Plant of the Month – February


Red Valerian
Jupiter’s Beard
Centranthus ruber

  • Plant Form: Perennial sub-shrub
  • Water Use: Very low, low
  • Mature Size: 2-3 ft. tall x 1-2 ft. wide
  • Exposure: Full sun, light shade
  • Bloom Time: Spring (March – May),
    Summer (June – Aug), Fall
    (Sept – Nov)
  • Native to: Mediterranean region,
    North Africa
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to -10°F

The lush nature of Red Valerian will fool you with it contrasting assets: drought-tolerance, frost-tolerance, minimal water needs, resistance to rabbits and deer, and tolerance of poor soils. This tough, fast-growing sub-shrub is long blooming, attracts butterflies, has fragrant flowers and foliage, is useful for erosion control, and makes great cut-flower bouquets. Why isn’t it in your yard?

Red Valerian, also known as Jupiter’s Beard, is a moderately fast-growing, erect sub-shrub that is not fussy about its growing conditions.  Showy, rose-red flowers appear continuously from late spring through summer and even into fall. The cultivar ‘coccineus’ is especially long-blooming. This tough, drought-tolerant plant tolerates poor soils and thrives with minimal water and care once established. Reasons to love this woody-based, evergreen perennial include its resistance to rabbits and deer, fragrant flowers and foliage, its almost nonstop blooming, its attraction for butterflies, its use for cut flowers, and erosion control because it can naturalize when happy on a site. Its brilliant flowers are small but profuse. Provide deep but infrequent watering, but don’t overwater established plants. Cut plants back in mid-spring. Valued in cottage gardens, over stone walls, on slopes or banks to prevent erosion, in borders, or as a colorful groundcover.  Good for cut flower bouquets.

Check out our “Garden Tasks” for February