How to Grow Valeriana Plants in your Garden

Guide to Growing Valerian, All-heal, and Garden heliotrope

Valeriana are hardy perennials that reach from 15 to 90 cm (6 to 36 inches) in height.

They bloom in the summer, and carry clustered heads of tiny white or pink flowers on branches.

Some of the common varieties of Valeriana grown in the garden include Valerian and Garden Heliotrope.

Check out my guide on how to grow Valeriana officinalis.

Valeriana obtusifolia
Valeriana obtusifolia by Pato Novoa.

Valeriana officinalis
Valeriana officinalis by Pamla J. Eisenberg.

How to Grow Valeriana

Valeriana Growing Guide and Facts

Common Names: Garden heliotrope, All-heal, Valerian: Garden; Alpine; Mountain; Spikenard; Californian; Marsh.
Scientific Name: Valeriana dioica; V. hardwickii; Valeriana officinalis; V. pyrenaica.
Life Cycle: Hardy Perennial.
Height: 6 to 60 inches (15—150 cm).
Native: Europe, Americas, and western Asia.
Growing region: Zones 4 to 9.
Flowers: Summer.
Flower Details: White, pink. Tiny. Salverform. Strongly fragrant. Massed in heads. Showy.
Foliage: Clumped. Scented. Basal foliage is deeply lobed. Stem foliage is sparse, odd-pinnate, toothed, and lance-like.

Sow Outside: Cover seed. Start of spring - before the last frost.
Sow Inside: Germination time: three to four weeks. Temperature: 70°F (21°C). About eleven weeks before expected last frost. Transplant outdoors following the last frost. Space at 6 to 24 inches (15—60 cm).
Requirements and care: Full sunlight or partial shade. Mist soil. Slightly acidic to neutral ph 5.5 to 7 for best results. Provide support. Deadhead to prevent seed-set. Cut back stems to the ground in autumn. Divide after four years to maintain vigor. Propagate: by dividing in the spring in cooler areas or the autumn in warmer areas. Self-seeds freely.
Family: Caprifoliaceae.
Miscellaneous: The roots of the Garden Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) are used in traditional medicine as a sedative, and in the treatment of anxiety. Can be invasive in some areas as it spreads from rhizomes; consider growing in a contained area.

How to Grow Valeriana

If you plan to grow Valerian from seeds outdoors, then sow at the start of spring, and lightly cover the seeds.

The spacing that you sow at depends on the species of Valeriana. Sow small ones from 15 to 30 cm (6 to 12 inches) apart, and larger species from 45 cm to 60 cm (18 to 24 inches) apart.

Ideally Valerian should grow in a sunny or partially shaded part of the garden, that has a moist rich soil. Ideally pH should be from 5.5 to 7.0.

If first growing indoors, then start about three months in advance. The germination time of Valeriana is about three weeks when done at a germination temperature of 20 to 23 degrees centigrade(68-73°F).

Transplant the young Valeriana seedlings into the garden following the last frost.

Caring for Valerian

It is pretty easy to look after Valeriana plants such as Valerian and Garden heliotrope.

They enjoy a moist soil, so keep them well watered. Stake larger Valeriana species. Deadhead flowers before seed set. Divide every three years to maintain vigour.

If you want to propagate Valerian, then divide in spring or autumn.

Common Questions

How many members does the Valeriana genus have?

The Valeriana genus comprises around 200 species, many of which are used for their medicinal properties.

Do members of Valeriana make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Valeriana species can add a graceful touch to gardens with their clusters of small, fragrant flowers.

Which Valeriana species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The most commonly grown Valeriana species is Valeriana officinalis, also known as garden heliotrope or garden valerian.

Are members of the Valeriana plant genus fragrant?

Yes, Valeriana officinalis is known for its sweet, unusual scent that can fill a garden in the evening.

What is the perfect location to grow Valeriana?

Valeriana prefers a location in full sun to partial shade with moist, well-drained soil.

Is Valeriana invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Valeriana officinalis is considered invasive in some states, including the Pacific Northwest and Midwest regions.

How do I remove Valeriana plants from my garden?

Remove Valeriana by pulling up the entire plant, including the root system, to prevent it from re-sprouting.


The Valeriana plant genus contains perennial plants native to Europe and Asia. They are recognized for their small, fragrant flowers and pinnate leaves. The roots of certain species are used in traditional medicine for their calming properties.

Grow Valeriana from seeds or divisions, preferably in spring. They thrive in full sun to partial shade and prefer well-drained, rich soil. Regular watering is necessary, particularly during dry periods. Most species are frost hardy and require little maintenance once established.

I hope that you found this guide on how to grow Valeriana plants in your garden. You may also enjoy my gardening guides on how to grow Weigela florida, Cephalaria, and Patrinia plants.