V. officinalis (valerian, phew plant)
Valerian, a hardy perennial, was once grown for its strong smelling carrot-shaped root, which attracts animals, especially rats, and according to legend was the secret ingredient carried by the Pied Piper of Hamlin. From the root's smell comes one of valerian's common names, phew plant. The root is an ingredient in herbal sedatives that are widely used today.
Valerian is often included in perennial borders. It grows 3 to 5 feet tall, producing a clump of feathery foliage 10 inches wide from which rise hollow flower stems bearing flat-topped clusters of fragrant tiny pale pink flowers that smell like heliotrope.
HOW TO GROW. Valerian is hardy in Zones 3-10 and does well in full sun or partial shade. Although it grows best in rich, moist garden soil supplemented with compost, it tolerates almost any soil. Most gardeners buy their first plants, then propagate by division of the roots. Space plants in the garden 15 to 18 inches apart. After the flowers bloom, cut off the seed heads to keep plants from seeding themselves and to encourage root growth. After three years of flowering, valerian should be dug up, divided and replanted in enriched soil.
Valerian officinalis (Valerian, Heliotrope) Used as an herbal tranquillizer for hundreds of years. Brewed into a tea sweetened with honey, or encapsulated. Relaxes and produces a sensation of floating. Native to Eurasia, likes damp soil and sun. 2' high with pink fragrant flowers.
Dried root 1.47/oz., 11.75/lb., Powder 2.00/oz., 16.00/lb., Tincture 7.99/oz., Plants 10.00