Trouble-free plant from the Mediterranean. Self-sows prolifically, thanks to small dandelionlike parachutes on seeds. Forms a bushy clump to 3 feet high and wide, with upright stems bearing 4 inches-long bluish green leaves. Dusty crimson or rose-pink flowers about 12 inches long in dense terminal clusters bloom in late spring, early summer. 'Albus' is white.
Valerian puts on a long, showy display in difficult situations: It grows in poor, dry soil and accepts almost any condition except damp shade. Attracts butterflies. Cut off old flowering stems to shape plant, prolong bloom, and prevent self-seeding.