I have grown Red Valerian in my garden for many years now. Whilst on holiday in Torquay I noticed it growing along the clifftops and walkways, and I was so taken by it I bought a few seeds back with me where they readily took and grew. I love their long-lasting blooms, and they attract quite a few insects like bees, moths and butterflies, as they are a rich source of nectar.
Red Valerian can actually be pink, red or white, and the small flowers appear in numerous clusters on the plant. The plant is fairly tall and can grow up to nearly 80cm high.
It flowers May to October, and it is often found naturalised on the coast on cliffs faces, rocks, and on sandy and shingle beaches. It is also found on railways embankments, old walls and buildings, waste ground, parks and gardens. It was introduced from the Mediterranean in the late 1500s as a garden plant, and has now become naturalised. It is very common in the south of Britain, rarer the further north you go.
Photograph of Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber), taken August 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.