Lovage

lovageLovage (Levisticum officinale)

Height: 36 – 72″ / Spread: 18″ / Perennial to zone 2

I have to admit it, I love lovage. It’s a very hardy perennial, easily surviving in my zone 2b garden. Historically, it was a popular garden plant. It’s appearance in modern gardens is rare, and I do believe this should change. I love the fact that lovage is sun/part shade plant, as it happily sits in the background, living life to the fullest in all its stature, leaving more room for the super sun loving plants in the garden. It does not appear to be bothered by pests in the garden.

It will grow very tall once established, and can be propagated by division. My three year old plants grew about 3 feet tall, however they got significantly taller once they were in flower. Last summer, they towered over me at over 6 feet high!

Lovage is similar to celery in appearance and taste. It has a rich celery flavor with a crisp, fresh scent that reminds me of cardamom. It’s not eaten raw, however, but is a nice addition to stews and casseroles, or in a broth blend. The leaves, seeds and roots are used. Generally the shoots are only used when young, but they can be continually harvested and used throughout the summer.

I thought it was very interesting to learn that the hollow stalks were used as straws in the original Bloody Mary drink.

Propagation: Part of the Apaiceae family, lovage sends up umbrella like flower stalks, which contribute to it’s height. Also, like other members of this family, it will self seed prolifically if left unchecked. Ask me how I know…

It is easily divided once mature. One or two plants is more than enough for most families.

 

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