Kentranthus ruber

Red Valerian
also known as Centhranthus ruber

This plant attracts the following butterflies:

Comma, Green-veined White, Large White, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Small White

Memorable images of 2003:

thumbnail link Small Tortoiseshell. August 22.

thumbnail link Small White. August 21.


Past images:

Large White on Kentranthus ruber

Large White. 19 May 2002.


Now Kentranthus ruber or Red Valerian, is one perennial that grows quickly from seed into a flowering plant. Alternatively, you can find the plants in garden centres.

After flowering, cut the stems down or, as I discovered when I left this too late in the Autumn of 2001, there will be Kentranthus ruber plantlets everywhere - even growing between my paving slabs.

Not only does it attract several species of butterfly but it's liked by some moths. The day-flying Silver Y moths are fond of this plant and can be found feeding on the flowers in the evenings. There were large numbers of them in 2000. I've also recorded a Hummingbird Hawkmoth on my Red Valerian on Wednesday 11 June 2003.

It has an ability to grow in the most inhospitable spots - like on the high-up windowsill of ruined Raglan Castle - just like Buddleias grow anywhere they can.

Reference Section

Plant Type: perennial

Flowers in spring and again in autumn

Height: 60cm-1m
Spread: 45-60cm

Thrives in exposed positions and in poor, slightly alkaline soils

This page last updated April 18, 2004