Valerian (Valeriana officinalis, Caprifoliaceae) is a perennial flowering plant, with heads of sweetly scented pink or white flowers that bloom in the summer and can reach a height of 1.5 metres (5 ft). Valerian flower extracts were used as a perfume in the 16th century.
Native to Europe and parts of Asia, valerian has been introduced into North America. It is consumed as food by the larvae of some butterfly and moth species including the grey pug.
Other names used for this plant include garden valerian (to distinguish it from other Valeriana species), garden heliotrope (although not related to Heliotropium), setwall and all-heal (which is also used for plants in the genus Stachys). 'Red Varerian' (which we also sell), often grown in gardens, is sometimes referred to as "valerian", but is a different species (Centranthus ruber) from the same family and not very closely related.
Type: Hardy Perennial
Location: Sun or part
Hardiness zones: 3-9
Seeds per pack: 50
Germination: As with many perennials, these seeds can benefit from a period of moist cold to help them break dormancy. This is done by giving them a cold 'winter' period (artificial or natural), and then a warming to simulate 'spring', and time to grow! Here's how this can be done:
Obtain a planting container that has holes in the bottom for excess water to drain. Place the seeds just under the surface of your growing medium, and water. Place your container in a cold area (but not freezing, perhaps a refrigerator) for 5-6 weeks. Once the cold period is completed, place the container at room temperature for them to germinate. Be sure to keep the soil moist during this entire germination period. Your seeds should appear a few weeks after bringing them into warmth.
If you are planting your seeds in late winter or spring, these seeds can be planted outdoors while it is still cool out (once the ground is workable and unfrozen), to receive the cold period naturally in the garden. It is best to use this method only if you are able to keep the soil moist for the entire germination period. Be sure to label the planting area.