Potting Up, Lovage (Levisticum officinale)

Of the 6 Lovage starts, I still had 5 in their initial Jiffy seed starters. Today I potted them up into 3 inch pots.  These little guys will likely live in my back bedroom under lights until the rainy season.



They sprouted before I had lights up so are etoliated, a/k/a gangly.  I still  find seed starting miraculous and even though these seeds were very tiny, they will make a 5-8 foot perennial.

My goal is 1 to 3 plants. So far, I’m good. I will put these in full shade and avoid burnout when I have a high altitude sunburn day. I had a strong sun yesterday and it sunburned my strawberry leaves before my last frost date.

Although one Lovage is plenty for salads, teas, and spices, its essential oil is also used in perfumes.  If I keep all 5, I will find places for them all and distill essential oil.

This butterfly host plant is beloved of swallowtail butterflies, my favorites.

I never grow celery because Lovage is a wonderful perennial substitute.  I use Lovage in any recipe that needs celery flavor, and in salads, and all parts are edible.

Lovage was a medicinal herb garden staple back in the days of wise women and home remedies.  Also well known in monastery herbals as well.  All parts of the plant are also used medicinally.

This plant can treat urinary tract infections, and treat kidney and bladder stones.  Another common use is for digestive problems, including upset stomach, flatulence, colic, and poor appetite.  It has been used for bronchitis.

As a medicinal, it has a number of other uses, many using leaves or roots.  Roots are harvested from 3 year old plants and I have a way to go before considering root harvest, and will surely need all 5 plants for that experiment.  I have, however, harvested leaves and dried them for winter use as spice and teas.  The seeds also make a good winter spice.

Lovage is primo rabbit food and one of many things I want to grow for sharing with my proposed livestock.  I am not a fan of pellets and such and little by little, I am adding plants that not only feed me, but will feed livestock as well.  Lovage is one especially for rabbits.  That said, Lovage will be eaten to the ground by wild rabbits!  Hence, 24 inch high beds.  Not that raised beds will deter mule deer, but Lovage is deer resistant.  The trick with deer is that they will eat anything if they are hungry enough.  I plant away from the house for them and use deterrents.

At any rate, these little seedlings will go in their permanent spot about the time I am harvesting annual vegetables.

I finally got some rain today, it has gotten dry.  The weather rreport says an inch of snow tonight, another inch tomorrow night, and rain on Monday.  Goodness, I am having trouble moving forward on my garden, the warm season plants are safe inside.

Lovage is awesome, I hope it can live at my mountain home.



About rebeccatreeseed

I am a naturalist raised by naturalists. Treeseed is my earned name, while Rebecca is my birth name. I am of Northern European descent, with a quarter Irish.quarter thrown in. I suspect I was a product of northern invaders into Ireland into Ireland. but hard to say since DNA disproved the family story about Apache blood! I have found some odd ancestors to replace them. Last year I bought 5 acres of pinyon-juniper forest on the side of a mountain in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. I am fulfilling a lifetime dream of a cabin in the mountains and a food forest that will feed me and local wildlife. I want to share this new phase of my life with others that might be interested.
This entry was posted in Circular Economy, food forest, gardening, medicinal plants, permaculture, Prepper, rabbits and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Potting Up, Lovage (Levisticum officinale)

  1. What a great post – you get so much information into your articles! I didn’t know lovage is so versatile and useful – but then, most herbs are. By now I am beginning to imagine your home as some sort of a laboratory supplied by all the wonders of your cultivation! However, you do have to cope with difficult weather conditions, and it seems you need to keep a constant eye out for unexpected changes, and mischievous wildlife…

  2. Not much beats time spent outside observing plants and growing them. I like preserving and cooking too. I dry a lot of plants for teas which are medicinal and drink them in winter like tonics. I wanted to be a forest ranger when I was young, so I could live on a mountain in a glass ranger station. Growing up in the woods with two curious and creative parents gave me an extra dose of independence and curiosity about the natural world that I love so much. Studying Biology at the University reinforced my interest in how it all works, chemistry and geology classes were amazing. More than anything… my love for the natural world.

  3. Helen says:

    I tried to grow lovage last year but it only grew a few inches. I have plenty of seeds left, so I will try again – inside. I didn’t realise lovage was perennial, so the original might have gone in the compost bin.

    How long does lovage take to reach maximum height? I will have to think about where best to place it.

  4. Hi Helen,
    It depends on conditions, but it takes a couple years. I got seed from my neighbor’s plant and it was 7’x3′, maybe 4 years old. In Seattle, about perfect, mine grew quickly in partial shade. In Dallas, in full shade and with water it did well too. Here in New Mexico I killed a small one my first spring, with only about 3 hours of morning sun. I will have to have shade for it. I have a shady damp spot on the north side, but will have to make a raised bed to keep rabbits out. I call it a slow starter, not so big the first year.

  5. Debra says:

    Rebecca, having lived in the foothills of Colorado I wanted to suggest that you tie a few white plastic bags around your beds (about tail height) for any deer in your area. We had tremendous luck deterring deer as it “imitates” the warning signal of a raised tail for danger for the deer. And at least – a use for all those horrid store white plastic bags! Love your site! I am learning a lot – especially about hugelkultur beds, tho I have trouble spelling it correctly….thanks for a wonderful site.

    • Debra
      Thanks for the tip! Have white bags, will put them out. I had a rock squirrel dig a nest, I trashed his tunnel 3 days in a row. All this and my vegetables are barely 2 inches tall. Oh my.

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