(Levisticum officinale ‘Lovage')
Lovage is a perennial herb that is native to Europe but can be commonly found growing in open woodlands throughout the northeastern United States. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 5-6' and features thick stems, dark green parsley-like leaves, and umbels that bare greenish-yellow flowers. This plant can be grown in containers, attracts lacewings, ladybugs, predatory wasps, and tachinid flies, is used as a trap crop for tomato hornworms, tolerates deer, is used to flavor perfume, is both edible and medicinal, and self sows!
Native to: Afghanistan, Iran.
Introduced into: Albania, Austria, Baltic States, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Central European Rus, Chile South, China North-Central, China Southeast, Connecticut, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, East European Russia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Inner Mongolia, Italy, Krym, Maine, Manchuria, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Netherlands, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North European Russi, Norway, Nova Scotia, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Poland, Québec, Romania, Saskatchewan, South European Russi, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Vermont, Wisconsin, Yugoslavia.
Also Known As: Sea Parsley
Grown as: Annual
Maturity (Blooms): May to June
Hardiness: Hardy. Lovage is a hardy perennial that will die back to the ground in the winter, and grow again every season. Each season it comes back stronger than the season before until it has reached full maturity anywhere between 6 and 10'.
Crops: Spring Transplant.
Growing Season: Short, Long.
Growing Conditions: Cold, Cool, Warm. Lovage likes to be planted in a sunny spot, rich in organic matter and well-drained. The soil should be moisture retentive.
Outdoor Growing Temp: 50°F - 80°F.
Min Outdoor Soil Temp: 50°F. Plant outdoors when soil is at least 50˚F.
Start Indoors?: Yes.
Start Outdoors?: No.
Light: Full sun to part shade.
Water: Medium. Keep soil fairly moist. A mulch will help to retain moisture.
Soil Moisture: Moist, well-drained.
Feeder: Moderate. Lovage does best in fertile soil.
Suitability: Tolerates light frost, Tolerates hard frost.
Small Gardens?: Yes.
Containers?: Yes. Lovage grown in containers may need to be potted up every year because it gets big.
Attracts Beneficial Insects: Yes. Lacewings, Ladybugs, Predatory Wasps, Tachinid Flies, and even acts as a trap crop for Tomato Hornworms.
Soil: rich, moist soil with good drainage. Good border plant.
Water: Water regularly, but do not over water.
USDA Zone: 4-8
Produces: thick stems, dark green parsley-like leaves, and umbels that bare greenish-yellow flowers.
Garden Uses: Herb garden. Also has ornamental value and good height for a back corner of the border or for naturalized areas or wild gardens.
Seed Viability in Years: 2 - 3 years
Germination Percentage: 50%
Similar to celery in use and flavor. However, many prefer Lovage over Celery.
Leaves and stems: raw or cooked. Used as a savory flavoring in salads, soups, stews etc, imparting a yeasty/celery flavor. The leaves can be used fresh or dried and are available from late winter until late autumn. To ensure a good supply of the leaves in the summer, it is best to cut the plants down to the ground when flowering in the summer. The young stem can be blanched and used like celery in salads or as a savory flavoring in cooked foods. A tea is made from the dried leaves. A strong savory flavor, it tastes more like a broth.
Seed: raw or cooked. A strong yeasty flavor, it is used as a flavoring in cakes, soups, salads etc. It can be used whole or ground into a powder.
Root: cooked. A strong savory taste, it can be used as a flavoring or cooked as a vegetable. It is best grated. Best used when 2 - 3 years old. A tea can also be made from the grated roots. An essential oil from the root is used commercially as a food flavoring. Yields of 0.5% are obtained.
Companions: Lovage takes up quite a bit of room in the garden” A single plant may be all you need as a trap crop. Plant it at the back of the ornamental border for an eye catching accent.
Enemies: None known.
Tarnished Plant Bugs
Plants that attract Big-eyed bugs are: Caraway (Carum carvi), Cosmos “white sensation” (Cosmos bipinnatus), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Alfalfa (Medicago sativa), Spearmint (Mentha spicata), Peter Pan Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea), and Marigold “lemon gem” (Tagetes tenuifolia).
Damsel Bugs: These true bugs are very common and abundant in farms, gardens and landscapes. They are generalist predators and both the adults and nymphs eat aphids, caterpillar eggs, small larvae, fleahoppers, lygus bugs, leafhoppers, treehoppers, spider mites, and other soft-bodied insects, especially on shorter growing plants. They are common in agricultural habitats, such as soybean, corn, and alfalfa. Damsel bugs are greyish brown in color and have grasping front legs. They are not commercially available.
Plants that attract Damsel Bugs are: Caraway (Carum carvi), Cosmos “white sensation” (Cosmos bipinnatus), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Alfalfa (Medicago sativa), Spearmint (Mentha spicata), Peter Pan Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea), and Marigold “lemon gem” (Tagetes tenuifolia).
Minute Pirate Bugs: Minute pirate bugs are very small (~1/12 inch long) predators that are difficult to see without a hand lens or jeweler’s loupe. They are generalist predators that feed on small insect prey. Both the nymphs and adults are predaceous. The adults are identified by the black and white color and an X pattern across the back. The nymphs are tiny and red to orange in color. Minute pirate bugs are commercially available.
Plants that attract Minute Pirate Bugs are: Caraway (Carum carvi), Cosmos “white sensation” (Cosmos bipinnatus), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Alfalfa (Medicago sativa), Spearmint (Mentha spicata), Peter Pan Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea), and Marigold “lemon gem” (Tagetes tenuifolia).
(Carum carvi ‘Caraway')
Caraway is a biennial herb that is native to Europe and Asia but can be commonly found growing in meadows, prairies, and along roadsides throughout the northern United States. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 12-18” and features feathery fronds and umbrella shaped clusters of tiny white flowers. This plant can be grown in a container, attracts bees, butterflies, damsel bugs, hoverflies, lacewings, ladybugs, and predatory wasps, and is also both edible and medicinal!
(Foeniculum vulgare ‘Florence')
Florence Fennel is a perennial herb that is native to the Mediterranean but can be commonly found growing throughout most of the United States. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 3-5' and features a rounded, branching, celery-like stalk, yellowish-green, feathery foliage and umbrella shaped heads of tiny yellow flowers. This plant attracts bees, butterflies, damsel bugs, hoverflies, lacewings, ladybugs, and predatory wasps, tolerates deer, is used to flavor air fresheners, perfumes, soaps, and toothpaste, the leaves are used to repel insects, tolerates drought and light frost, is used to make dyes, is both edible and medicinal, and self sows!
(Mentha spicata ‘Spear’)
Spearmint is a perennial herb that is a native from Europe and China but can be commonly found growing in wetlands and along streams throughout most of the United States. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 24-36” and features erect, hairy stems, 3” aromatic, oval-shaped, sharply toothed pointed leaves and 4” tapering terminal spikes that bare pale purple or pink flowers. This plant can be grown in containers, attracts bees, butterflies, and damsel bugs, repels ants, aphids, cabbage loopers, flea beetles, mice, squash bugs, and white flies, is resistant to deer and rabbits, is used to make essential oils and potpourri, its leaves are used to repel rodents, is used to flavor toothpaste, is both edible and medicinal, and self sows!