How to grow lily of the valley

Do it:

Mar, Apr

Takes just:

15 minutes

At its best:

Jun, Jul, Aug

Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) is a woodland plant, much valued for its fragrant summer flowers. Its low, spreading habit also makes it ideal for growing as a ground cover plant. Convallaria thrives in a moist, shaded spot, and gradually spreads to form dense clumps of lush, green foliage.

Newly planted Convallaria struggles to grow in cold, wet conditions, so it pays to plant the crowns into pots during March, then grow them on indoors before planting out. By mid-May they'll be sufficiently developed to plant in your borders. This head start will increase the likelihood of flowers in the same year.

You will need

Lily of the valley crowns


Good quality multi-purpose compost


Lily of the valley crowns are available in garden centres or online, at around £4 for 15. They’re hard to establish in cold, wet soil outside, so plant in pots first.

Soak roots in water for half an hour if they look dry. Carefully separate into individual crowns, each with a shoot and set of roots. Plant one per 7-8cm pot.

Fill the pot with compost, leaving the shoot just above the surface. Water, then place in a cool greenhouse. Keep watering and plant out once the roots fill the pot.


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