Valerian Growing Guide

Valeriana officinalis


Crop Rotation Group



Any average, well drained soil.


Full sun to partial afternoon shade.

Frost tolerant

Extremely cold hardy, even in harsh winter climates. Plants die back to the ground in winter and re-emerge in spring.


Not generally needed.


Often planted with low, mound-forming herbs and flowers. Valerian can stand 1.5 m (5ft) tall when it is in full bloom.


Single Plants: 90cm (2' 11") each way (minimum)
Rows: 90cm (2' 11") with 90cm (2' 11") row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Start with a purchased plant, or start seeds indoors and set out seedlings two to four weeks before your last frost. After two years, valerian will grow into a 18" (45 cm) wide clump.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Valerian produces extremely fragrant flowers in early summer. Gather them for use as cut flowers to keep valerian from reseeding and becoming invasive.


Dig roots in fall or early spring and dry outdoors, because they release an unpleasant smell as they dry. Store in airtight container. Dried valerian roots are used to make a bedtime tea that promotes sleep. They are also much loved by cats and dogs.


Control valerian's spread by cutting back flowering stems before they can shed seeds in your garden.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Valerian