18 May

Valerian (Centranthus ruber) evergreen, rounded to spreading growth to 2-3 ht. in height, spikes of white, pink or red flowers spring/summer, bluish-green to gray-green narrow leaves, full sun, very drought tolerant, likes poor soil, good cut flower, reseeds.

This Mediterranean native is a weed in many parts of the West. Self sows prolifically, thanks to small dandelion-like parachutes on seeds. When used in fringe areas of garden, though, it’s hard to beat for long, showy bloom. Forms a bushy clump to 3 ft. high and wide, with bluish green, 4-in.-long leaves. Small (about 1 1/2-in.-wide) flowers, in dense terminal clusters in late spring, early summer. In cool-summer climates, blooms sporadically throughout summer, sometimes into fall. Typical colors range from deep crimson to pale pink. There is also a white flowered form. Plants grow in poor, dry soils and tolerate almost any condition except damp shade. Cut off old flowering stems to shape plants and prevent self seeding.


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