Red Valerian, Jupiter's Beard, (Centranthus)
Centranthus is a tough and almost indestructible perennial, with pink, salmon, crimson red, or white fragrant flower clusters spiking above the gray foliage throughout the summer. Nice cut flower, easy to grow. Grows 2-3 feet high and 2-3 feet wide in clay, rocks, poor soil or good soil. Deadheading is not necessary, but remove spent flowers to encourage additional blooming. Other names are Valerian, Pretty Betsy, Kiss-me-Quick, Spur Valerian, and Spanish Valerian.
Centranthus prefers full sun, but will take half day shade and will adapt to rock gardens, wall crevices, slopes, flat areas. Drought tolerant, it prefers low water, but will take moderate water or regular water. Bees and butterflies love it. Sprawls a little, so not good for formal landscapes, but lovely in cottage gardens and containers. The leaves and roots are edible, but since this plant is not a true Valerian (Valeriana officinalis), they do not have medicinal properties. Centranthus is native to the Mediterranean region. It will self-seed, but can easily be controlled and is not usually invasive.
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