Hardiness: USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F) USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F) USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F) USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F) USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F) USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F) USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F) USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)
Sun Exposure: Full Sun Sun to Partial Shade Light Shade
Bloom Color: Magenta (Pink-Purple) Red
Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer Mid Summer
Other details: May be a noxious weed or invasive This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds Flowers are fragrant Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season Flowers are good for cutting
Soil pH requirements: 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic) 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral) 7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
I like this guy. It's not at all invasive in my zone 5 garden, but does a good job of being a colorful filler in front of the delphiniums. I did have to replace them after a few years as they started to peter out some.
On Jun 4, 2010, Seanmhair from Lubbock, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:
I planted Centranthus ruber " Alba" many years ago in my meadow garden under an oak. Our climate is hot and dry and the soil very alkaline. I find the white blossoms light and airy in the mixed shade and blend with everything from roses to lilies. I am very fond of it and trying seeds to share with family.
On Jun 4, 2010, vidaprodiga from Milton Freewater, OR wrote:
I have this plant growing in the most convenient locations in my garden. It luckily has planted their seeds in locations between my peonies, roses, and hydrangeas- making a great contracts with all my colors.
Juniper's beard attracts all the neighborhood hummingbirds, honey bees, and on a occasion a few bumble bees.
I enjoy picking these flowers and mixing them with my roses for a centerpiece!
Great flower and I love how it seeds itself for the next year. Hassle free and fragrant!
On May 5, 2010, TexasTam from Plano, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
I planted three Centranthus in my front no-lawn garden last year and was disappointed in the lack of blooms and vigor. This year...wow. The existing plants are now robust and covered with blooms and several new plants have popped up as well. The hummers seem to love it, so it stays for now. I will probably keep an eye on its invasiveness, however.
I had a tough spot. My backyard swimming pool is bounded by my house on one side and surrounded by a retaining wall on the other, and on top of the retaining wall, there isn't really any soil -- just rocks and very poor, dry dirt. On the house side of the pool, there's a rocky, dry strip that gave me fits. I tried growing Russian Sage there, and it didn't do very well at all. I tried growing Sempervivem, and it died. Feverfew would grow, but I wanted a little variety. So, I tried Red Valerian. It wasn't quick to establish (and I thought for a while that it wasn't going to make it). I had to water it fairly regularly at first. But now, it's thriving and spreading. One negative comment here said that the flower isn't very impressive, and I guess it's not, but the flowers are pretty and red and profuse. Actually, I just like the plant's leaves. They're a cheerful green and, even in the hottest, driest, dustiest summertime, look lush and shiny, except at the ends of stems, which sometimes get ragged and black along the sidewalk around the pool edge. They do self-seed a fair amount, and while I only planted Red Valerian on one side of my pool, they've somehow self-seeded onto the other side across the expanse of the pool itself. They also sprawl (as one negative comment here said). But they still get some height to them -- enough in my case to screen my house's foundation from view. Overall, from my experience, they're an ideal plant for really tough, dry spots.
On Apr 8, 2008, Witchie from Belle Chasse, LA wrote:
This plant is very prolific and has a tendency to spread rapidly;hence will fill in a barren area.However, in warmer zones will show invasive properties.I have experience with this plant in Wichita, Kansas as well as in California.
On Jan 31, 2007, Bellisgirl from Spokane, WA wrote:
HI! Ive had this plant for almost five years. It grows great in my droughty conditions. Its a short lived plant, but there are always new seedlings to replace it. It does reseed profusley, but I have no trouble just plucking up the unwanted seedlings. The flowers do smell bad, as do the roots. By the way I think its relitive Valerian officinals is the one that was an herb, I believe it was used as a seditive.
On Jul 11, 2006, JACQTODD from San Diego, CA wrote:
Just planted it this year - and agree it is a "takeover" plant. I have cut back pretty agressively as I have a small space. Intend to relocate it to an area where it may roam freely and provide better service to my landscape as a filler.
On Oct 22, 2005, isom from Mission BC Canada (Zone 8b) wrote:
I find that few plants are perfect for all conditions & all have something that aren't right for us, but I love Centranthus ruber. I like the look of a semi-wild or informal garden & the ease with which it grows suits me perfectly. Given a bright sunny location, I don't find it sprawls that much. Perhaps the soil is too rich for those who find this or it doesn't get enough hours of sun? Trimming the plants back & weeding out weak plants help keep it bushier. It looks particularly nice as a background plant with other low flowering plants in front. Butterflies & bees love it & I love to help them out as it's still flowering when most other flowers are finishing.
jermainiac mentioned that valerian root is a potent herb but this is not the same plant. While Centranthus is called red valerian, it's not the same as true valerian which has white flowers. Nor does this draw every cat in the neighbourhood to roll on the ground where the roots are like true valerian does.
On Apr 22, 2005, nevadagdn from Sparks, NV (Zone 7a) wrote:
Centranthus ruber is NOT "too invasive" in the Reno-Sparks, NV region. It does reseed moderately, and spreads a little, but it's nothing that can't be controlled by a quick tug on plants that emerge where they shouldn't. It's far less invasive than Euphorbia 'Chameleon', for example. It tolerates dryish clay soil and shade, so even though it's not the most beautiful of perennials, it rates as "very serviceable", and grows where little else will.
On Jan 29, 2005, pokerboy from Canberra Australia (Zone 8b) wrote:
I don't really like this plant as it is too invasive. It invades my whole garden, including the concrete paths. It appears through the cracks in them. Self seeds readily. drought tolerant and has pretty intense red or pink flowers. When pulling it out of the ground if you do not get every piece of root out bad luck, quadtriple the amount of plants turn up. Great for a place where it can be easily controlled or and open field so it can naturalise. Not for the average garden, especially not the smaller ones. pokerboy.
On May 27, 2004, cghoover8 from Albuquerque, NM wrote:
Sprawling and invasive, best suited where chaos is desirable. Although it reseeds regularly, I have not found that the seedlings are difficult to remove - thinning once or twice a year doesn't seem like that bad a chore. It will smother less aggressive companions. In our dry conditions (New Mexico), I have seen it used, strangely but effectively, with red yucca - the colors blend nicely, and the valerian can't overwhelm the yucca because it needs a lot more water.
On Apr 30, 2004, champignonvert from Berkeley, CA wrote:
Centranthus grows wild all over the San Francisco Bay area. Some botanists that I know say that is native to this area. It comes in red, pink, and white. It's such a joy to see hills and fields overflowing with these festive flowers.
Doing fantastically well at taking over whole sections of my garden here in South Australia. Our temperatures vary from around 0 in winter with mild frosts (32F) right up to 47 (116F) in summer and it copes very well in full sun and full shade even in these temperatures.
This lovely plant thrives in the Pacific Northwest. It blooms thru the Summer and Fall. So far this Fall, it has withstood several frosts in the 25-30 degree range. The foliage is still green and the plant appears healthy.
It is "invasive". One sees it all over England growing in the wild.
Still, we feel that it is a wonderful part of our garden.
On Oct 10, 2003, jermainiac from Seattle, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:
I have heard the roots are good for the soil... fixing nitrogen maybe? Anyway, the plant is invasive here. I once cut the flowers because they looked so pretty. Then I could figure out what that smell was. Aha! The cut flowers smell like cat pee!
Valerian root is a potent herb. Please be careful.
On Oct 7, 2003, clantonnaomi from Iredell, TX wrote:
I have grown this plant for about three years, and I am not impressed with it. There is little scent and the flowers are not that impressive. I have replanted it once but I will not continue with it. It does come back every year, and, if deadheaded the flowers will repeat, but it just does not do very well in central Texas.
Can be invasive in mild climates, such as Sunset Zone 24 in the coastal areas of southern California (U.S.) Helpful to cut it often and remove volunteers. This is a beautiful flower, lovely cut flower (for one day) but it will grow through concrete and thrive on benign neglect. In Sunset Zones 7 and 8, the heat beats it up somewhat and is lovely and quite manageable. I am wondering how it will do in Zone 1...
On Mar 8, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:
Easily grown from seed; may even bloom the first year (mine did.) Produces rosy-red, fragrant flowers in clusters 2-3 inches across from June-October. The flowers attract bees and butterflies. Self seeds vigorously; should be deadheaded to encourage re-bloom. May not bloom as vigorously in the heat of the South.
On the downside, it tends to flop - perhaps a full-sun site, with lower plants to help prop it up would help.
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
, (2 reports) , California Alameda, California Bayview, California Berkeley, California Clayton, California Concow, California Crockett, California Encinitas, California Fairfield, California (2 reports) Fremont, California Fresno, California Gilroy, California Irvine, California Long Beach, California Martinez, California Menlo Park, California Merced, California Redwood City, California Sacramento, California (2 reports) San Diego, California Simi Valley, California Sonoma, California Colorado Springs, Colorado Denver, Colorado Fort Collins, Colorado Highlands Ranch, Colorado Keystone Heights, Florida Aldora, Georgia Rincon, Georgia Boise, Idaho Boise City, Idaho Crystal Lake, Illinois La Grange Park, Illinois Mount Prospect, Illinois Spring Grove, Illinois Washington, Illinois Davenport, Iowa Olathe, Kansas Barbourville, Kentucky Ewing, Kentucky Hebron, Kentucky Forest Heights, Maryland Monrovia, Maryland Norton, Massachusetts Springfield, Massachusetts Ludington, Michigan Pinconning, Michigan Albertville, Minnesota St Paul, Minnesota (2 reports) Sparks, Nevada Trenton, New Jersey Alamogordo, New Mexico Albuquerque, New Mexico Ojo Amarillo, New Mexico Roswell, New Mexico Santa Fe, New Mexico Coram, New York Elba, New York Himrod, New York Wallkill, New York , Nova Scotia Cleveland, Ohio Fort Jennings, Ohio Madison, Ohio Ashland, Oregon Chiloquin, Oregon Dallas, Oregon Mill City, Oregon Milton-freewater, Oregon Portland, Oregon Springfield, Oregon East Norriton, Pennsylvania Grantley, Pennsylvania Christiana, Tennessee Knoxville, Tennessee Murfreesboro, Tennessee Belton, Texas Dallas, Texas Iredell, Texas Lubbock, Texas Plano, Texas Stagecoach, Texas Mount Olympus, Utah West Valley City, Utah Lanexa, Virginia Mineral, Virginia Eastgate, Washington Edgewood, Washington Kalama, Washington Lake Goodwin, Washington Port Townsend, Washington Riverton-boulevard Park, Washington Seattle, Washington Town And Country, Washington Twisp, Washington Madison, Wisconsin Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin