ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Lovage: an Old Garden Herb

Updated on January 6, 2018
Kymme profile image

Kim is a Master Gardener from Montana. She has been growing, researching and testing the historical and practical use of herbs for 20 years.

Lovage Foliage
Lovage Foliage | Source

History of Lovage

Oh lovage.....such a unique history..cultivated all over Europe and the Mediterranean for quite some time. No one knows its exact origins, although historians have several educated guesses. Either way, it is an old herb that has been used for centuries.

Lovage came to me by way of "magickal" plant lists from pagan authors. It was called "love parsley" and it was added to love sachets and love potions. That didn't seem very practical to me, so further research was necessary. I soon discovered the and medicine.

I spent some time working the gardens of a special woman, Rosemarie. Rosemarie came here from Sweden when she was young. When she came to Montana in the 1970's she brought seeds from her native home that had been passed to her. In her garden I found lovage.

I had seen lovage once before, and it grew in my garden, but this time there was someone to ask. Rosemarie used the plant in its traditional manner. Now I wanted to, too.


Click thumbnail to view full-size
Lovage FoliageLovage Flower HeadsLovage Stalks
Lovage Foliage
Lovage Foliage | Source
Lovage Flower Heads
Lovage Flower Heads | Source
Lovage Stalks
Lovage Stalks | Source

Zone Maps

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Growing Lovage

In 2011 my best friend found herself living in a place called "Common Grounds". It was an old garden with old hard to find plants. There was a book, with hand drawn maps and pictures indicating what was growing where. My friend called me to help her identify the plants and read the maps. Whoever put this together worked really hard and did a great job. I found over 100 old world plants living at this residence. Lovage was one of them.

It was tucked away in partial shade and it was tall! I carefully took a small specimen and brought him home. Once there I chose a spot closely mimicking where I had found it and promptly planted her. From there, she regained her strength and showed off just how vigorous she could be. I transplanted her to three different locations before she found her permanent home on the homestead.

Lovage (Levisticum officinale) was brought from the Olde World to the New World. It is the only species of this genus. Its actual native habitat is unknown, however remnants have been found thriving in areas it was cultivated across Europe.

Lovage is zoned 4-9 and is a perennial. It thrives in areas of early morning to afternoon sun. In the heat of the day, lovage prefers shade. Water requirements are average, however they gladly thrive on more. Where lovage receives ample water it gets quite tall.

I found a perfect spot in the habitat to support my acquisition. The habitat thrives on it's own without outside intervention. She was planted on the East facing bank of an underground spring, with a row of trees at her back. The underground spring allows for consistent moisture without being soggy or wet. The trees provide shade during the hottest days of summer.

Lovage is very easy low maintenance. There are no pest or disease problems. Any soil will do, I transplanted her three different times before settling her into the habitat. She thrived in all three locations. Sandy, sandy loam, clay, and finally, sandy loam with clay. Water requirements vary depending on the soil, more water for sandy areas, less water in soils with clay.

Lovage is a hermaphrodite and will self seed if given the opportunity and requirements are good. I try to harvest the seed before too many get away from me. Not only can they be used as a spice, I can add them to bird seed mixtures.

Lovage demands space. She has an impressive root system that allows her to get quite large. She can get cut back multiple times throughout the growing season without affecting her health. Due to her size, and dependent on her position in the garden, this may become necessary during the season to minimize her greediness for space. If you chose poorly and find that you need to transplant her to a more favorable location, do so in early Spring before she starts. Dig deep and get as much of her rootball as possible. Try not to do transplanting in the heat of summer or while she is in flower.

Lovage flowers are a beautiful shade of yellow, and look like a multi-layered kaleidescope. They attracts wasps, bees, and other flying insects that are beneficial to the garden or habitat. My baby is on her third year in the habitat, she has not been bothered by deer, rabbits, elk, or any other animal.

Putting Lovage to use

Lovage was a kitchen herb with various uses. Its leaves were used fresh in salads or in soups for flavor. Dried leaves were used in teas to combat indigestion, poor appetite, and colic. Some sources report lovage stalks being used as a celery substitute, but I didn't think so...maybe a cross between celery and parsley...

The roots of lovage are harvested at 2-3 years used as a vegetable or as flavoring for broths. Lovage roots contain essential oils which are most commonly used as a flavoring.

The seeds are used fresh or dried as a spice or as a flavoring, much like celery seed. They can be added to cakes, breads, soups and much more.

Lovage is a fantastic addition to the kitchen garden. Once she's established you'll never worry about her again. With so many practical uses I wonder what made her fall out if favor in western gardens. We have enjoyed growing and experimenting with lovage. We hope you will too.

From our garden to yours, thanks for stopping by. If you have any questions or comments please share by commenting below.

Size Comparison of Lovage
Size Comparison of Lovage | Source

© 2018 Kim French


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Kymme profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim French 

      15 months ago from Stevensville, Montana

      Good luck!!! I hope you find her a good home! Check back with your experience.


    • CultureatGreen profile image


      15 months ago from Dhaka, Bangladesh

      Thanks a lot Kim. Thank you for the wonderful and informative post. It was really very very useful as i was looking something for my garden and literally wanted to learn about Lovage.

      Good luck for your research !!

      Best regards,

      Culture@Green_ decorative green life.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)