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Three words that describe lily-of the-valley are beautiful, reliable, and fragrant. Its delightful sweet smelling, spring flowers are reason enough to grow them, but lily-of the-valley also offers reliable solutions to problem areas of the garden.
Hardiness: Zones 2-7
Life cycle: Perennial
Height: 8-10 inches
Spread: Individual plants are small, but if not contained, they may quickly become invasive and spread through the garden.
Flowers: Clusters of small, bell-shaped blooms on narrow, arching flower stalks, white or pink in color, and blooms in spring to early summer.
Cut flowers for bouquets when bells are fully developed. The flowers usually last just over a week. Spring flowers are followed by attractive glossy orange berries.
Foliage: Large, lance-shaped leaves of a deep glossy green.
Light needs: Partial to full shade, but will tolerate full sun in cooler climates.
Soil type: Prefers moist, well-drained soil; adaptable to less favorable conditions.
Warning: ALL parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested.
Pips can be found at local nurseries or through mail order companies. The best time to plant them is in the early spring. Container grown plants are also available, which can be planted anytime during the growing season. Lily-of the-valley looks best when planted in masses. Pips should be planted about 1 inch deep, and spaced 3 to 4 inches apart.
Lily-of the-valley combines well with other plants. Use it around the base of azaleas, rhododendrons, monkshood, or in combination with snow-in-summer and rockcress. It also pairs nicely with periwinkle and spring bulbs like daffodils.
Keeping lily-of the-valley contained: If your intentions is to use lily of the valley as a ground cover (e.g. on a steep slope), it can be allowed to spread indefinitely. However, because it spreads so rapidly, it can quickly become a pest when grown in the flower bed. Use edging, stones, or other barriers to contain its spread. Lily-of-the-valley has also been known to become invasive in forest settings, and should not be planted and allowed to grow unchecked near wooded areas.
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I live in Massachusetts; do I need to cut back my lily of the valley patch? It is fall and a lot of the leaves have died back or are turning yellow. Some are still green. This is a new house, new garden, I don't want to kill anything! Thanks!
Living in Massachusetts you will need to prepare these plants for winter.
These are hardy plants that thrive in USDA zones 2-7/9. Your plants should not require very much care except occasional trimming of dead or yellow leaves.
I'm painting my house and want to mow down the lily of the valley and weeds. Will they return next year if I mow?
Yes you can. I mow mine down a few months after they bloom. They have always come back. Also,remember to divide them every few years. They multiply fairly fast. Aren't they beautiful when they are in bloom! Good luck with your painting. I hope it is not as hot there as it is here in Ms. Kathy
I planted my lilies of the valley 3 years ago in a semi shade spot. The white flowers are coming every spring, but they are very tiny and not flagrant. What I'm doing wrong? The flowers did spread a little during the years. Thank you.
I find it very odd that your lilies do not have a nice fragrance as this is one of their strong points. Flowers are supposed to be small so I am not sure what you are referring to in size.
Perhaps you can read up on taking care of these and maybe find something that you have missed doing when caring for them.
How do you grow convallaria lily of the valley? I have got the bare roots, when do you plant them and what do you do with them?
By Carol S
My lilly of the valley are in morning sun & afternoon shade. They are in, around & behind the iris. Mostly they like shade. Plant them in shade & you should be fine.
I have mail order lily of the valley. I had to trim off lots and lots of roots. If I plant the root without the pips will they develop pips or should I just toss them out?