Levisticum are hardy perennial herbs that reach from 7 to 20 cm (3 to 8 inches) in height.
The common name for Levisticum is lovage and both the leaves and seeds can be used in cooking.
The leaves of lovage (Levisticum officinale) look similar to parsley and it has tiny yellow flowers.
If planning to grow and harvest lovage in the herb garden then the plant should be allowed to grow for two years before harvesting; leaves can be removed three times during the growing season and used fresh, dried or blanched and frozen.
Levisticum officinale Photograph
Levisticum - Lovage photograph by Yashima.
Lovage seeds should be harvested when the fruit begins to open; cut off the head and hang upside to dry in a cool dark place.
Common Names: Lovage.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 70 to 100 inches (180 to 250 cm).
Native: Europe. Southwestern Asia.
Growing Region: Zones 4 to 8.
If growing Lovage from seed outdoors then fresh seed should be used and sown at a depth of 6 mm (1/4 inch) around the end of summer. They can grow in either a sunny or lightly shaded part of the garden that has good drainage.
Ideally the soil should be of pH 6 to 7, rich and moist. The soil should have manure added to it every spring.
You can start to grow lovage indoors first. This should be done about 6 or 7 weeks before the plants are due to be put outdoors following the last frost of spring. Seeds should be sown thickly about 6 mm deep in peat pots, and will take about two to three weeks to germinate at 15 to 21 degrees Centigrade (59 to 70°F). Once growing transplant two or three Levisticum plants into the herb garden at about 90 cm (3 feet) apart.
If you are going to use Lovage leaves it is important to check the leaves before harvesting as they can become infested by leaf miners. If you require more Levisticum plants then they can be propagated by division early on in spring.