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Stems of bright pink-red flowers that quickly spread across the garden, taking over in beds and borders.

Find it on: poor, exposed soils, all over the garden
Time to act: spring to late-summer


Valerian, Centranthus ruber, is a pretty plant that produces bright pink-red, fragrant flowers from late-spring to late-summer, but it also produces masses of seed that germinates all over the garden. Butterflies love it, so if you want to encourage wildlife into your garden, keep a few stems of valerian for them. There is an ornamental white form of valerian.


Stems of bright pink-red flowers that quickly spread across the garden, taking over in beds and borders.


The best organic control is digging the plant out and trimming it to keep it in check if you don't want to remove it altogether. If you see seedlings appearing, hoe them off or pull them out by hand.


If you don't want to dig it out, you can spot-treat the plant using a weedkiller such as glyphosate. Avoid spraying on a windy day and near other desirable plants.

Discuss this problem

Talkback: Valerian
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FlamingJune 24/11/2011 at 15:28

I actually grey this deliberately for the butterflies, of which there are, sadly, too few. My personal view is that anything that encourages bees or butterflies should not be thought of as a weed unless its really horrid, thick Japanese knotweedish sort of things.
I'd be interested to see what people think about this.

porpoise 03/03/2012 at 14:41

Totally agree. Anything that benefits insects, butterflies or birds stays, if it spreads it's up to me to keep it in check but it still stays.

Gaby Thomas 26/01/2014 at 17:50

I keep mine in a border just for Bees and Butterflies. they Love it and i enjoy watching them!

diggingdoris 29/01/2014 at 11:54

It's pretty and yes the insects love it but it  can take over a bit can't it? The roots are big fleshy things and a job to get rid of. Millions of seedlings as well, so a bit of management required!

philippa smith2 29/01/2014 at 14:27

I actually like this plant and I too find the insects love it.  I try to keep it in reasonable check by deadheading but it still spreads like wildfire.

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