Valerian

(Valeriana officinalis) Valerian is a herbaceous perennial that has famously lulled humans to a peaceful sleep for hundreds of years. Hardy from USDA zones 3-9, the roots are the medicinally used part of the plant, while the blooms are a beautiful ornamental and attractive to pollinators and beneficial insects. Like catnip, it is also very attractive to cats. In many places it is considered an invasive species, and it is banned in Connecticut. This plant demands some management! Start indoors (preferred) 4-6 weeks before last frost and transplant out around time of last frost. Direct sow in fall or spring. Seeds germinate in 7-21 days. Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep. Ideal germination temperature is 65-68F. Space plants 12-18 inches apart. Plants prefer sun to part shade. Dry, rocky soil yields more medicinally potent roots than a moist, rich soil. Harvest the roots in their second year, digging up after the foliaged has yellowed.

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