Valerian plants are grown for both their flowers and their medicinal qualities. Although the plants themselves have an unpleasant smell, blooming valerian flowers are pretty and sweetly scented.
Valerian is part of the heliotrope family. There are more than 200 varieties of valerian, both wild and domesticated.
Valerian plants are perennials that can reach up to 90 cm in height. The flowers grow in bunches on long stems.
Valerian flowers bloom in the spring in many-headed groups. They are a soft white color and have a sweet cherry smell, which is characteristic of heliotropes.
In order to bloom, valerian needs plenty of sunlight and moist, rich soil. The ideal pH is 5.5 to 7. Gardeners should keep valerian well watered and staked for optimum blooming.
Valerian is a natural sedative and antidepressant and is commonly used as an herbal supplement to promote sleep. Its efficacy is unproven, however, and there is a possibility of restlessness and heart palpitations with long-term use, according to the American Cancer Society.
The unpleasant odor of the valerian plant attracts cats and rats.
- Gardens Ablaze: Valerian
- Plant Biology: Guide to Growing Valerian
- American Cancer Society: Valerian
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About this Author
Carrie Terry has been writing since 1999 and has published work for the "Daily Bruin," eHow, eHow Home & Garden and LIVESTRONG.COM. She now runs an independent publishing house. Terry received a Bachelor of Arts in English and film from the University of California Los Angeles.