Common valerian Valeriana officinalis

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
common valerian


V. officinalis is an upright herbaceous perennial to 1.5m tall, with curiously scented pinnate leaves and rounded clusters of small pink or white flowers in summer

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Common Valerian, Valerian, Garden Heliotrope, Garden Valerian, All-heal, Amantilla.

    • Common names

      Valeriana exaltata J.C.Mikan, Valeriana rubra Salisb., Valeriana sambucifolia J.C.Mikan, Valeriana officinalis subsp. sambucifolia (J.C.Mikan) Čelak.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      3-5 feet (0.9-1.5 meters)

    • Spread

      1-2 feet (0.3-0.6 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Relaxation aid: The scent of Valerian is known to have a calming effect that can help reduce stress.
    • Garden aesthetic: Valerian produces small, sweet-smelling flowers that can enhance the visual appeal of gardens or landscapes.
    • Attracts beneficial insects: Valerian can attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, which are important for the health of the ecosystem.
    • Soil improvement: Valerian plants are known to improve soil quality and structure over time as they decay and contribute to soil organic matter.
    • Companion planting: Valerian is sometimes used in companion planting to enhance the growth and health of surrounding plants.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Anxiolytic: Valerian is commonly used to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
    • Sedative: It has sedative properties and is often utilized to improve sleep quality.
    • Antispasmodic: Valerian may help in the relief of muscle spasms and gastrointestinal cramps.
    • Mild Analgesic: The plant can have a mild pain-relieving effect.
    • Neuroprotective: Some studies suggest that valerian has neuroprotective capabilities.
    • Cognitive Enhancer: There is some evidence that valerian may improve cognitive function in certain populations.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Valerian is often used in perfumery for its musky and woody fragrance notes, particularly in scents that aim to evoke a natural or earthy aroma.
    • Gardeners sometimes plant Valerian as a companion plant because its strong smell is said to attract earthworms, which improve soil quality.
    • Valerian roots can be used for dyeing fabric or paper, producing colors ranging from green to brown depending on the mordant.
    • The plant is sometimes included in sleep pillows alongside other herbs for its reputed calming scent, despite excluding any medical properties.
    • Valerian is used in traditional crafts, such as potpourri, for its fragrance and as an insect repellent in stored woolen garments.
    • In the past, Valerian was used in magic and folklore, often incorporated into protective charms or spells.
    • The flowers of the Valerian plant can be used in floral arrangements or decorative displays due to their small, delicate appearance.
    • Culinary use of Valerian is rare, but its young leaves can be used in salads or as a flavoring in soups and stews (avoiding excess owing to its strong flavor).
    • Valerian has been used in tinctures for cleaning and conditioning leather, benefiting from the natural oils present in the plant.
    • Some people use the strong scent of Valerian to naturally deter pests from garden or home areas, such as rodents or aphids.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    Valerian is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    Valerian is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Relaxation and Calmness: Valerian is well-known for its sedative properties, often used to aid sleep and reduce anxiety, symbolizing peace and tranquility.
    • Healing and Restoration: Historically used for its medicinal properties, valerian represents healing of the body and mind.
    • Love and Attraction: In some traditions, valerian has been used as a love potion, thereby symbolizing romantic attraction and affection.
    • Protection: It is sometimes considered a protective herb, thought to ward off evil and unwanted spirits.

Every 1-2 weeks
500 - 2500 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to early summer
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) thrives with consistent moisture, so it's important to keep the soil evenly damp but not waterlogged. During the growing season, water the plant with about 1 inch of water per week, which is roughly 0.6 gallons for an average-sized garden bed. In periods of drought or extreme heat, increase watering frequency to prevent the soil from drying out completely. Always water at the base of the plant to avoid wetting the foliage, as this can lead to fungal issues. During the winter or when the plant is dormant, reduce watering to prevent root rot, but make sure the soil does not completely dry out.

  • sunLight

    Valerian prefers full sun to partial shade. The best spot for this herb is a location where it can receive at least 6 hours of sunlight daily but still benefit from some afternoon shade in hotter climates. Valerian will grow in less-than-ideal light conditions, but flowering may be reduced in areas that are too shaded.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Valerian is hardy and can tolerate a wide temperature range; however, it grows best in moderate conditions between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It can survive minimum temperatures down to approximately 20 degrees Fahrenheit, making it suitable for growing in USDA zones 4 through 9. To ensure vigorous growth, protect the plant from extreme temperatures by providing mulch or shade as needed.

  • scissorsPruning

    Valerian should be pruned to remove spent flowers and encourage new growth and possible re-bloom. The best time for pruning valerian is immediately after the flowers fade, usually in early to mid-summer. Repeat the process if the plant puts on a second bloom and again in late fall to clean up dead or diseased foliage and prepare the plant for winter. Pruning valerian also often helps to control its spread, as it can self-seed prolifically if flowers are left to develop seed pods.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Valerian prefers well-draining soil rich in organic matter with a pH of 5.5-7.0. A mix of garden soil, compost, and perlite or sand to improve drainage works well for this plant. Regular feeding with a balanced fertilizer during the growing season will support its growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Valerian, commonly known as valerian, typically doesn't require frequent repotting. Repot every 2-3 years or when it becomes root-bound, which you'll notice when growth slows or roots emerge from the drainage holes.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Valerian thrives in average room humidity levels. There is no need for excessive humidity; maintaining a range of 40-60% is usually sufficient for healthy growth.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure bright, indirect light and consistent moisture for indoor valerian.

    • Outdoor

      Plant valerian in partial shade, keep soil moist but well-drained.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Valeriana officinalis, commonly known as valerian, begins its life as a seed, which germinates in spring when soil temperatures rise. The plant develops into a rosette of leaves during the first year, establishing a deep root system. In the second year, valerian produces flowering stems that can reach up to 5 feet tall, bearing clusters of small, pink or white flowers that are known for their sweet scent and attraction to pollinators. After flowering from early summer to late fall, the plant sets seed, which is then dispersed by wind or animals. The parent plant dies back to the ground in winter, but can re-emerge from its perennial rootstock when conditions become suitable in spring. The life cycle can then begin anew, with valerian capable of self-seeding or being propagated by division of the roots.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to early summer

    • Propogation: Valerian, known botanically as Valeriana officinalis, can be propagated by seed typically in the spring. The most popular method of propagation for valerian is through seed sowing. To propagate valerian by seed, prepare a well-draining soil bed in a sunny location after the danger of frost has passed. Sow the seeds thinly and cover them with a light layer of soil, about 1/8 inch deep, which is roughly equivalent to 3 millimeters. The soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged, and germination can take anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks. Once seedlings have developed true leaves and are large enough to handle, they can be thinned out or transplanted to their final growing positions, ensuring they are spaced about 12 inches (30 centimeters) apart to allow for full growth and optimal root development.