Valiantly Growing Valerian: A Complete Guide

Table of Contents


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If you’re looking to add a touch of tranquility to your garden, look no further than valerian. This lovely, fragrant plant has been used for centuries for its calming properties, making it a popular choice for herb gardeners and nature enthusiasts alike. In this complete guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to successfully grow, care for, and use valerian in your own home. So grab your gardening gloves and let’s get started!

Benefits of Growing Your Own Valerian

Benefits of growing Valerian at home:

  • Can help to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation
  • May improve sleep quality and duration
  • Can be used as a natural remedy for insomnia
  • May have a calming effect on the nervous system
  • Can be used as a natural pain reliever
  • May help to regulate blood pressure

General Information About Valerian

Plant Family: Valerian belongs to the family Caprifoliaceae.
Plant Latin Name: Valeriana officinalis

Plant Variations Available

Valerian is a herbaceous plant that is widely recognized for its medicinal properties. It is commonly used as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments, including anxiety, insomnia, menstrual cramps, and digestive disorders.


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There are several variations of valerian, each with its unique properties and health benefits. Here are some of the most popular types of valerian:

1. Valeriana officinalis: This is the most common type of valerian and is grown in many parts of the world. It is known for its calming and sedative effects, making it an effective remedy for anxiety and sleep disorders.

2. Valeriana jatamansi: This type of valerian is native to the Himalayas and is known for its ability to enhance cognitive function, memory and learning. It is also used to treat anxiety, depression, and stress-related disorders.

3. Valeriana sitchensis: This variety of valerian grows in North America and is known for its analgesic properties. It is often used to alleviate pain associated with headaches, migraines, and neuralgia.


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4. Valerianella locusta: This type of valerian is also known as corn salad or lamb’s lettuce. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, making it an excellent addition to salads and other dishes.

5. Valeriana celtica: This variety of valerian is native to the Alps and is used to treat nervous tension, headaches, and insomnia.

Overall, valerian is a versatile plant with many health benefits. Whether you are looking to alleviate anxiety, improve cognitive function, or relieve pain, there is likely a type of valerian that can help you achieve your goals.

Germinating Valerian

Preferred Zones

If you’re looking to grow Valerian outdoors, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First and foremost, this hardy herbaceous perennial prefers cooler temperatures, so it’s best suited to zones 4 through 8. However, with proper care, Valerian can be grown in warmer regions as well.

When it comes to soil, Valerian prefers a rich and moist environment. Adding organic matter, such as compost or aged manure, can help to provide the nutrients that this plant craves. It’s also important to make sure that the soil stays consistently moist; if the plants dry out too much, they may struggle to recover.

Valerian does best in partial shade, although it can also tolerate full sun. However, in hot climates, full sun can cause the plants to become stressed and wilted. A location with filtered sunlight or afternoon shade can help to keep Valerian healthy and thriving.

One other thing to keep in mind is that Valerian is known to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. If you’re looking to encourage a healthy ecosystem in your backyard, growing Valerian can be a great way to do it.

Overall, Valerian is a hardy and versatile plant that can thrive in a wide range of conditions. With a little bit of care and attention, anyone from backyard gardeners to professional horticulturists can successfully grow this valuable herb. So if you’re looking to add a touch of natural beauty and herbal goodness to your outdoor space, consider giving Valerian a try!

Sowing Instructions

Are you ready to learn about the best methods for sowing Valerian? Then let’s get started!

First, let’s talk about when to sow Valerian. The best time to sow Valerian seeds is in late summer or early fall, as the cooler temperatures and shorter days allow for optimal germination. However, you can also sow Valerian seeds in the spring, but keep in mind that they may take longer to germinate.

Now let’s move on to the actual sowing process. Valerian seeds are quite small, so it’s important to sow them evenly across the soil surface. You can either sow them directly outdoors in a prepared bed or start them indoors and transplant them later.

If you’re sowing Valerian seeds directly outdoors, you’ll want to make sure the soil is well-draining and fertile. Start by removing any weeds and rocks from the area you plan to sow. Then, rake the soil until it’s smooth and level. Finally, sprinkle the Valerian seeds across the soil surface and lightly press them into the soil with your hand.

If you’re starting Valerian seeds indoors, you’ll want to use a seed-starting mix and either seed trays or small pots. Begin by filling your container with the seed-starting mix and moistening it. Then, sprinkle the Valerian seeds across the surface of the soil and cover them lightly with a layer of soil. Place the container in a warm, bright location and keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate.

Valerian plants prefer to grow in full sun to part shade and require consistent moisture to thrive. Once your Valerian seeds have germinated, thin the seedlings to about 8-12 inches apart if sowing outdoors or transplant them to larger pots if growing indoors.


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With these tips, you’ll be on your way to successfully sowing Valerian seeds and enjoying the unique beauty and calming properties of this lovely herb. Good luck!

Preparation Advice

Valerian is an herb that has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for anxiety, insomnia, and other stress-related conditions. If you are planning to grow valerian, there are a few things you need to know to ensure you get the best results.

Firstly, valerian is a hardy plant that can grow in a variety of soil types, but it does prefer moist, well-drained soil with a pH level of around 6.5-7.0. It also requires plenty of sunlight, so be sure to choose a location that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.

In terms of equipment, you will need a few basic gardening tools to get started. These include a shovel, rake, hoe, and watering can or hose. You may also want to invest in a good quality compost or fertilizer to help boost your valerian’s growth.

When it comes to planting, valerian seeds can be sown directly into the ground in the spring or fall. Alternatively, you can start them indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost and transplant them outside once the weather warms up. Be sure to give your valerian plants plenty of space to grow, as they can reach up to 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide!

Once your valerian plants are established, they should require minimal maintenance. Water them regularly, especially during dry spells, and keep an eye out for any pests or diseases that may be affecting them. If you notice any signs of trouble, consult a gardening expert for advice on how to deal with the problem.

Overall, growing valerian is a rewarding experience that can provide you with a natural, homegrown remedy for a variety of ailments. With the right preparation and equipment, you can cultivate a healthy and productive valerian garden that will provide you with years of enjoyment.

Germination Tools and Equipment

When it comes to germinating healthy Valerian, there are a few tools and equipment that you will need to have on hand. Valerian is a perennial herb that has been used for centuries to treat various health issues. It is not difficult to grow and can be started from seed.


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Firstly, you will need a seed tray or a pot with good drainage holes. Valerian seeds need well-draining soil to grow well, so make sure your pot or seed tray has holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain away.

You will also need a good quality seed starter soil mix. This type of soil has nutrients that seeds need to germinate and grow. Choosing a high-quality seed starter soil mix will give your seeds the best chance of germination success.

To germinate Valerian, you will need to create a warm and humid environment for them to grow in. This can be achieved by using a propagator or by covering your seed tray or pot with a clear plastic bag. This will help to keep the soil warm and moist, which is essential for successful germination.

Light is also important when it comes to germinating Valerian. It is best to place your seed tray or pot in a location that receives plenty of light, but not direct sunlight. Valerian needs around 14 hours of light per day for optimal growth, so you may need to supplement natural light with a grow light if you are growing indoors.


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Finally, patience is key when it comes to germinating Valerian. It can take up to 21 days for seeds to germinate, so be sure to keep your soil moist and well-drained, and monitor your plants daily to ensure healthy growth.

By having these tools and equipment on hand, along with a little patience, you can successfully germinate and grow healthy Valerian plants. Happy growing!

Growing Valerian

Light Requirements

Valerian is an enchanting herb with various medicinal properties that is widely used to induce calmness and relaxation. If you intend to cultivate this plant, providing the correct lighting conditions is essential for its growth and overall well-being.

Valerian is a light-demanding plant that requires 14-16 hours of light per day. As such, placing it in a spot that receives ample natural sunlight is ideal. A south-facing window or a location that receives direct sunlight for a few hours each day is perfect. If natural light isn’t accessible, fluorescent lights or LED grow lights that simulate natural light can be used.

When using artificial grow lights, it’s important to know the appropriate distance between the light source and the Valerian plant. A distance of about 6-10 inches is best for fluorescent lights, while an LED grow light should be kept closer to the plant, usually around 2-6 inches away.

It’s important to note that Valerian plants can also tolerate some shade, but excessive shade will hamper their growth and potentially damage the plant. If you suspect that your Valerian isn’t receiving enough light, there are signs you should watch for, such as yellowing of leaves, slow growth, and spindly stems.

To summarize, Valerian plants require at least 14-16 hours of light per day, natural light or artificial grow lights can be used, and the proper distance between the light source and the plant should be maintained. By providing adequate lighting, you can grow a flourishing Valerian plant that will reap numerous benefits.

Temperature Requirements

Valerian is an herbaceous plant that is commonly used for medicinal purposes. When it comes to growing Valerian, it is important to keep in mind its temperature requirements. Generally, Valerian prefers cooler temperatures and does best in areas where temperatures do not rise above 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius).

While Valerian can tolerate some warmer temperatures, sustained periods of high heat can stress the plant and cause it to struggle or even die. To ensure the health and successful growth of your Valerian plants, it is recommended to provide ample shade and moisture during hotter months. Avoid placing the plants in direct sunlight or in areas where heat is trapped, such as a south-facing wall or enclosed greenhouse.


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On the other hand, Valerian is relatively cold-hardy and is able to withstand frost and even snow in some cases. During the winter months, the plants can be kept outside as long as they are protected from harsh winds and blizzards.

Ultimately, keeping the temperature around 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit (15-21 degrees Celsius) will provide the optimal growing conditions for Valerian. By following these temperature guidelines and providing proper care for your Valerian plants, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of this beneficial herb.

My Favorite Tools For Growing Valerian

When it comes to caring for and maintaining the health of your valerian plants, having the right tools and equipment on hand can make all the difference. Here are some of the best tools and equipment you should consider investing in:

1. High-quality soil: Valerian plants need nutrient-rich soil to thrive. Invest in high-quality soil that has the right balance of nutrients to keep your valerian plants healthy and happy.

2. Fertilizer: In addition to good soil, your valerian plants will also benefit from regular fertilization. Look for a high-quality organic fertilizer that is specifically designed for herb plants.

3. Watering can or hose with a spray nozzle: Valerian plants love moisture, so you’ll want to make sure you water them regularly. A watering can or hose with a spray nozzle makes it easy to water your plants evenly without drowning them.

4. Pruning shears: Regular pruning is important for keeping your valerian plants healthy and encouraging new growth. Invest in a high-quality pair of pruning shears for easy and precise cutting.


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5. Garden gloves: Valerian plants can be messy to work with, so it’s important to protect your hands with a good pair of garden gloves. Look for gloves that are breathable and sturdy, yet flexible enough to allow you to work comfortably.

By having these essential tools and equipment on hand, you will be well-equipped to care for and maintain the health of your valerian plants. Remember to also give them plenty of love and attention, and they will reward you with beautiful blooms and a calming fragrance.

Preferred Soil Type

Valerian is a medicinal herb that has been used for centuries to promote relaxation and sleep. It is a hardy plant that can grow in a variety of soil types, as long as the soil is well-draining and nutrient-rich.

When it comes to soil pH, valerian prefers a slightly acidic environment with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. The soil should also have a good amount of organic matter, such as compost, to help with water retention and nutrient availability.

Valerian is a deep-rooted plant, so the soil should be deep enough to accommodate its long roots. The root system of valerian also benefits from a loose and friable soil texture, which allows for better water and nutrient uptake.


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In terms of soil moisture, valerian prefers consistently moist soil, but it does not tolerate waterlogged conditions. To prevent waterlogging, make sure the soil is well-draining and do not overwater the plant.

Adding a layer of mulch around the base of the valerian plant can also help retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weeds.

Overall, providing well-draining, nutrient-rich, slightly acidic soil with good water retention is essential for growing healthy valerian. With a little attention to soil requirements, you can grow this versatile herb in your home garden with ease.

Watering Requirements

Valerian is a beautiful and hardy plant that can add a touch of elegance to any garden. As with any other plant, watering is a crucial aspect of maintaining its health and vibrancy.

When it comes to watering Valerian, it is important to strike a balance between keeping the soil moist and avoiding overwatering. Valerian plants do best when the soil is kept evenly moist but not too wet. Overwatering can lead to root rot and fungal infections, which can quickly kill the plant.

In general, Valerian plants should be watered when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. This usually means watering once or twice a week, depending on the climate and soil conditions in your area.

During hot, dry spells, you may need to water your Valerian more frequently to prevent it from wilting. In these conditions, it’s a good idea to water in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid evaporation and ensure that the water reaches the root zone.

When watering Valerian, it’s important to avoid getting the foliage wet. Wet leaves can invite fungal diseases and increase the risk of pests. Instead, aim to water the soil directly and avoid splashing water on the leaves.

In summary, Valerian is a hardy plant that requires regular, even watering to stay healthy and vibrant. By keeping the soil moist but not too wet and avoiding getting the leaves wet, you can help your Valerian thrive and add beauty to your garden for years to come.

What You Need To Know About Fertilizing Valerian

Valerian is a beautiful and versatile herb that can enhance the beauty of any garden. If you want to ensure that your Valerian plants are healthy and flourishing, it’s essential to provide them with the proper fertilizing requirements.

Valerian plants need a balanced fertilizer with a ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium of 10-10-10 for best growth results. You can add the fertilizer to the soil before planting the Valerian and then again every 4-6 weeks throughout the growing season.


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If you prefer organic fertilizers, you can use compost or well-rotted manure to the soil before planting. These natural fertilizers can provide the necessary nutrients for healthy plant growth and also improve the soil structure.

It is also essential to ensure that the Valerian plants receive adequate water and sunlight as part of their overall care routine. Valerian plants require at least six hours of sunlight per day, and the soil should not become too dry or waterlogged.

Overall, providing the right fertilizing requirements is essential to ensure that your Valerian plants thrive and produce healthy foliage and flowers. With regular fertilizing and proper care, you can enjoy a beautiful and healthy Valerian garden for years to come.

My Favorite Fertilizers For Valerian

Valerian is a popular herb used for its sedative effects and as a natural remedy for anxiety and sleep disorders. If you’re looking to grow valerian at home, you’ll want to provide it with the best fertilizers to ensure optimal growth, health, and potency.

Organic fertilizer is a great choice for valerian because it contains natural ingredients that nourish the plants without any harsh chemicals. Look for organic fertilizers that have a good balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are essential nutrients for healthy root development and abundant flowering.

Another great option is to use worm castings, which are rich in nutrients and beneficial microorganisms that promote healthy soil, strong roots, and vigorous growth. Valerian plants can benefit from frequent applications of worm castings throughout the growing season.

Compost tea is also a fantastic fertilizer for valerian. It provides a nutrient-rich liquid that contains beneficial microbes and fungi that help break down organic matter, making it easier for plants to absorb nutrients. Applying compost tea to your valerian plants can improve soil quality and plant health.

In addition to these fertilizers, it’s important to ensure that your valerian plants are getting enough water and sunlight. Valerian prefers moist, well-drained soil and partial shade to full sun. With the right care and fertilizers, you can enjoy a beautiful and healthy valerian harvest.

Harvesting Valerian

Time To Maturity

Valerian is a perennial plant that typically takes about two years to reach maturity from the time it sprouts. This plant is known for its delicate, fragrant flowers that bloom in late spring and early summer.

In its first year, valerian will typically focus on developing its root system and producing a small rosette of green leaves on top of the soil. During this time, it’s important to make sure the plant has a good source of nutrients and is not being crowded out by weeds or other plants.

In the second year, valerian will put more energy into producing larger leaves and stems, as well as developing its characteristic flowers. It’s important to provide the plant with plenty of sunlight and well-draining soil during this time, as well as regular watering and occasional fertilization.

Once valerian reaches maturity, it can produce a large number of flowers and can be harvested for medicinal purposes. The roots of the plant are used in traditional medicine to treat anxiety, insomnia, and other conditions, while the leaves and stems can be used to make tea, tinctures, or other remedies.

Overall, valerian is a hardy and resilient plant that requires patience and care to reach its full potential. With proper attention, it can thrive in a variety of growing conditions and provide a wealth of benefits to those who cultivate it.

Harvest Instructions

Valerian is a perennial herb known for its sedative and calming properties. It is mainly used to treat insomnia, anxiety, and nervousness. Valerian is easily recognizable by its tall, slender stems, and delicate pink or white flowers. If you are interested in harvesting valerian, here is a helpful guide to get you started.

Best Time to Harvest Valerian

Valerian is most potent when harvested in the fall, around September or October. This is when the plant’s root contains the highest concentration of valerenic acid, the active compound in valerian, which contributes to its therapeutic benefits.

Tools Required for Harvesting Valerian

To harvest valerian, you will need the following tools:

1. Garden gloves
2. Pruning shears/Scissors
3. Trowel
4. Plastic bags


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Steps for Harvesting Valerian

1. Identify the valerian plant

Before you begin harvesting, make sure you are harvesting the correct plant. Valerian is easily recognizable by its tall stems, pink or white flowers, and pungent aroma.

2. Wear gloves

Valerian has an unpleasant odor that can linger on your hands, so it’s best to wear gloves while harvesting.

3. Harvest the roots

Using a trowel, dig around the plant to loosen the soil around the roots. Pull the root gently and continue to excavate the soil under it to get a complete root system. Be careful not to damage the roots – this can make them less effective.

4. Trim off excess leaves and stems

Remove any excess leaves or stems attached to the root by using scissors or pruning shears. This will help the plant conserve its energy and improve its viability.

5. Rinse the roots

Once you have harvested the roots, rinse them under running water to remove any excess dirt. Don’t use soap or any other chemicals – this can compromise the quality of the root.

6. Dry the roots

Dry the roots with a towel, and then lay them on a clean paper towel to dry. Leave them in a warm, dry, and well-ventilated area for several days. Turn the roots regularly to ensure even drying.

7. Store the roots

Store the dried roots in an airtight container, preferably glass, to keep moisture out. Keep them in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and humidity.


It’s important to note that

My Favorite Tools For Harvest Time

When it comes to harvesting Valerian, having the proper tools and equipment is crucial in ensuring a successful and efficient harvest. Here are some of the best tools and equipment for Valerian harvesting:

1) Pruning shears: These are the go-to tool for harvesting the leaves and stems of the Valerian plant. Look for a sturdy pair with sharp blades to make clean cuts and prevent damaging the plant.

2) Garden gloves: Valerian can have a pungent smell that can irritate skin, so wearing gloves will protect your hands and make harvesting more comfortable.

3) A basket or bucket: Once the Valerian is cut, it’s important to have a sturdy container to store the harvest in. An open basket or bucket is ideal since it allows air circulation and prevents the Valerian from wilting.

4) Scissors or sharp knife: If you’re harvesting the Valerian’s root, you’ll need a pair of scissors or a sharp knife to cut through the tough root system.

5) A shovel or garden fork: If you’re harvesting a mature Valerian plant for its root, you’ll need a shovel or garden fork to dig up the entire root system.

6) A drying rack: After harvesting the Valerian, you’ll need to dry the leaves or root before storage. A drying rack with good air circulation is ideal for this process.

Overall, having the right tools and equipment for harvesting Valerian can make the process more efficient and protect the plant from damage. Happy harvesting!

End of Season & Overwintering

Valerian is a beautiful plant that blooms in the summer months, varying in shades of pink, white, and purple. If you would like to continue enjoying your Valerian next year, you need to overwinter it diligently. This guidance will not only save you the expense of buying fresh plants next year but also help you hone your gardening skills.

End of season care for Valerian plants is crucial to ensure that they survive the winter months so they can re-bloom in the spring. As the growing season progresses, you need to keep an eye on your Valerian plants to determine when they have finished blooming. When the flowers start to fade, remove the spent flowers from your plants to encourage more blooms.

As fall approaches and the temperature starts to drop, Valerian plants become dormant. This is where overwintering comes in. You need to cut back the foliage of the plants down to within an inch or two of the soil. Use a sharp pair of pruning shears and make clean cuts to reduce the likelihood of diseases. Next, remove any weeds, dead leaves or debris that may harbor pests or diseases.

Now that you have cleaned up the plants, you need to cover the soil around the Valerian plants with a thick layer of mulch. A good quality mulch like straw, wood chips, or leaves will protect the roots of the Valerian plant from extreme temperatures that can freeze and damage them.

Once that is completed, move the containers into a cool, dry place like a garage or basement where temperatures stay consistently between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Check on the plants a few times during the winter and make sure they stay slightly dry. Overwatering can be harmful and cause the roots to rot and die.

In conclusion, overwintering your Valerian plants is easy as long as you follow the instructions given. They will enjoy their dormancy indoors and next spring, they will re-bloom in their full glory! With such awestruck sight, you would wish to have overwintered them again!

Final Thoughts on Valerian

Congratulations on completing this comprehensive guide to germinating, growing, and harvesting Valerian! You’ve learned about the ideal growing conditions for this versatile herb, from soil and watering needs to lighting and temperature requirements. You also discovered different propagation techniques and steps to ensure successful germination. Throughout the growing process, you were taught how to care for your Valerian plant and troubleshoot any issues that may arise.

Now that you have gained a wealth of knowledge on Valerian, it is time to start harvesting. Remember that harvesting the roots and the leaves at different times in the plant’s growth cycle can provide different benefits. Harvesting the roots in the fall after the plant has flowered maximizes its medicinal properties, while harvesting the leaves earlier in the year yields a milder effect.

As you continue to grow and harvest Valerian, it is important to always exercise caution and seek professional advice in using its various forms. Valerian has been used for centuries for its calming properties, but it also has side effects and interactions that need to be considered.

In conclusion, Valerian is a wonderful addition to any herbal garden, and with the skills and knowledge you’ve acquired through this guide, you are well-equipped to grow and harvest it successfully. Enjoy the benefits of this versatile herb, and continue on your journey of learning about the wonderful world of gardening and herbalism.

Frequently Asked Questions About Growing Valerian

Q: What is Valerian, and why should I grow it?
A: Valerian is a flowering plant that has been used as a natural remedy for conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and headaches. It is also known to have calming effects and can help improve sleep quality. Growing Valerian in your garden can provide you with a readily available source of this beneficial herb.

Q: How do I grow Valerian?
A: Valerian requires well-drained soil that is rich in nutrients with a pH of around 6.0-7.0. It prefers full sun to partial shade and can be planted from seeds or root cuttings. It is a hardy plant that grows up to 5 feet tall and blooms in the summer with white or pink flowers. Valerian is also relatively low-maintenance and requires only occasional watering and fertilization.

Q: When is the best time to harvest Valerian?
A: The best time to harvest Valerian is usually in the fall, after the plant has finished flowering. It’s recommended to wait until the roots have matured, which can take up to three years, to ensure maximum potency. The roots can be harvested by carefully digging them up and drying them in a cool, dry place. Once dried, the roots can be used whole or ground into a powder for use in teas, tinctures, or supplements.

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