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Centranthus ruber

Red valerian

Reader rating

From 3 ratings

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Key information

Plant type

Hardy perennial

Flower colour



Flowers, Attractive to wildlife



Skill level


Centranthus ruber

Plant details

Centranthus ruber is a delightful perennial wildflower, bearing grey-green leaves and dense clusters of crimson, pink or white, slightly fragrant flowers from late spring to autumn. It's incredibly easy to grow and is a magnet for pollinators. 

Plants look best grown en masse on banks or when allowed to self-seed in walls and paving, where they create a delightful random, natural effect. A background of stone gives them an ideal setting, or they can be teamed with other cottage garden flowers in a border, such as lime-loving gypsophila, pinks and scabious.

For best results grow Centranthus ruber in well-drained soil in full sun.

Family: Valerianaceae

Genus: Centranthus

Species: ruber

Plant type: Hardy perennial

Flower colour: Rose

Foliage colour: Blue-green

Feature: Flowers, Attractive to wildlife

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained/light, Chalky/alkaline, Dry, Moist, Sandy

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 300cm

Spread: 300cm

Time to plant seeds: March to April

Time to divide plants: March to April

Flowering period: July to October

Reader reviews


Self-seeds abundantly, which may be seen as a disadvantage to some. I love it because I can grow it in shallow soil where virtually nothing else will grow, and it attracts the hummingbird hawkmoth and painted lady butterflies.


adore this plant, self seeds freely, flowers throughout the summer, real cottage garden plant going to grow the white one next

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