortar to release the flavors they contain. For example, you can add them to rice when cooking, bake them in bread dough or use them as a topping for bread together with various vegetables and herbs.

propagation and germination

Of course, the seeds of the lovage can not only be used as a spice, but also to propagate the plant. After the harvest time in late summer or early autumn, the lovage is dried and stored in a dark and dry place over the winter.

From February you can put them on potting soil and cover them lightly with the substrate. The soil should be kept moist but not wet. In addition, a bright and moderately warm location should be selected for healthy germination. For example, a window sill that is free of drafts is ideal. After three to four weeks, the first germs should appear that can be pricked out.

The plants can be placed outdoors from April, but should still be protected from late frost. This can be achieved, for example, with a layer of brushwood or straw. Garden fleece can also be suitable. As an alternative, the lovage plants can first be placed outdoors in pots. This hardens against the sun, cold and changing temperatures – while still protecting you.

Tip: Propagation by dividing the root ball in late spring or early autumn is much easier and faster than germinating Maggi herb seeds. To do this, the plant is dug up, the roots freed from the earth and divided in the middle with a sharp knife. The resulting daughter plants are then put back into the ground.

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