Lovage
Levisticum officinale

Family: Apiaceae (ay-pee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Levisticum (lev-IS-tee-kum) (Info)
Species: officinale (oh-fiss-ih-NAH-lee) (Info)
View this plant in a garden

Category:

Herbs

Height:

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

Spacing:

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:

N/A

Bloom Color:

Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Foliage:

Grown for foliage

Herbaceous

Aromatic

Other details:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Flowers are fragrant

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Ceres, California

Hesperia, California

Long Beach, California

Merced, California

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Denver, Colorado

Longmont, Colorado

Montrose, Colorado

Idaho Falls, Idaho

Greenville, Indiana

Indianapolis, Indiana

Iowa City, Iowa

Falmouth, Maine

White Pigeon, Michigan

Helena, Montana

Lanoka Harbor, New Jersey

Neptune, New Jersey

Plainfield, New Jersey

Los Alamos, New Mexico

Harrisburg, North Carolina

Columbus, Ohio

Boise City, Oklahoma

Sherwood, Oregon

Milford, Pennsylvania

Troy, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

North Augusta, South Carolina

Ogden, Utah

Leesburg, Virginia

Stanwood, Washington

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

6
positives
3
neutrals
1
negative
RatingContent
Neutral

On Jun 1, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

I like this plant, but my experience with it wasn't happy.

I planted it in rich well-drained soil in partial shade---there was still enough sun to ripen tomatoes next to it. Every time I visited the garden, the lovage had a few mature leaves turning an unsightly yellow and dying off conspicuously.

I wanted to like this plant, because of the big, bold, almost tropical-looking foliage, but after a year I got tired of the deadleafing and got rid of it.

Positive

On May 31, 2014, LilyToes from Ouray, CO (Zone 4a) wrote:

I wanted to post about what an amazingly delicious herb this is. I was reading reviews below, and I would recommend NOT drying it. Please, eat this plant fresh. It is so delightful, you won't regret it. I planted lovage by seed last summer, by May the following year (this year of 2014), it has already doubled in size and is a small bush. Last summer, I would take stalks/leaves/stems of this plant, and use cooking twine to wrap around seafood/meats to grill out over the fire. Lovage is literally one of the most tastiest herbs out there! I can't say enough good things about it.. It tastes like cucumbers and nuts combined.. You can add it to raw to salads, mince it for sautes, or just wrap it around your veggies/meats when cooking out as stated before. Again, do use fresh. I would imagine dry... read more

Positive

On Jul 7, 2012, paulobessa from Porto
Portugal (Zone 9a) wrote:

I really like this plant. It grows well, it does not need any care at all and it gives always nice tasty leaves that are mainly used to give flavour to food. Why buying flavouring, this is just it and it costs nothing and it is more healthy.

It grows sun or shade, does not need much watering, divides well, and it never spread here, but we are in Iceland and soil is also poor. It flowers every year but it is a perennial. It stands very well strong cold but dislikes hot weather.

Positive

On May 31, 2012, PermaCycle from Indianapolis, IN (Zone 5b) wrote:

Lovage is a perennial that will add a stately and aromatic presence to any garden. It is often grown in Europe as a culinary herb. What makes it attractive? First, it is easily grown from division and has few, if any, pests. Importantly, its flowers are an intoxicating plant to bees and hoverflies. As a food for humans, it has very aromatic leaves that enhance most cuisines, especially Indian, Mediterranean, and Italian. The leaves can be eaten alone when young or added to cooked greens, beans, chili, salsa, curry, and almost any soup or stew. In growing lovage

Some here have indicated invasiveness, but I have not found this so; but the plant will certainly dominate space if not managed wisely.

What is my experience? The first year, I obtained a lovage plant ... read more

Positive

On Jun 11, 2008, CurtisJones from Longmont, CO wrote:

From your friends at Botanical Interests: This heirloom celery relative is a "salad herb" that has been grown as a seasoning since the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. It has a stronger, warmer flavor than celery (a cross between celery and anise). The leaves can be added to soups or stews, and salads. The seeds can be saved and ground as a salt substitute. You can even cut the hollow stems to use as natural straws (A cool way to serve tomato beverages and Bloody Marys.) Of course, this vigorous plant is much larger than celery. On average, the plants reach 3'-6' tall. Hardy to USDA zone 3, the plants die back to the ground each winter and return in the spring. It is tolerant of sun or shade, and if you allow the plants to flower, they will attract beneficial insects to your garden.

Negative

On Jul 30, 2006, pajaritomt from Los Alamos, NM (Zone 5a) wrote:

In my garden lovage has become invasive. I have not been able to get rid of it. I put it in a bed with excellent soil and a watering system. It nearly took over. I am still not rid of it. The leaves taste good cut up in salad dressing, but as far as I am concerned, celery leaves are just as good and are not invasive.
Spread by seed and underground runners.


Neutral

On Feb 24, 2006, EAPierce from Idaho Falls, ID (Zone 5a) wrote:

I also found lovage to be quite versatile, but it was too big for my small sun garden. It's as hardy as they come and thrived in the heavy clay Idaho soil, never showing even the least bit of ill health. I see here that it's height is normally no more than 4'... perhaps mine was freakish, but if left uncut the stalks got up to 9' tall, dwarfing the sunflowers, and had to be staked. I didn't use it near enough to let it take up so much space in my garden, so I had to get rid of it.

Positive

On Jun 5, 2005, bencolder from Toronto
Canada wrote:

Of all the herbs I have grown in my garden, I find lovage to be the most versatile. I planted it about ten years ago and it has come up regularly with no hinderance from insects or disease. A comparatively large herb, lovage must be grown in an area where it can thrive without shading out smaller plants or causing any obstruction. I am constantly chopping up the leaves to use in green salads, soups and stews. Its also a great additive when barbequing fish in tin foil, and it can be chopped finely and placed in burger patties. I also use it in pasta salads, gravy and tomato sauce.

Lovage can sometimes taste bitter after a dry spell or later in the season.

Positive

On Jan 24, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Lovage can be harvested from spring through fall for use instead of buying celery. Regular harvesting keeps the plant from out-growing its boundaries, and from self-sowing everywhere.

Division is very simple: just a light tug on one of the shoots re-planted will work.

Slugs seem to like it as much as people, though, so it should be protected until it grows large enough to withstand some damage.

Neutral

On May 29, 2001, poppysue from Westbrook, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

Lovage is a very tall perennial herb native to the Balkan countries. It was a favorite herb in colonial gardens and used as a flavoring much like celery. In fact, it looks like a giant celery plant and can be substituted for celery in almost any recipe. The hollow stems and seeds can be candied to make sweet confections.

Lovage prefers cool growing conditions with a winter dormancy so it is not suitable for tropical zones. Plants grow up to 5 feet tall when in flowers and the light green leaves are a bold attractive addition to the herb garden. Flowers are a seedy yellowish-green cluster and not very ornamental. Some gardeners prefer to cut the seed stalks off to keep the apperance tidy. Grow lovage in partial sun in good garden soil and adequate moisture.