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Growing Tips for Lily Of The Valley

Updated on February 16, 2016

Lily Of The Valley

A perennial plant appreciated for those beautiful little bell flowers flowing up and hanging from the stem, the Lily of the Valley continues to be a favorite of many gardeners who desire flowers and fragrance in the early part of the growing season.

Lily of the Valley will begin to blossom in the early part of spring and last into the latter part of the summer, or sometimes even early fall, depending on the location and zone.

Stems for the flowers are from 8 inches to 10 inches long, including very dense foliage with a fantastic deep green color. The fragrance thrown off by the flower is magnificent, making it very worthwhile to have a place for them in your flower garden.

Another plus is the plant can be placed in areas of shade which remain moist; a part of the yard which includes conditions many flowers and plants can't do well in. They are great for ground cover as a result of that trait.

Underground Stems

The Lily of the Valley also has an underground stem or root system called rhizomes. That is both positive and negative for gardeners, depending on the reason they're planting the flowers.

If you want to cover up an area of your yard that remains moist but is difficult to grow plants in, the rhizomes would be considered a very positive trait of the flower for the yard, as it would fill it up nicely and act as a ground cover while supplying beauty and fragrance to your yard.

On the negative side, they can spread rapidly in some cases, so you want to watch them carefully so they don't get out of hand. That's really not too hard unless you literally let them grow without checking them at all for a long period time.

The interconnection of the rhizomes is what causes the spreading action of the plants.

Where to Plant Lily of the Valley

While it was mentioned above that Lily of the Valley don't mind moist areas, that doesn't mean they will do well in places where water stands for a long time.

You know your yard. If there are puddles of water still standing from about five to six hours after a hard rain, then you can assume it's not a good area to plant your flowers.

But if it is moist without puddles that tells you it has good drainage and is conducive to success for the Lily of the Valley.

If that is the only area you have to grow them, you can easily build up the area by a several inches to make it drain more efficiently.

In conclusion, look for soil with average moisture; something not too dry or too wet.

How to Plant and Care for Lily of the Valley

Soaking Roots or Pips

One tip to that will help the bulbous roots of the Lily of the Valley - called "pips" by many - is to soak them in lukewarm water before you plant them.

This helps give the plants a quick boost because the water is absorbed into the roots which helps the plant to grow quicker.

All you have to do is fill the bag the pips come in with enough warm water to saturate the peat in the bag. Then just leave it for about two hours. At that time you should see the pips swelling up a little and becoming firmer. That means they've absorbed the water and are ready to go.

Planting Lily of the Valley

Now the time has come to plant your Lily of the Valley. Whether you're placing them in the ground or a container, cut off the final inch from the roots. This will also cause the roots to become active, aiding it in taking in more moister. That also helps give the plant a faster start after it's planted.

Plant your lily of the valley with the tops of the pips or bulbous roots poking just above the surface of the soil, spacing them at the intervals you prefer. They will eventually fill in. So whether they're closer or not won't matter in the long run, although they'll look a little spread out in the beginning, and you may have more of a weed problem if you space them too much.

Because pips can dry up fairly quickly, don't wait a long time to get them in the ground.

For watering, don't be afraid to give it a good dose right after you get them in the ground; that will help the ground to settle and form around the roots.

Watering Plants

Depending on how warm the weather is after you plant, you will probably see growth within a week.

As with many plants, the correct way to water through the growing months is to be sure they get about 1" of water on a weekly basis. If rain doesn't provide it, then you'll need to supplement it.

It's better to give the plant a good, deep drink, rather than a lot of shallower waterings.

Cutting Flowers

The wonderful fragrance of the Lily of the Valley makes it a must that we cut some of those cute little flowers and place them around the house in strategic locations. This won't harm the hardy flowers at all.

After Blooming Care

Once great benefit of growing Lily of the Valley is the very little care they need. That includes once they stop blooming.

You don't need to take any of the foliage of the plant off once the blooming season is over, as it is actually good for the plant because it takes in the sunlight, which of course creates food for the plant.

The only exception may be to remove leaves as they yellow later in the season. This isn't a necessity though, and will depend upon for most people where the flower is planted. They can provide a nice green ground cover later on in the season in moderate zones.

Eventually it will go dormant for several months, depending on the climate, and begin its growth again in the spring.

Poison Warning

Lily of the Valley are considered a poisonous plant, so you will want to be aware of that with your pets, as well as with children or grandchildren, who may see these little flowers or the little berry fruit which is reddish-orange in appearance.

This really isn't too much concern, as it's more the toddler stage you would have to be concerned with. In that case you would just place your potted plants in places they can't reach or climb in the house.

As for outside plants, we don't allow toddlers to be alone anyway, so we will be there to watch them if they want to explore among the flowers.

Just be aware you will have to keep a watchful eye when the little ones are around.

Lily Of The Valley

The Lily of the Valley is a very versatile flower which can readily adapt itself to a number of areas in the yard or garden, as long as it gets some shade and moisture.

Even if you don't take some cuttings for in the home, you will surely enjoy the sweet fragrance of these little bell flowers from spring into the latter part of summer anytime a wind blows, bringing the scent into the home, or when you rest and relax, or walk near them in your yard.

With little in the way of disease and insect problems, along with the little maintenance the need, it's a great choice for any yard or garden.


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    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      I'm looking forward to my Lily of the Valley's larger bloom stalks this year as they have been maturing for a couple of years now. I have been allowing them to grow freely in a shaded island among some Lenten Roses and Solomon Seal, hoping that together they would just take over the area for me. Thanks for this look at Lily of the Valley plants.