Lovage- how to grow and use the lovage herb

by whitemoss

Lovage is a little known herb that is great in cooking and for herbal remedies. Lovage is easy to grow. I grow lovage in my herb garden, and I'll share my tips with you.

What's that tall plant in your herb garden that tastes like celery? It's Lovage ! In March the first shoots of lovage appear in my garden- it's thrilling! Many tasty meals lie ahead.

Lovage is a little known herb that is easy to grow in your herb garden which makes a big impact in soups, salad, stuffings and stews.
Lovage is a very versatile herb. The lovage leaf looks a little like a celery leaf, and the lovage herb tastes like celery too.
The leaves of the lovage can be picked fresh from the herb garden and used for salad. Lovage can be added to soups for a fascinating flavor.
Lovage goes well with fish and chicken, either as a stuffing, or used in poaching.

Why not make a space for lovage in your garden ?

How to grow the Lovage herb

A practical guide to growing lovage in your herb garden

You need quite a good sized space to grow lovage. Once it gets established the lovage plant will grow as high as 6 foot.

When we used to make lovage soup regularly in our restuarant at White Moss House, we needed two or three plants, but now that we mostly just cook for ourselves one plant would be ample.

Lovage is a perrenial. In the winter it vanishes, so I leave a few of last year's stalks as markers. In the spring, it shows as a purple- green leaf, then quickly grows to full height in April and May.

Lovage can take partial shade and does better in soil that is fairly fertile and not too dry. If you have a longer growing season, simply direct seed it outside. In the north, start seeds indoors about 6 weeks ahead for transplanting, or buy a plant from a garden center.

Lovage seed needs to be fairly fresh, and to make sure you get one good plant, sow at least 4 seeds in a pot. When you move the plant to the garden keep it well watered for the first couple weeks, and feed with a natural fertilizer.

If you live in an area with a good garden store, you may be able to but the plant ready grown in small pots.This would be my preferred way of starting lovage in your garden, as I don't have much luck with growing from seeds where I live. Even if the weather conditions are good, the birds and mice slugs can get to the seedlings before they are established.

The first year you won't see it's full growth-it will only reach about 2 foot, but you can begin to harvest at a foot. Cut stems from the side, and chop to use in recipes.

Towards the end of the summer, your lovage plant will become rather stringy , and I find that if I cut it down firmly, it will sometimes produce a good showing of fresh leaves.

In the autumn, cut all the plant down, leaving just a few marker stalks to show you where the lovage plant will appear next year.

To see what's going on in my Grasmere, Lake District area right now you can read my blog, and for more Lake District gardening info you can real Notes From a Lake District Garden. 

At this time of year you can buy lovage plants ready to go in your garden

More expensive than buying seeds, but very reliable - these lovage plants are garden ready.
Lovage Herb - 4 Plants - Levisticum officinale

HERBS: Treat yourself to fresh herbs right from your garden! The difference when home grown is impressive! All are excellent for adding distinctive flavor to meat, and fish dish...

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Now is the time to sow your lovage seeds

You can sow in pots or directly in the garden
Lovage Heirloom Seeds

You don't need to buy a huge pack of seeds. This pack is top quality.

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Readers in the UK can buy Lovage seeds and lovage plants online

UK friends- look here for your herb seeds and needs

My favourite ( I'm writing for the UK market here) garden supplier in the UK is Crocus.co.uk. Just reading their online website makes me want to buy everything in sight. I love Crocus!

Crocus have a really pretty lovage for sale at the moment It's not the usual garden herb that I grow, but I'm very tempted to buy this for my garden this year. 

Here is the beautiful Jade Green Lovage from Crocus
Here is the beautiful Jade Green Lova...

For UK reader Amazon is also a good place to buy herbs, including lovage.

Suttons Seeds in the UK also have great herbs.

Find lovage herbs and seeds on Amazon.co.uk

UK readers can also take a look at Suttons Seeds glorious online catalogue for all their seeds.

I love reading gardening websites- I always dream my garden will look like the photos.


Lovage in cooking and lovage recipes

Lovage has many uses in cooking and in salads

Lovage is closely related to celery. and the leaves look similar. The flavor is also very similar to that of celery, but the leaves tend to be used with lovage, rather than the stalks with celery.

The stalks can be used like angelica, for candying, and the seeds can be used infusions, but in most lovage receipes it is the leaves that are used.

My favorite uses for the lovage herb are-

Add the chopped leaves to casseroles for an really interesting flavor. The anise, celery flavor of the lovage works really well.

Lovage is great when cooking lentils- sweat a few leaves with onions , then let the lentils cook slowly with the lovage.

Chop the lovage leaves and add to cream cheese- this can then be used as a stuffing - lovely in a chicken breast.

Pesto is traditionally made with basil, but can be made with most herbs including lovage.

Lovage can be used on a pizza topping.

Lovage is excellent with fish, such as salmon.

Chop the lovage leaves in a fresh leaf and herb salad- dress with your favorite dressing.

Lovage soup is delicious. We love leek and lovage soup- it sounds good and tastes fantastic- the leeks and lovage really work well together.

A handful of chopped lovage on pasta looks and tastes great.

Chop the lovage leaves and add to a paste of soft butter- use as a topping for vegetable ( it is really good on carrots)

If you use herbs, these herb scissors are an very useful kitchen item

Chop your herbs finely and evenly with these herb scissors.
RSVP Herb Scissors

Snip the herbs you need quickly and neatly. The unusual blade design features a set of five, sharp 3" stainless steel blades that allow you to cut, chop or mince herbs.

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Lovage recipes from top chefs - lovage is fashionable right now!

Here are some of my favorite recipes that use the lovage herb

Lovage has now become a fashion item for top chefs.

Here are lots of great lovage recipes for you to try.

You can make lovage soup, chicken with lovage, or fish with lovage

Here are some pretty posters of Lovage from Allposters

These would look good on a kitchen wall
Garden Angelica and Other PlantsIllustration of Levisticum Officinale (Lovage), Foliage and Yellow FlowersLovage, Ligusticum Levisticum
Ad AllPosters

Do you love Lovage? Do you know anything about Lovage?

What is your experience of the lovage herb?
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Thanks for voting- you DO know something about Lovage now- spread the word!

The history of Lovage

How has the Lovage herbs been used throughout the ages?

Lovage, ( Levisticum officinale ) is also known as Old English Lovage. Italian Lovage. Cornish Lovage, Sea parsley or Love parsley. -

The "love " part of the name "lovage" may date back to the middle ages, when its seeds were used a part of a love potion.It was grown in old monastery gardens, and its seeds, leaves and stalks were all used for medicial purposes.

In the Middle Ages, the emperor Charlemagne so loved lovage that he ordered it to be grown in all his gardens.

Lovage is widely used in homeopathic remedies and for herbal medicine.

The 17th Century herbalist, Nicholas Culpepper wrote of lovage that an infusion 'being dropped into the eyes taketh away their redness or dimness.... It is highly recommended to drink the decoction of the herb for agues.... The distilled water is good for quinsy if the mouth and throat be gargled and washed therewith.... The decoction drunk three or four times a day is effectual in pleurisy.... The leaves bruised and fried with a little hog's lard and laid hot to any blotch or boil will quickly break "- a wide variety of uses!

Although garden Lovage is one of the old English herbs which was very common in gardens centuries ago, it has recently been out of favor.

In my herb garden at Grasmere, in England's Lake District, it grows very well, and lovage is a herb that is well suited to the gardener who likes to grow something just a bit unusual to use in recipes and cooking.

Lovage is beginning to get more popular again, and lovage now appears in recipes from vaious top chefs.

You can buy a traditional old English cordial made from lovage - available in the USA

Phillips Lovage cordial is available online.

Phillips Lovage Cordial has traditionally been drunk to ease digestion problems. It has an alcohol level of 5.30%, but if you mix it in the old fashioned way with brandy, it will be much higher!

Lovage cordial 

Readers in the UK can buy Phillips Lovage cordial from Amazon here.


In the USA this is available from The Drink Shop online. 


You can read reviews of this old English cordial, made from an ancient recipe in Devon, here. 

Lovage for herbal remedies

Traditionally lovage has been used in herbal medicines.

The roots, stems, and leaves of lovage have long been used for medicinal purposes, especially as a diuretic. As Culpepper mentioned, you can make a lovage tea by either using the seeds or the leaves, to flush out the digestion.

Lovage was thought to be of value for treating kidney stones, jaundice, malaria, sore throat, pleurisy, and boils. ( please note, these are traditional uses for lovage- I make no personal claims and take on responsibility should you try these remedies.

Like many sweet , highly flavored herbs, lovage can be simply chewed as a breath freshener- very useful in the days before toothpaste!

A paste of lovage has been also been used by ladies used to help clear up spots and rashes.

In homes many years ago, lovage was placed in bowls around the house to sweeten and freshen the air.

Lovage cordial has been made for centuries- and is still made and sold today.It is thought to have healthy, cleansing properties.

For stomach cramps and disorders you might want to try using lovage - Lovage traditionally has been thought to help with the digestion.

If you have fresh lovage, you can use it to make herbal teas, or you can chew the seeds. If you don't grow lovage, you could try taking using dried lovage root.

Here are top quality lovage root and lovage tincture products.

Read the labels and decide if you would like to try these ancient herbal remedies.
Lovage Root Non Alcoholic Tincture Levisticum officinale 200ml 6.8 OZ

These are NON ALCOHOLIC tinctures. All NON Alcoholic tinctures are extracted at a ratio of 1:2 in a pure vegetable glycerin and springwater base. The processes take over 6 weeks...

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Lovage Root Powder 2.2 lbs (1 kg)

Lovage root Key Facts:Botanical name is Levisticum officinaleNative to the Mediterranean region of southern Europe and Asia MinorA perennial plant that may reach a height of 5 ...

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Lovage Liquid Extract, Organic Lovage (Levisticum officinale) Tincture 4 oz

Lovage (Levisticum officinale) is a flowering plant in the same family as carrots, parsley, and dill. Its dark green leaves resemble cilantro, while the stalks resemble celery. ...

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Updated: 06/22/2015, whitemoss
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frankbeswick on 05/16/2017

Why not make a space for lovage in your garden? There is so much that I want in my garden, but I have no room. But maybe next year when I have matured my planting plans.

DerdriuMarriner on 05/16/2017

WhiteMoss, Wild lovage, onions and strawberries already are adding color and fragrance to my natural garden. So thank you for the serving suggestions since I tend to focus upon the fresh, healthy look, smell and taste of lovage in salads.
What is the ratio of brandy to lovage cordial that you recommend?

Duncan on 04/15/2017

Hello! Love the page. I moved to Seattle from Cornwall and my wife and I have a lot of lovage into its third year and doing well. We will try some of these recipes for sure... any idea how to make the cordial from scratch? Although it seems very cheap to buy here it could be a fun project to try...

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