Levisticum Plant Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners

In this Gardener's HQ guide, we'll explore cultivating Levisticum plants in your garden, indoor spaces, and other settings.

Lovage: Cultivation & Garden Use

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.

Levisticum Growing and Care Guide

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.
Flowers: Late spring to the middle of summer.
Flower Details: Yellow, green-yellow. Tiny. Umbels.
Foliage: Dark green to yellow-green. Tripinnate. Triangular. Toothed.
Sow Outside: 1/4 inch (6 mm). Late summer or the beginning of autumn using fresh seeds. Sow lots of seeds in one spot due to bad germination rates. Spacing 24 to 36 inches (60 to 90 cm).
Sow Inside: Use peat pots. Germination time: one to three weeks. Temperature: 60 to 70°F (16 to 21°C). Seven or eight weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.
Requirements and care: Full sunlight or light shade. Good drainage. Soil pH 6.0 to 7.0. Rich soil, moist soil. Mix in manure or compost. Provide a spring feed of manure or 5-10-5. Propagate: by dividing at the start of spring.
Harvesting: Lovage is grown for both leaves and seeds. When growing for a leaf harvest, then first grow for two years, and ensure any inflorescences are removed before they have chance to flower. Leaves can be harvested three times per annum. Seeds should be harvested as the fruit opens. Cut off the flower head, hang upside down in a cool and dark place until dry.
Miscellaneous: Lovage as many culinary uses and the leaves are often used in soups and salads. The seeds are used in a similar fashion to those of fennel. The roots are used to make an antiseptic lotion.

How to Grow Lovage, Levisticum

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.

Harvesting Lovage leaves

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.

Common Questions

How many members does the Levisticum plant genus contain?

The Levisticum genus is monotypic, meaning it contains only one species, which is commonly known as Lovage.

Do members of Levisticum make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Lovage can be a great addition to the garden, not only for its striking foliage and yellow flowers, but also for its culinary uses.

Which Levisticum species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Levisticum officinale (Lovage) is grown for both its ornamental and culinary qualities.

Are members of the Levisticum plant genus fragrant?

Yes, Lovage emits a strong, pleasant aroma, somewhat similar to celery. The fragrance is most noticeable when the leaves or stems are crushed.

What is the perfect location to grow Levisticum?

Levisticum prefers a sunny or lightly shaded spot with rich, well-drained soil. It's a great addition to a herb garden or to a mixed border.

Is Levisticum invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Lovage is not considered invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Levisticum plants from my garden?

To remove Lovage, simply dig up the plant, ensuring to remove as much of the root system as possible to prevent regrowth.


The Levisticum genus, part of the Apiaceae family, consists a perennial plants native to Southern Europe. Recognized for its aromatic leaves and seeds, the single species in this genus, Levisticum officinale, is used as a herb in cooking and is commonly known as lovage.

Levisticum prefers full sun to partial shade and rich, well-drained soil. Regular watering is necessary for optimal growth. Propagation is typically acheived through seeds or division, generally in the spring or fall.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Levisticum plants. You may also enjoy my gardening guides on how to grow Aster, Clematis plant, and Geranium plants.