Centranthus ruber - False Valerian
Also known as Jupiter’s Beard, this is an old-fashioned semi-woody perennial cut flower. Plants form an upright, bushy mound of grey green foliage, bearing rounded heads of fragrant, rosy-red, deep pink or white flowers over many weeks (late spring until autumn). Removing faded flowers will encourage plants to form buds all summer long.
Good choice for hot, dry sites, this will even thrive in rock walls and is frost hardy to -10C, however it struggles in humid areas. A short-lived perennial, but usually self-seeds where happy. Unwanted seedlings are easy to remove. If grown in rich soil it may need to be staked or grown through a hoop. Attractive to butterflies. Grows to a height of 60cm by 40cm wide. Prefers full sun to part shade and well drained soil. Insects adore the flowers therefore it is an excellent plant to grow to attract them to your garden.
Centranthus ruber makes a wonderful cut flower because of its long vase life and prolific blossoms. Vase life up to 7 days. Cut flowers when about one-quarter to half is open. Split stems. Condition stems in cold water overnight. Unlikely the rest of the buds will open after being cut.
Other common names - Kiss-Me-Quick, Pretty Betsy, Keys to Heaven, False Valerian, Spur Valerian, Fox’s Brush, Devil’s Beard. However please note that this is not a Valerian.