Valerian, Valeriana officinalis - plants and care

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Valerian, Valeriana officinalis - plants and care: plant

Valerian is known almost exclusively for its soothing effect, but it also has convincing optical stimuli. At the right location, it quickly shows a lush flow of flowers and is so long before the harvest a wonderful enrichment in the bed or tub. However, only if the care is right.
Unfortunately, valerian is a rarity in the herb garden, although it is very easy to care for and is ideal even for hobby gardeners without experience and green thumbs. And even those who do not want to take advantage of the medicinal effect of the calming herb will enjoy the richly-flowering plants. Valerian is therefore in any case a wonderful addition in the garden or tub. If the grateful plant has few claims, the care must still be right.


Valerian or Valeriana officinalis, as it's botanically named, thrives best in warm, dry and sunny locations. Thus, it fits well in the rock garden, on a wall or on the south balcony. Occasional cold wind does not bother him as well as jamming heat - so the planting place can be sheltered or airy, the valerian is not choosy on this point. Apart from these factors, sufficient space has to be ensured at the location. Because the flowering branches can reach a height of up to two meters in the shrub and the valerian spreads in the long run like something.


Valerian does not need much nutrients or moisture, so the chosen substrate should be loose, well drained and dry. Normal garden or bucket earth, which is mixed with sand or gravel and a part of coconut fibers, meets these requirements optimally. But it can also be the already existing rocky soil on which hardly anything thrives. Even wall gaps are sufficient for the Valeriana officinalis.


Valerian can be planted either in spring after the last frost or in autumn before the first cold snap. As a preparation, the soil should be well loosened so that the roots can spread quickly and gain a foothold. In addition, the environment should be free of weeds. If he stands at the desired place, the valerian is lightly poured. This action should be repeated within the first few weeks if it is not raining.
Tip: Although valerian seeds are found in the trade, faster, more successful and easier to plant are precursors. These also show more quickly whether the location is suitable.

to water

Apart from the initial time after planting, Valerian likes it dry. Watering is rarely necessary in the garden because the plants feed themselves. Additional watering is required only for prolonged drought, high temperatures and culture in the bucket. Fresh tap water can be used for this, but Valeriana officinalis does not interfere with the calcium content. Between the waterings, the substrate should be allowed to dry well.


Valerian is undemanding and usually does not benefit from additional fertilizer. In fact, he is quickly over-supplied and suffers. The exception is found here in plants that show slower growth after several years at the same site or in the bucket. These can - depending on the culture - either repotted and so supplied with fresh substrate and be sparingly cared for with a mineral fertilizer. Anyone who would like to reap the valerian anyway and occasionally change their location does not have to worry about this.


In the case of the blending of valerian, again, less is more. If the plant is very dense, it can be easily lighted in the spring. As a result, the flowering is usually more lush. Bent twigs, dried-up plant parts and withered flowers may be removed at any time.


Valeriana officinalis is robust and resistant, and this also applies to winter. If it was planted in the garden, it needs no additional protection. And no preparatory care. In pot or bucket, however, already. The planter can either be wrapped by garden fleece in several layers or spent indoors. In any case, frost-free and sufficient light is to be respected. If the valerian is in the house, it should be watered every few weeks.


Who wants to multiply the valerian, has two options to choose from. Notably lowering and ground shoots. Soil shoots form the Valeriana officinalis by itself, this only patience is needed. If they are about ten centimeters high, they can be tapped and dug out with a sharp spade. Afterwards they are allowed to go directly to the desired location.
If the propagation is intended to be more targeted and faster, it is advisable to drag the droppers:
  1. For this purpose, strong, long side shoots are bent to the ground - without kinking them.
  2. 10 to 15 cm from the top, a short section of the branch is pressed about two fingers into the ground and weighed down with a stone.
  3. The protruding shoot tip is attached to a rod and aligned straight up.
  4. After about a month, it should first be checked whether the buried section has already formed roots.
  5. If this is the case, the Absenker can be separated from the mother plant and planted at the desired location.


For teas, extracts and infusions, the flowers and roots of valerian can be used. The flowers can be harvested annually during the entire flowering period from May to August. The roots are suitable for use only from the second year. They are harvested between September and October. For this they are dug up, freed from the earth and fibers and dried airily.

Typical diseases and pests

The valerian is less susceptible to parasites and pathogens. Only aphids and mildew occasionally occur. If aphids show up, their natural predators should be used. Ladybirds have proven to be particularly effective, which can be purchased commercially and even ordered online. In order to move them to the rapid destruction of the lice, it helps to stretch a tight mesh over the affected Valerian and release them underneath.

Valerian - Valeriana officinalis

Mildew attacks the valerian most of the late summer and is characterized by white-gray deposits on the leaves. Against this fungal disease helps a mixture of one part of fresh milk and eight to nine parts of water. The solution is sprayed onto the plant and left there for about an hour. After that, it should be rinsed thoroughly. Underlaid foils or shells prevent it from penetrating into the ground. If necessary, the treatment can be repeated several times a week until the fungus has disappeared. As mildew often occurs in very dry, hot weather, it is often easy to prevent. For this purpose, the valerian must be sprayed with water only occasionally so that the humidity increases slightly.

Frequently asked questions

  • Is the valerian toxic to animals?
Valerian is also known as a cat's herb because it makes you feel strongly attracted to the smell of the plant and can even be intoxicated with it. In small doses that is harmless. The crowd, as so often, does the poison here. If four-legged friends are constantly exposed to the vapors or even eat them, this can lead to fatal liver failure.
  • Can addictive valerian intake be used?
Although valerian is not considered addictive, after prolonged ingestion it may well come to withdrawal symptoms.

Worth knowing about valerian soon

  • The valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is also called eyewort, witchwort, tripod, ladybug and Tollerjan.
  • Overall, this species includes about 150 different species, ranging from perennials to semi-hard species.
  • It grows mainly in Europe, but is also common in a few areas of North and South America.
  • The native valerian grows along the edges of the road and forest and becomes about 50 cm to 1 meter high.
The name is derived from the Latin valere and means strong, healthy. The German name is said to come from Baldur, son of Odin and Frigga. Valerian has a good reputation as a medicinal plant since ancient times. The most curative part of the plant is the root. However, she smells very unpleasant, very rancid when she is dug out.
Cultivation and harvest
Valerian looks beautiful in the perennial garden. Its tall, slender stems, which have white to pink flowers and feathered leaves, also smell very good. From April, the flower stalks begin to grow and sometimes reach a height of up to 2 meters. The plant blooms in July / August, and the tall fellows, swaying gently in the summer breeze, look cute as they so boldly throne over the other plants. The fragrance of the flowers attracts cats almost magically, which is why the valerian is also called katzenkraut. Valerian is a perennial plant, it develops many proliferating foothills. Valerian still grows very slowly. It is best to sow it in a seed box in the spring and pull it under glass. Then, when the night frosts are over, plant it at a distance of 60 cm. The plant loves it sunny and slightly moist. You harvest the rhizomes of the second year. Only the root fibers are removed before you can dry the root.
Use, medical science
Valerian calms the nerves and helps to a sound sleep. A decoction of the root is effective against nervous headaches and nerve strengthening. Drinking a valerian tea about one hour before going to bed, several days in a row, promotes the natural sleep rhythm. The valerian is a healing herb, but should not be taken for a long time. Excessive doses can cause side effects, lethargy and headaches. In ointment form, from roots and leaves, valerian heals wounds and skin diseases. Valerian can certainly replace psychotropic drugs, because it helps with many psychosomatic diseases. Since valerian does not tire, he can also be used with test anxiety, he has a fear-suppressing effect.Valerian is not addictive, but at higher doses over a longer period of time, withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness, insomnia, and delirium may well occur.

Valerian tea for insomnia

Add two tablespoons of the dried and grated root to 1 cup of water, simmer for 20 minutes in an enamel saucepan with lid. Allow to cool, strain, heat again, sweeten with honey and drink as needed.

Video Board: Garden Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) A listed invasive plant in Wisconsin.

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