Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Centranthus ruber, Red Valerian

Pink and white flowers of 'Valerian'
 Centranthus ruber

 This hardy perennial from southern Europe is sometimes given the name 'kiss-me-quick' which seems an appropriate name for today. It is flowering well at the moment and the flowers can be described technically as dense cymes of funnel shaped fragrant flowers shaded pink, white or crimson. The lance shaped leaves are grey green and clasp a single woody stem which often flops over unless pruned to make the plant more bushy. It is a bit of a stalwart found in old Australian country gardens and abandoned farm houses, as it is not fussy about soil or water. In fact, in Europe it is often found growing on rocky cliffs, railway embankments or out of old walls, loving the limey soil and rough ground. Given these conditions in a garden it will reward you with continual flowers over summer and will probably self seed without ever becoming weedy.
2017 update: I grow it from time to time but am currently out of stock.

1 comment:

  1. I love the red flowered valerian but find the white flowered form somewhat dull. I find this plant grows best in a cooler climate such as found in the tablelands. I have also noticed that the rabbits won't touch it.