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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Other Common Names Include:

Love parsley, sea parsley, lavose, smallage.

Latin Name: Levisticum officinale

Plant Family: Apiaceae

Close Relatives: Carrots, Dill, Coriander, Celery, Parsley, Angelica and Fennel.

Uses and Markets: Culinary (e.g. leaves used in salads and as flavouring for soups and stews, pealed roots used in casseroles, seeds used in breads and pastries); Medicinal (e.g. digestive disorders); Essential oil (e.g. flavouring for condiments and liqueurs).

Lovage plants.
Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone


Special Notes

Seed can take from 7-28 days for germination.

Propagation method

Most commonly by transplants from seed; less commonly by direct seeding or root division.

Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates

Late winter.

Field Seeding Date:


Field Transplanting Dates

May; divide plants in spring or fall.

In-row spacing

20-60 cm

Between row spacing

45-60 cm

Optimal Soil temperature at planting



No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions. Research from Finland showed an optimal nitrogen rate between 45 and 75 kg/ha. Higher rates led to increased nitrate levels in roots. Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

Well-drained soils, sandy or loam soils.

Soil pH


Special requirements for growth habit


Optimal Temperature Range

20-30 °C

Temperature sensitivity

Frost tolerant.

Irrigation requirements

Irrigation beneficial under normal Ontario conditions.

Days to harvest

Depends on end use – no harvest in first year.

Specialized equipment:


Harvest Scheduling

Single harvest (roots: early autumn after the second or third year), multiple harvest from the same planting (leaves: once per year before flowering; seeds: in autumn when flower heads turn brown.

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Hand harvest (leaves); machine harvest (roots: modified potato harvester; seeds: combine).

Quality parameters/grades

No established grades. Quality is determined by the market.

Additional Harvest Notes


Post harvest
Special handling/curing


Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH): 95% (fresh leaves)

Temperature: 0-2°C (fresh leaves)

Air Exchange: N/A

Duration: N/A

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates: Aphids, thrips.

Diseases: None

Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates: Leafminers, slugs.

Diseases: None.


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario:  aphids. This crop is in Crop Group 19: Herbs and Spices Group and subgroup 19A: Herb Subgroup when grown as an herb. This crop is in Crop Group 19: Herbs and Spices Group and subgroup 19B: Spice Subgroup, if it is harvested for its seeds. This crop group is being revised and may change in the near future. For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section.  Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product.  For more information, consult an OMAFRA specialist. For pest control products registered on this crop refer to OMAFRA Publication 838.

Aphids on lovage.
Additional Notes

Lovage, like many members of the carrot family, can cause dermatitis in some people.

Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1. Elford, E., Filotas, M., Todd, J., and S. Westerveld. 2009. Non-traditional crops demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  2. Westerveld, S., Elford, E., Filotas, M. and J. Todd. 2010-present. OMAFRA herb demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  1. Bown, D. 1995. Encyclopedia of herbs and their uses. Dorling Kindersley, London, UK.
  2. Galambosi, B. and Z. Szebeni-Galambosi. 1992. The effect of nitrogen fertilization and leaf-harvest on the root and leaf yield of lovage. Journal of Herbs, Spices and Medicinal Plants 1:3-13.
  3. Readers Digest. 2009. The Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs. The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc. Pleasentville, NY.
  4. Small, E. 2006. Culinary herbs, 2nd Edition. NRC Research Press, Ottawa.