How to Grow and Care for Jupiter's Beard Plants
The Jupiter's Beard is a highly adaptable, low maintenance plant
that is able to grow in most conditions except for in moist shaded areas.
This drought tolerant, 2-3 ft. branching perennial produces dense clusters of tiny, fragrant, star shaped red, pink or white (v. albus) flowers from early June through mid August.
In cooler regions, they may even continue blooming right up until the first frosts of fall.
This butterfly attracting plant has soft, fleshy, light bluish green, lance shaped foliage.
For a time, Jupiter's Beard, or Red Valerian as it is also commonly called, was considered to be invasive because it is a prolific self seeder and was therefore shunned by the majority of the gardening community.
The usefullness of this plant in fringe areas of the garden or for naturalizing in dry, barren areas, as well as the ornamental beauty of the flowers and the plants themselves has reversed that old concept about the Red Valerian.
Growing Requirements for Jupiter's Beard Plants
Centranthus ruber is hardy in zones 4-9.
Jupiter's Beard plants grow best in full sun but they will tolerate light shade as well.
They should be planted in moderately fertile, well draining, slightly alkaline soil.
A Jupiter's Beard needs regular watering during its first year, after which it's a very drought tolerant plant. Even so, they will grow and bloom best when they are watered periodically, especially during long periods of drought.
Deadhead spent flowers regularly to prolong blooming time,
shape the plant, and to prevent unwanted self seeding.
How to Propagate Jupiter's Beard Plants
Jupiter's Beard plants should be divided every three years because they tend to lose vigor after that. This method of propagation is probably best if you only want a few new plants.
Centranthus seeds can be sown directly on the soil's surface in the garden from early spring until late summer.
Seeds can be started indoors 10-12 weeks before the date of the last killing frost of spring. Maintain a temperature of 70° F. within the growing medium.
Germination will take 21-25 days.
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