Lovage, Fennel, and Cilantro Questions

Anyone growing lovage? It’s marketed as a perennial celery replacement. Any truth to that? This question answers many—would you buy it at the store? It’s most likely a top deer target, so just want to make sure it’s worthwhile.

Do either fennel or cilantro reliably self seed for another crop?

Had lovage for many years in a perennial border. Attractive foliage, strong herbal smell of celery, better depth of flavor. Excellent in bean soup!


i cant directly answer your questions, so here’s likely useless, tangential info:

Here in Wisconsin i have not had cilantro self-reseed. Dill certainly does, cilantro MAY in milder places? Fennel absolutely can, if conditions are right…it’s almost the California State Weed. Not bulby, more the frond-fennel, but I suspect if your conditions are right bulb fennel might behave similarly. Or I suppose you could make it a point to at least harvest seed umbels, which would admittedly be easier for fennel than trying to collect cilantro seed since you could just cut 2-3 heads and let them dry in a paper bag.

I grew lovage from seed last year. Sort of. It was in the back yard and thrived on neglect until it didn’t…never got very large and I think at one point it simply dried up. Go figure, saw Lovage in 4" pots at a garden center shortly before mine died, and I have not seen it before, but this yr i will go there and buy more established starts to try my hand at lovage.

Glad you brought that up. Somehow I got the idea it was perennial. If it’s not perennial you might as well grow celery.

Celery wouldn’t be happy, here. But for my conditions lovage thrived. And I preferred the taste and uses of lovage.

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Lovage is definitely perennial.

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I do grow Lavage, (though I do not remember where I planted it this fall when we moved to a new house :grin: ). It can be used as celery replacement for use as spice. The stalks are not that tender as in celery.

This is my assumption as well. At least I planted it first time about 6 years ago and it was growing in the same spot without my attention. Only care it received was spring fertilizer and also I cut the flower stalks after they finished flowering, mostly for esthetic purpose.

So what is it you guys are using it for? Soups and such?

I used to use it instead of celery in tomato canning recipes. But I do not can tomatoes that way anymore, so It was just growing - 1 bush. Sometimes I use it when marinate meat for kebab or green leaves in soup as spice.

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My mistake, I grew so many things years ago it’s hard to keep track. :smirk: I think it was the celeriac that was biennial, also tasty! My lovage was about a 2’ tall clump, very healthy

Good mixed with vegetables in roasted meat dishes, also.

I enjoy the taste of lovage, drying it and using in soups mainly. It is not as strong as I wish it was, maybe dry weather is the cause of it only living 1-2 years… I’ll plant more but i’m not in a rush.

Cilantro we did have a few plants go to seed, I try to spread seeds of these and such plants and usually not much happens. I ran over these Cilantro with the tractor tiller at the right ime i guess because the year after we had a patch about 3x3 foot, the next year none survived.

I grow lovage for years in zone 5 Chicagoland. It definitely is a perennial. No obvious diseases or pests. No need to take care of it, yet it comes back everyone spring. I steam the fish with it. It has such wonderful aroma. I get so many leaves from two clumps , I am looking for ways to use it.

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Cilantro reliably self-seeds here in Seattle (a cool 8b/9a), at least if you aren’t harvesting the seeds (coriander). They sprout in the fall and overwinter as small seedlings until spring when they usually take off and need thinning.

I added two small lovage plants last summer and they didn’t grow much, I’m hoping they take off a little more this year. I nibbled them and liked the taste.

Seems like I read cilantro actually starts in spring and goes to seed as the heat starts. Then another fall crop sprouts up and seeds again for next year.

Is that correct? I gave them a patch of clean flower bed to run wild. Hoping not to have to plant them again.

If you mean cilantro, that hasn’t been my experience, the second crop usually sprouts too late to grow more than a few inches before it goes dormant. This might be a product of our extremely dry summer, though, so the spring seeds don’t sprout until the rains start in the fall.

If they were watered they might start sooner I guess. I usually stop watering those beds once they fully bolt, and they are dry and crispy by the end of summer.

That sounds right. The guy who wrote that article probably lives in a warmer climate than us and he gets the second crop.

Here’s a corner of my patch that germinated in fall and survived the winter, in need of thinning and weeding now:


That’s about the space I gave mine. Looks like enough for one house.