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Lily of the Valley Planting Guide

Beyond bearing delightful bell-shaped blooms, Lily of the Valley is known for producing a signature scent that serves as a signal of spring for many. The dainty blossoms, which arrive on arching stalks in early to mid-spring, are accompanied by medium-green foliage that stays lush and glossy all season long. Treat yourself to these dainty delights—they're easy to care for and even easier to love! Find out more about how to plant and grow Lily of the Valley with our helpful guide!

Success Snapshot

PLANTING
DEPTH

1/2"

WATER
QUANTITY

Moderate to Heavier

SUNLIGHT
QUANTITY

Partial Shade

PLANTING
PROXIMITY

4-5" Apart

BLOOM
SEASON

Spring

HARDINESS
ZONES

Zones 3-8

Where to Plant

Lily of the Valley relishes well-drained but moist soil and does best in partial shade but can also be adapted to full sun or full shade, depending on the amount of moisture it receives. If you notice water puddles 5–6 hours after a hard rain, scout out another site or amend with organic material to raise the level 2–3" to improve the drainage.


When to Plant

Lily of the Valley should be planted by late fall as cool winter temperatures are needed for a proper dormancy period. The nodding, bell-shaped, white blossoms are expected to arrive early to mid-spring, but it can take some time to establish and may not flower the first year.


How to Plant

  • For outdoor landscape planting, find a location where your "pips" or bulbous roots will receive light to moderate shade. Before tucking your "pips" into the planting medium, snip the last inch off the roots to encourage moisture uptake and jump-start the growing process. Plant your Lily of the Valley with the tops barely poking above the soil surface, about 4" apart.
  • For container planting, find a location where your "pips" or bulbous roots will receive light to moderate shade and fill your container with good quality, well-drained soil. Almost any commercially available potting medium will work fine, but there must be adequate drainage holes so the soil does not become waterlogged. Before tucking your "pips" into the planting medium, snip the last inch off the roots to encourage moisture uptake and jump-start the growing process. Plant your Lily of the Valley with the tops barely poking above the soil surface, about 4" apart.
  • Water thoroughly, soaking the soil to settle it around the roots.

How to Grow Lily of the Valley

  • Provide supplemental water as needed in the spring, summer, and fall. About 1" total of rain or irrigation per week is a good estimate, keeping in mind that occasional deep waterings are better than frequent lighter drinks.
  • Leave the foliage in place at the end of the blooming season rather than cutting it off. The leaves will gather sunlight to create food through photosynthesis, strengthening the plants for the future.
  • Remove the foliage if the leaves turn yellow later in the season. In areas where the weather is warm to moderately cold, Lily of the Valley makes an excellent evergreen groundcover.
  • Allow your Lily of the Valley to rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle in spring.

Lily of the Valley Tips & Tricks

  • Amend the soil with compost, finely ground bark, or decomposed manure to improve drainage, as Lily of the Valley plants will not thrive in soggy settings.
  • Soak your "pips" in lukewarm water for a couple of hours before planting to help them wake up and get ready to grow. Simply use the plastic bag used for shipping and add enough water to saturate the peat. The "pips" should swell a bit and become hard.
  • Don't wait too long to plant, as "pips" can dry up if left out of the ground for more than a week or ten days.
  • Expect top growth to form quickly, often in just a week or so, depending on the amount of available warmth. Remember: warmer sites prompt faster growth!
  • Feel free to cut the petite flowers while in bloom for lovely bouquets, as this will not hurt the plants, and they are some of the best flowers for small, scented bedside bouquets.
  • Underplant large containers with petite Hostas, hardy Gloxinia, or dwarf hardy Cannas for ongoing color.