Growing Guide
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Valerian, Red

Herbaceous Perennial Flower

Also known as Jupiter’s Beard, Keys of Heaven, Fox’s Bush
Centranthus ruber
Valerianaceae Family
Synonym: Valierana rubra, Valeriana coccinea

This low-maintenance, 2- to 3-foot-tall perennial bears showy, dense panicles of fragrant blooms in white, pink, blue or red. Flowers the first year when grown from seed, and makes a great cut flower.

Site Characteristics
  • full sun

Soil conditions:

  • tolerates droughty soil
  • requires well-drained soil
  • tolerates low fertility
Prefers poor soil that is neutral or slightly alkaline.

Hardiness zones:

  • 5 to 8
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: perennial

Ease-of-care: easy

Height: 1.5 to 3 feet

Spread: 2 to 3 feet

Bloom time:

  • mid-summer
  • late summer

Flower color:

  • red
  • blue
  • white
  • pink

Flowers are tiny and star-like.

Foliage color: gray-green

Leaves are dark, glossy gray-green.

Foliage texture: medium

Shape: upright

Shape in flower: flower stalks with upright spikes

Flowers borne in dense panicles atop semi-erect stems.

Special Considerations
Special characteristics:
  • aggressive - Self-seeds prolifically.
  • non-invasive
  • not native to North America - Native to the Mediterranean
  • fragrant
Special uses:
  • cut flowers
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by seed, cuttings, division or separation - Easy to grow from seed and plants usually flower the first year. Plant in containers in cold frame in spring.

Take basal cuttings in spring.

Divide in early spring or fall.

Maintenance and care:
Deadhead flowers to prevent reseeding and encourage foliar growth and secondary bloom. (Plants are often short-lived, so allowing some reseeding isn't a bad idea.)

Cut back to 6 to 8 inches in late summer to stimulate new growth and help overwintering. Don't prune again until spring clean-up.

Water when very dry.

Divide in spring or fall every 1 to 3 years.

More growing information: How to Grow Perennials

‘Albus’ has creamy white blooms and only grows to 2 feet.

‘Atrococcineus’ has deep red blooms.

‘Blue Giant’ has pale blue flowers.

‘Coccineus’ has rosy pink flowers and only grows to 2 feet.

‘Roseus’ has rosy-pink flowers.