Lily-of-the-valley, Convallaria majalis, produces fragrant nodding flowers in spring. Lily of the valley grows in zones 2-7 and is a perennial with an upright growth pattern. Find facts, information, and tips on growing lily of the valley.
*WARNING- All parts of this plant is poisonous. Do not plant if you have children who may pick the red berries. If ingested it can cause vomiting, abdominal pain and may affect your heart rate. Other plants that you may not know are poisonous are asparagus fern, yew shrubs, and aluminum plants.
Lily-of-the-valley prefers partial or full shade and fertile, loose soil with a pH of 5.5-7.0. Lance-shaped to elliptic basal leaves are bright green and attractive all season long. It has brilliant tiny, bell-shaped fragrant white blooms appear on arching stems in spring. As a ground cover, lily-of-the-valley is indispensable. It is one of the few plants that can successfully compete with tree roots. They should be planted in groups to get the best overall effect.
Care and Growing Lily-of-the-Valley
This plant will grow in full sun to partial shade and should be planted 12” apart in spring or fall in soil that contains a lot of humus and is high in organic matter.
*Tip- to increase organic matter in the soil, add 1-2” of composted material and till it in.
After planting, water them deeply and add 3” of mulch around, but not touching, the plants. Apply a slow-release fertilizer when planting. You should water the plants when the soil dries out. Try to allow the soil to dry out a good deal before watering.
Reapply more mulch when it becomes necessary to keep the 3” level in summer and winter. Lily-of-the-valley will rarely need to be cut back, but you can set your lawn mower to its highest level and mow over the plants if you want to trim them back. This is assuming, of coarse, that you have a large group of plants that need cutting. For smaller amounts, simply use your garden shears to cut them back.
Propagation is done in spring or fall. Divide them by digging around the rhizomes and lift them up. Use a sharp spade to slice through the roots. After digging, and dividing reset portions that contain healthy roots and top shoots, then water and mulch.
Pests and Diseases of Lily-of-the-Valley is white mold, gray mold, and anthracnose. To minimize disease, always provide good air circulation.
Related Species: ‘Albostriata’ has cream-striped leaves, ‘Aureovariegata’ has yellow-striped leaves, and var. rosea has pale pink flowers. These are the only two genus of the plant.
Planting Lily of the Valley Indoors
You can start your bulbs indoors by soaking them in some lukewarm water for a short time, then snip off about 1/4” of root( if you have roots) and plant in soil and keep at 60-70 degrees, in low light. You should have a blooming plant in 3 to 4 weeks time.