Common name: Lovage
Scientific name: Levisticum officinale
Uses: Culinary, decorative, and medicinal.The leaves, stems, or seeds impart a celerylike flavor to herbal vinegars. Fresh leaves and stems can be used in salads, and fresh or dried leaves can be added to soups. Whole or ground seeds flavor pickling brines, cheese spreads, dressings, sauces, and breads. Lovage has ornamental uses because of its attractive flowers. It is said to have some medicinal qualities.
History: Originally from the Mediterranean area, lovage grew near the mountains of Greece and in the south of France. It was formerly used in medicine and cooking. Centuries ago lovage became established in Britain and was among the most cultivated medicinal herbs. It was grown for its roots, stems, leaves, and seeds. Today lovage is one of the lesser known herbs.
Description: The short, thick rootstock produces a round, hollow, ribbed stem that is branched near the top. The glossy, dark green leaves are opposite, compound, and decrease in size towards the top. The leaflets are ovate, toothed, and have a celerylike fragrance. The small, pale yellow flowers are arranged in compound umbels which are 1 1/2 to 4 inches across. The fruit is a 1/2-inch seed.
Plant type: Perennial
Hardiness: Hardiness zone 3.
Height: 36 to 72 inches
Width: 36 inches
Soil: moist, fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.5
Pests: Leaf miners
Cultivation: Sow seeds in flats or outside in a shady location. When the seedlings are about 3 inches high, transplant or thin to 24 to 36 inches apart. Keep well watered in dry weather.
Companion planting: Lovage helps to promote vigorous growth
in potatoes or other root vegetables. Plant in small patches or as a
Propagation: Seeds or division.
Flowering period: June to August
Garden notes: None available.