Jupiter's Beard (Red Valerian)
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Seed Count: Approx. 100 seeds
Days to Maturity: Perennial
Description: Jupiter's beard (Centranthus Ruber Coccineus Red) is an long blooming, European, wild flower variety. More commonly known as red valerian, this semi-woody perennial boasts dense clusters of fragrant, dark, rose red, star shaped flowers that bloom among soft, fleshy, dark green, lance shaped foliage. It blooms continuously from late spring all throughout summer. It is a tough durable plant, and thrives with minimal water and care once established. It's known for its extreme drought tolerance. Jupiter's Beard grows to about 3 feet tall and wide. It is a perfect back border plant, and great for cut flowers, due to its long vase life and prolific blooms. Jupiter's Beard is even deer and rabbit resistant! It's great flower to plant if you wish to attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. This plant can become invasive, so plant it where it can be easily controlled. Hardy in zones 4-9.
How To Grow
Sowing: Direct sow your seeds early spring, after your last frost. You can also start seeds indoors 10-12 weeks before your last frost. When sowing your seeds, do not cover them with soil. Instead, lightly press them into the dirt. Seeds need the soil to be consistently moist, with temperatures of at least 65 degrees to germinate. Germination should occur in 14-25 days.
Growing: While seedlings are young, keep the soil evenly moist. Once seedlings have grown big enough, transplant, or thin your seedlings, 12-15 inches apart. Valerian likes moderately fertile, well draining, slightly alkaline soil, and it grows best in full sun, but can tolerate light shade. Jupiter's Beard requires regular watering in its first year of growth. After it is established, it benefits from deep infrequent watering. However, they do bloom best with frequent watering. Seeds planted early in the spring, will flower that summer. Deadhead spent blooms, in order to prolong its flowering time. Once the summer is over, cut plants back by 1/3. In dry western regions, wait until mid spring to cut your plants back. Jupiter's Beard can easily be propagated through stem cuttings. It also reseeds itself, which can be a nuisance, if not controlled. Plants should be divided every three years, because they tend to lose their vigor after awhile.
Harvesting: Jupiter's Beard makes a striking cut flower. Cut the stems long, choosing flowers that have just opened, and place them immediately in water.