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Centranthus (sen-TRAN-thus)

Common Name:  Red valerian

Light:  - Full sun to part sun

Soil:  Average, well-drained

Moisture:  Average to dry, drought tolerant

Bloom Time:  Summer

Zones:  4 - 8

Centranthus ruber 'Coccineus'

Centranthus Description and Cultural Information

Centranthus ruber, red valerian. 1' - 3'. These plants have fleshy, blue-green leaves with clusters of pink, rose, coral-red, or white flowers on tall, branching stems. They have a very long bloom season and make excellent cut flowers but seed out like weeds if not dead-headed. 'Coccineus' has carmine-rose flowers. 'Albus' has white flowers.

How to Grow:  Red valerian is a very adaptable plant that is very easy grow (maybe too easy) in any well-drained, average to sandy soil in full sun to partial shade. Cut plants back after flowering if they flop over, which may occur in soil that is too rich, and be sure to cut back before they produce seed to prevent hundreds of self-sown seedlings. If they do drop seeds be prepared to weed out the seedlings for years to come.

Landscape Uses:  Red valerian is useful for poor, dry locations such as the cottage or meadow garden where their self-sown seedlings won't pose too much of a nuisance. Plant them with other drought tolerant plants such as yarrow (Achillea), coreopsis, and lamb's ear (Stachys). Accent the coral pink blooms with blue and lavender plants such as bluebeard (Caryopteris), Scabiosa, Iris, and Veronica.

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