How To Grow Valerian From Seed To Harvest
September 9, 2023
Growing Valerian is an easy and rewarding experience. Not only is it an attractive flowering plant with pinkish-white flowers, but it also has an interesting spicy and bitter taste. Valerian has been used medicinally for its sedative and calming effects, though today it has fallen out of favor with Western medicine. Nonetheless, due to its attractive flower and flavor, growing Valerian is fun and rewarding, providing a pleasant and calming addition to your garden.
How To Grow Valerian From Seed To Harvest
1. Choose the right location
Find a location that receives full sun to partial shade. Valerian prefers well-drained soil with a slightly acidic pH level.
2. Prepare the soil
Loosen the soil with a garden fork or tiller and remove any weeds or grass. Mix in compost to improve drainage and fertility.
3. Sow the seeds
Plant valerian seeds in early spring or fall. Scatter the seeds on the soil surface and lightly press them down. Do not bury the seeds too deep.
4. Water regularly
Keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy. Use a watering can or gentle spray from a hose to water the plants. Avoid overwatering to prevent root rot.
5. Thin the seedlings
Once the seedlings appear, thin them to allow enough space for each plant to grow properly. Space the valerian plants about 12-18 inches apart.
6. Provide support
If growing tall valerian varieties, provide stakes or a trellis for support to prevent them from falling over.
7. Mulch and weed
Apply a layer of organic mulch around the valerian plants to suppress weeds and retain moisture. Regularly remove any weeds that may compete with the plants for nutrients.
Harvest the valerian roots in the fall of the plant's second year. To harvest, carefully dig around the plant and lift the entire root system. Wash the roots and dry them thoroughly before use.
Tools and Supplies:
- Garden fork or tiller
- Valerian Seeds
- Watering can or hose
- Stakes or trellis
- Organic mulch
Valerian is a herbaceous flowering plant native to Europe and Asia that produces white-to-pink flowers. Valerian is found in both gardens and medicines as a remedy for nervousness, insomnia, migraine headaches, and anxiety. Growing valerian is a great way to get a bounty of these calming blooms.
Soil And Sunlight Requirements
Valerian prefers well-drained soil with lots of organic matter, such as peat moss or compost. Valerian also prefers full sun, though it will tolerate some light shade. Never waterlog the soil, as this can lead to root rot.
Planting Valerian Seeds
The best time to plant valerian is late winter or early spring. Take your valerian seeds and spread them across the soil surface. Gently press them into the soil, but don’t cover them. Keep the soil evenly moist, but never soggy, until the plants germinate. Once the plants have reached two to three inches in height, thin them out to a spacing of six inches.
Fertilizing And Watering Requirements
Valerian plants will require light fertilization throughout the season to keep them growing. Feed the plants with a balanced fertilizer four times during the growing season. When it comes to watering, keep the soil evenly moist but never soggy. As the plants start to flower in late summer, you'll want to keep the soil moist to keep producing blooms.
Harvesting Valerian Blooms
Valerian blooms can be harvested a few weeks after flowering begins. Cut the stems at their base and remove the flowers from the stem. These flowers make a wonderful addition to teas and tinctures. The root itself can be harvested in the fall, when the stems and leaves die back.
Pest And Disease Prevention
Valerian is mostly pest and disease free so maintenance is relatively easy. Keep an eye out for aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites, which can all attack the plants. Spray them with insecticidal soap or neem oil if they become a problem. To avoid the spread of disease, always avoid wet foliage and clean up plant debris to remove any fungal spores.
With the proper soil, sun, and maintenance, you can easily grow a beautiful display of valerian flowers and have a powerful healing remedy at your fingertips. All it takes is a little bit of patience and care, and you'll be rewarded with these delicate, calming blooms in no time.
1. How long does it take for Valerian seeds to germinate?
Valerian seeds typically take around 10 to 20 days to germinate. However, it's important to note that germination time can vary depending on various factors such as temperature, moisture levels, and seed quality. To ensure successful germination, provide a well-drained soil mix and keep it consistently moist.
2. What type of soil is best for growing Valerian?
Valerian prefers a rich, loamy soil that is well-drained. It thrives in slightly acidic to neutral pH levels ranging from 5.8 to 7.0. You can enhance the soil's fertility by incorporating organic matter like compost or well-rotted manure. This will provide the necessary nutrients for healthy plant growth.
3. When is the best time to sow Valerian seeds?
The ideal time to sow Valerian seeds is in early spring, after the last frost has passed. This allows for optimal growth and development during the growing season. However, Valerian seeds can also be sown in early fall for overwintering in milder regions.
4. How often should I water Valerian plants?
Valerian plants require regular watering, especially during dry spells. It is crucial to keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot. A general guideline is to water deeply once or twice a week, providing enough moisture to reach the plant's root zone.
5. Can Valerian tolerate full sun or partial shade?
Valerian plants thrive in full sun to partial shade conditions. While they can tolerate full sun, providing some shade during the hottest part of the day can help prevent stress and wilting. Partial shade, especially in hotter regions, can be beneficial to maintain soil moisture and protect the plants from excessive heat.
6. When is the right time to harvest Valerian?
The best time to harvest Valerian is when the plants have reached full maturity, typically after 2 to 3 years of growth. Harvesting is usually done in late summer or early fall when the roots are at their peak potency. Dig up the roots carefully, clean them thoroughly, and hang them to dry in a well-ventilated area.
7. How can I propagate Valerian?
Valerian can be propagated through both seeds and root divisions. Seeds can be sown directly in the garden or started indoors and transplanted later. To propagate through root divisions, dig up mature plants in early spring or late fall, divide the clumps into smaller sections, and replant them in suitable locations.
By following these guidelines, you can successfully grow Valerian from seed to harvest, ensuring a bountiful yield of this valuable herb.
Growing the plant Valerian is a great way to create a peaceful and relaxing environment in your home or garden. Valerian is known to help alleviate stress, improve the quality of sleep, and can even be used as a calming remedy in times of anxiety. Additionally, Valerian is an attractive plant, so it is a great choice for both its beauty and medicinal benefits. Taking the time to care for Valerian can be an exciting and calming experience!