Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Valerian, Garden Heliotrope, All Heal
Valeriana officinalis

Family: Caprifoliaceae (cap-ree-foh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info) (cap-ree-foh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Valeriana (va-ler-ee-AH-nuh) (Info)
Species: officinalis (oh-fiss-ih-NAH-liss) (Info)

10 vendors have this plant for sale.

58 members have or want this plant for trade.


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
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)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Pale Pink
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 34 photos.
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6 positives
3 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative coriaceous On Feb 21, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Connecticut has banned trading, transporting, or planting this species as a noxious weed and an invasive plant destructive to natural areas.

Neutral wonkyostrich On Jun 7, 2011, wonkyostrich from cardiff
United Kingdom wrote:

i bought this plant and planted it up in my clay soil and it seems to be doing ok and is flowering with tall white blooms that look very nice although i am aware that this is not a native of britain and was introduced in the 19th century as a captive herb but self seeded and is now considered as native because it covers the whole of the country and is a pest to get rid of but it is a very nice plant to give height to a garden border.

Positive gardenwife On May 23, 2008, gardenwife from Newark, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

A friend gave me starts of valerian five or more years ago and it has never taken over any place I've planted it. It thrives in the fairly dry beds I have it in, too. The fragrance is so sweet, just outstanding, and I love its ferny foliage.

Positive Joy On Jul 13, 2006, Joy from Kalama, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Valerian roots will give a cat the same sense of ecstasy as catnip. Valerian is a mild stimulant. Though it doesn't do any harm, it shouldn't be given to cats with kidney ailments.

My cats seem to prefer Valerian over Catnip.

Positive Gabrielle On Jan 29, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

Valerian is nice in the back of a garden where it doesn't tower over smaller plants. Because of its straight, long stalks, it seems to provide the look of a garden structure as much as a plant. It is slow to germinate.

Positive Kruch72 On Nov 3, 2004, Kruch72 from Elgin, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

Spring to early summer bloomer with fragrant flowers that smell like vanilla. Plant doesn't need staking very sturdy. Nice fern-like foilage all summer. Spreads on it own runners.

Positive mominem On Apr 22, 2004, mominem from Ashton, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

This plant will grow quite happily in a container and overwinters without needing to be mulched or protected. The seedlings are easy to pull although they do tend to pop up at quite a distance to the mother plant. Seeds are carried by wind. Deadheading will provoke a second, smaller flush of blooms.

Positive saya On Sep 8, 2003, saya from Heerlen
Netherlands (Zone 8b) wrote:

I love its fragrance during late spring. Blooms at that time when there is so much to do in the garden. The scent is like almond blossoms and fills my whole garden. Wouldn't miss it for this. It blooms about 4 weeks in my garden. Attracts bees and butterflies. I have it in my garden for several years now. I have 'nt experienced it as spring I may find two or three seedlings, easy to recognize and easy to pull out. I have medium dry/moist soil conditions for it.

Neutral lupinelover On Sep 7, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Staking valerian as it grows its floral stalks helps it keep a flower appearance, rather than a weed appearance.

Neutral poppysue On Aug 10, 2001, poppysue from Westbrook, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

Valerian grows wild along the roadsides ditches and in wet meadows. The plants get 5-6 feet tall when they're happy in a moist soil. It has a very sweet fragrance that perfumes the air for several weeks in early summer. The roots of the plant are used as a medicinal herb - a mild sedative. It's an aggressive spreader ao make sure to give it plenty of room or plant it were it won't crowd out other plants.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Seward, Alaska
Berkeley, California
Kiowa, Colorado
Temple, Georgia
Ashton, Illinois
Evanston, Illinois
Inwood, Iowa
Sioux Center, Iowa
Manhattan, Kansas
Barbourville, Kentucky
Prospect, Kentucky
Falmouth, Maine
Lisbon, Maine
Portland, Maine
Douglas, Massachusetts
Mashpee, Massachusetts
Southborough, Massachusetts
Adrian, Michigan
Ferrysburg, Michigan
Marquette, Michigan
Andover, Minnesota
Marietta, Mississippi
Eunice, Missouri
Helena, Montana
Lincoln, Nebraska
Middletown, New Jersey
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Croton On Hudson, New York
Hilton, New York
Naples, New York
Cincinnati, Ohio
Corning, Ohio
Grove City, Ohio
Newark, Ohio
Astoria, Oregon
Eagle Point, Oregon
Bellefonte, Pennsylvania
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
North Scituate, Rhode Island
Salt Lake City, Utah
Great Falls, Virginia
Wytheville, Virginia
Gold Bar, Washington
Kalama, Washington
Stanwood, Washington
Vancouver, Washington
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Spooner, Wisconsin

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