Valerian Plant

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) may be a flowering perennial that’s native to much of Europe and Asia. The word’s origins come from the Latin verb valere which suggests “to be strong and healthy”, and one among its common names is “all-heal.”

The valerian root is employed in many medicinal applications and it’s known to be an efficient sleep aid. It can get older to 5 feet tall, and when in bloom, the highest of the plant is roofed with small pale pink or white flowers. there’s a plant referred to as French honeysuckle (Centranthus ruber) that resembles it but isn’t related. French honeysuckle flowers are a way deeper pink color.

These flowers have a sweet scent that’s like vanilla and cloves and they’re attractive to pollinators thanks to their abundant nectar. Valerian attracts many species of flies (including hoverflies) and are a serious food source for several species of butterfly. Cats also appreciate the smell of the plant, almost quite they are doing with catnip.

Valerian’s healing properties are recorded since the times of Galen and Hippocrates. Herbalist Nicolas Culpeper recommended it as a preventive for the plague within the 17th century. the basis has been used for curing insomnia, coughs, menstrual cramps, and muscular pain, and therefore the leaves are used for creating a poultice for bruises.

Today most of the people use it to assist promote sleep or relaxation. It are often made into a tea or infusion or taken in capsule form. Some prefer capsules because the tea features a pungent odor and astringent taste which will be unpleasant. Though clinical studies haven’t proven its effectiveness, many of us swear by valerian as a sleep and relaxation aid.

Valerian makes an honest companion plant alongside echinacea, hummingbird mint, catnip, and dill. you’ll also cut the flower stalks for vases as they’re very decorative and fragrant and make a pleasant addition to bouquets.

Plant with oval lancet shaped leaves alternating on stems
Scientific Name Valeriana officinalis
Common Name Valerian, all-heal, garden heliotrope
Plant Type Perennial 
Mature Size 3 to 5 feet tall 
Sun Exposure Full sun to partial shade 
Soil Type Average, well-drained, loam
Soil pH Tolerant of most soils 
Bloom Time Early summer 
Flower Color White, pale pink 
Hardiness Zones USDA 3 to 9
Native Areas Europe, Asia
ToxicityCare should be taken when using internally

Valerian Care

Providing your valerian plant gets sufficient moisture, they’re a reasonably hardy species that will survive during a sort of temperature.


Valerian isn’t super sensitive to bright sunlight and may cope during a full sun position. Selecting somewhere where it’s access to afternoon sun during a partial sun situation, however, will help it thrive.


Valerian will grow in most soil types and textures as long as there’s good drainage, but it prefers a sandy loam. It tends to grow wild in grasslands and meadows. Clay soils might not have the drainage necessary to stay the plants consistently moist, so adding compost will help.


Valerian needs a uniform amount of sunshine moisture to thrive.

Temperature and Humidity

Valerian is extremely cold hardy and can survive harsh winter conditions. The plants die down in winter and emerge again in spring.


To prevent the roots of your valerian plants from becoming excessively large it’s best to avoid a typical NPK fertilizer and choose one that’s rich in nitrogen.


The best times to reap the roots of your valerian plant is either in spring or fall as that’s when the beneficial compounds are at their peak. After harvesting the roots, wash them well then spread or hang them to dry during a warm place. a coffee oven (100 degrees) works fine, as does a sunny window ledge in warm weather.

Be warned that the roots do have a robust smell while drying, so you’ll want to open some windows. Once dried, store the roots in an airtight container out of direct sunlight.

You’ll want to attend to start out harvesting the roots until autumn of the second year.


This plant features a tendency to reseed itself and spread, so trimming the spent flowers before they are going to seed will help prevent it from becoming invasive.

Propagating Valerian

Healthy established plants are often divided at the roots to supply new specimens in your garden. Any division should be done earlier instead of later to make sure the new roots of the dividing plants have time to embed before the winter arrives.

Growing Valerian From Seed

Valerian is definitely grown from seed by direct sowing within the garden in any case danger of frost has passed. Plant between 3/8 and 1/2 inch deep. The clumps will eventually increase to about 18 inches wide. It takes two to 3 weeks to germinate.

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