(Syn. Valeriana wallichii, Valeriana spica, Valeriana villosa, Indian Valerian)
Herbaceous perennial native to the forest, scrub, and open slopes of the temperate Himalayas, including parts of Afghanistan, Kashmir, Bhutan, NE India, Myanmar, and West and Central China. The plant grows in open sun at higher elevations (up to 10,000 feet) and requires more shade at lower elevations. We find that it prospers best at our low elevation foothill site when given adequate shade and kept moist. In the sun, they go away. A vigorous and extremely pretty plant is Indian Valerian, consisting of a low-lying rosette of heart shaped leaves, green and purple, that very reliably give rise, in the early spring, to multiple upright flowering stalks, miniature, that bear heady flowers of white and pink. The entire plant, and especially the root, is used, emitting a delightful aroma that is employed in perfumery as a secondary source of oil of nard. When I first obtained these plants (incorrectly identified as "Nardostachys jatamansii") I broke them apart to propagate and the essential oils that were emitted immediately brought me to a higher level of consciousness. The plant is like that--stimulating to the higher chacras. In Ayurveda, however, Indian Valerian is considered to be carminative and sedative, used in treating nervous debility, hysteria, shell shock and neurosis. Plant prefers rich, moist yet well-drained soil and part shade. A slightly acidic soil ranging from pH 4.0 to 6.0 is considered ideal. They are easy to propagate from the many volunteer seedlings that appear below the mother, or by dividing the crowns in the spring. The leaf may be removed, along with the long petiole, and the petiole (stem) planted down into moist medium, and the whole protected by a rudimentary plastic tent, and within a few weeks, if kept warm, in the light and sufficiently moist, new roots will emerge, after which the new plant may be potted up in the usual manner, producing a vigorous clone of the parent. Not a substitute for a seed-grown individual, perhaps, but a good plant nonetheless. Valeriana jatamansii are quite small and mounding, so are best planted 6 to 12 inches apart. Roots are harvested after the first or second year of growth, shade-dried and then tinctured or steam distilled for the essential oil. This is one of the most outrageous EO plants that can be reasonably grown by temperate gardeners, with an aroma akin to Patchouli, perhaps a bit more cerebral and somewhat less sexy, but desireable. Organically grown potted plant.
This plant may be grown outdoors in a suitable environment, but it is also recommended for indoor growing as a houseplant. Following, find some recommendations for growing this plant in indoor culture (an indoor windowsill, under a skylight, in a sunroom, but without auxiliary growlights):
Pot size: Quart to half gallon. Does well in small pots, as it is a bit of a miniature.
Soil: Standard potting soil mixture for houseplants as described on page 107 of "The Medicinal Herb Grower" by Richo Cech: Mix together 1 gallon of hydrated coir, 1 gallon of compost or composted manure, 2 Tbsp micronutrient mix, 1/2 gallon coarse, sharp sand (or flint grit), 1 gallon pumice.
Light requirement: Low to medium
Watering requirement: Every 2 days or so.
Fertilization: Monthly foliar or root feeding of kelp tea, mycoblast, or compost tea.
Potential toxicity to pests or young children: discourage pets or small people from eating this plant. It would likely sedate them.
Putting outdoors: OK, but keep shaded and moist. Highly frost tolerant.
Vacations: Probably OK to leave unattended for a week without water. If necessary, it may help to encase the plant in an inflated plastic bag, in which case it could hold for 2 weeks, more or less.
Other recommendations for growing this plant indoors: These are likely to flower indoors, which is nice. Gobs of pink on short stems are likely to occur twice yearly. Cut back after flowering.
Feel free to order this plant at any time, but please be aware that we SHIP PLANTS APRIL 1 to AUGUST 1 AND SEPTEMBER1 to DEC 1 only. Orders received outside these months will be automatically backordered. If you are ordering plants out of season, you may wish to order them separately from your seeds, in order to streamline the process.
If you have chosen a PLANT* (marked with a *), shipping costs are as follows:
1 to 6 PLANTS* will ship for $14.90
7 to 8 PLANTS* will ship for $19.90 (The shipping may be more if you buy other things in addition to plants.)
For 9 or more PLANTS* or if ordering plants NOT marked with a *, we will contact you with a UPS shipping estimate.