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White Valerian

Centranthus ruber albus

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Valerianaceae (Valerian)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
75 centimetres tall
Gardens, grassland, parks, roadsides, rocky places, sand dunes, seaside, towns, walls, wasteland.

White, 5 petals
The white flowering form of Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber). The flowers appear in loose clusters.
A nut-like fruit with a feathery plume on top.
Dull or pale blue-green glossy leaves. The lower leaves are stalked, and the upper leaves are stalkless. Egg-shaped, up to 12cm long, and can be either toothed or toothless.
Smells unpleasant.
Other Names:
White Jupiter's Beard, White Red Valerian.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Centranthus ruber albus, also known as white red valerian or white Jupiter's beard, is a variety of Centranthus ruber, which is known for its ornamental value. It is a perennial herb that is native to the Mediterranean region, and is known for its clusters of small, star-shaped white flowers that bloom in the spring and summer. It is similar to the common red valerian in terms of its hardiness and tolerance of poor soils and dry conditions, making it an easy-to-grow plant for gardens. It is often used as a cut flower, dried flower, and in borders and rock gardens. Like the species, it is not commonly used for medicinal or other practical purposes, and there is little scientific research on its potential benefits.


White Valerian (Centranthus ruber albus) is a beautiful and fragrant flowering plant that has long been a popular addition to gardens. With its clusters of small white flowers and attractive, feathery foliage, it is easy to see why this plant has become a staple of many gardens around the world.

White Valerian is a hardy plant that can grow in a variety of conditions, making it an excellent choice for gardeners of all skill levels. It is native to the Mediterranean region and is often grown as a flowering shrub, although it can also be used as a ground cover.

One of the main features of White Valerian is its incredibly sweet fragrance. This fragrance is particularly noticeable in the evenings and on warm days, and is a true delight for those who have the opportunity to experience it. In addition to its fragrance, White Valerian is also known for its ability to attract a variety of pollinators, including bees and butterflies, making it a great choice for those who are looking to create a garden that is friendly to wildlife.

Another great thing about White Valerian is its hardiness. This plant can withstand a wide range of conditions, including cold temperatures, hot sun, and even dry soil. It is also fairly low maintenance, making it an ideal choice for busy gardeners who want to enjoy the benefits of a beautiful garden without having to spend a lot of time maintaining it.

Overall, White Valerian is a fantastic plant that is perfect for those who are looking to add a touch of beauty and fragrance to their garden. With its attractive flowers, sweet fragrance, and ease of care, this plant is sure to be a hit with gardeners of all skill levels.

In addition to its ornamental and aromatic properties, White Valerian also has a long history of use in traditional medicine. The plant has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including insomnia, anxiety, and digestive problems.

White Valerian contains a number of active compounds, including valerenic acid, which is believed to be responsible for its calming and sedative effects. This makes it an excellent natural remedy for those who are looking for a safe and effective way to manage stress and improve their sleep.

Despite its many benefits, White Valerian can be invasive in some areas, and care should be taken to avoid planting it in locations where it can become a problem. In some cases, it may also require regular pruning to maintain its attractive appearance and keep it from spreading too rapidly.

Overall, White Valerian is a beautiful and versatile plant that offers a range of benefits to gardeners and those looking for natural remedies. Whether you're looking to create a beautiful and fragrant garden, or you're interested in the many health benefits that this plant has to offer, White Valerian is a great choice that is sure to deliver.

When it comes to planting and caring for White Valerian, there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, it is important to choose a location with well-draining soil, as the plant can struggle in soggy conditions. Full sun is preferred, although the plant will tolerate some light shade.

When planting, it is important to space the plants about 60 cm apart to allow for adequate room for growth. Water the plants well immediately after planting, and then allow the soil to dry out slightly before watering again. Once established, White Valerian is drought-tolerant and requires very little water.

Fertilizing is not necessary for White Valerian, as the plant is tough and able to thrive in a range of soil conditions. However, if you do choose to fertilize, it is best to do so in early spring to help promote new growth.

Pruning is important for keeping White Valerian under control, as the plant can become quite large and sprawling if left unpruned. Prune the plant back by about a third in early spring, and then deadhead the spent flowers throughout the growing season to encourage continued blooming.

Overall, White Valerian is a tough and low-maintenance plant that is easy to grow and care for. With its beautiful flowers, sweet fragrance, and versatile growth habit, it is sure to become a staple in many gardens for years to come.


White and Red-flowering varieties of Valerian filmed near Humphrey Head in Cumbria on the 17th July 2022.


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