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Valeriana officinalis, photo courtesy of Rob Cardillo
Valeriana officinalis, photo courtesy of Rob Cardillo

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Valeriana officinalis

Valerian, Garden Heliotrope
Perennials, Flowers

Hardy flowering perennial fromEurope and western Asia. To5 ft. tall in bloom, spreading to4 ft. wide. Most of the foliageremains fairly close to ground.Light green leaves, each with8 to 10 pairs of narrow, jagged-edgedleaflets. Tall, straightflowering stems carry tiny, fragrantpink blossoms in roundedclusters at stem ends in summer;useful for cut flowers.White- and red-flowered formsexist. The strong-smelling rootsare widely used in herbal preparationsthat are said to havesedative qualities. Roots alsoattract cats.

Start new plants from seed ordivisions. Grow in mixed herbor flower borders, but be awarethat it can become invasive;don’t let it crowd other plants.

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