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. Lily of the valley thrives in a moist, shaded spot, and gradually spreads to form dense clumps of lush, green foliage.
Newly planted lily of the valley 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.
How to plant lily of the valley
Lily of the valley plants are readily available as rooted crowns. Soak these in water for half an hour, and then plant in individual pots to establish before planting in their final growing positions from May onwards.
Follow our step-by-step guide to planting lily of the valley, below.
You Will Need
- Lily of the valley crowns
- Multi-purpose, peat-free 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.