Lily of the valley is one of the most beautiful and delicate plants you could grow in your garden. It’s the perfect ground cover, because it doesn’t only serve a practical purpose, but also manages to provide your garden with an extra dash of charm and beauty. Its fragrance is another reason why planting lily of the valley is something a lot of people choose to do. Today, we’re going to provide you with a couple of useful tips and tricks that you should be aware of when planting lily of the valley.
13 Things to Keep in Mind When Planting Lily of the Valley
1. Choose the Lily of the Valley Variety You Like Best
The good news about the lily of the valley plant is it comes in multiple varieties, each more beautiful than the next. For instance, you can choose to plant the “convallaria majalis var. rosea” variety, which sports dusty-pink flowers. Another option is the “Prolificans”, which grows its flowers in clusters, all along the stems. “Flore Pleno” is double-flowered and extremely attractive, and “Fortin’s Giant” is, as the name suggests, a larger variety. The classic option is the well-known “muguet”, which is white, simple, and heavenly-scented.
2. Plant It in Spring
The best time to plant lily of the valley is in spring, more precisely quite early in the spring. The reason why spring is the best season for planting lily of the valley is that summer can be quite hard on this plant, especially if you live in a place where the summers are extremely hot. If the plant is not properly established come summertime, the heat might damage it. Planting it in early spring avoids this risk, since the plant will have plenty of time to develop.
3. Plant in Shaded Areas
We’ve already mentioned extreme heat can damage lily of the valley plants, but you should know that even full sun can stop them from developing properly. Which is why when choosing an area in which to grow this plant, you have to look for full-time shade or at least afternoon shade. A little bit of sun in the morning is fine, but even in this case, the soil surrounding the plant should be moist. If you think this is too much work, try planting lily of the valley under trees or alongside garden walls. You can find lily of the valley plants for sale here.
4. Fertilize the Soil
Before planting lily of the valley in your garden, you have to make sure the soil is adequate. This plant loves fertile soil, and it needs it in order to grow properly. To make sure the soil is fertile enough, add compost, peat moss, or humus to it. Not only will this make it more fertile, but it will also improve moisture retention and drainage. An inch layer of organic matter is more than enough. Spread it over the soil, and then use a hoe or a spade to mix it in with the top 4 inches.
5. Follow the Planting Instructions
Even though planting lily of the valley is not at all a difficult process, you still need to follow the instructions we’re going to provide to the letter. This will ensure a steady growth and a successful yield. The first thing you should do is dig a hole. The hole dimensions should be bigger than the size of the plant’s root ball. After you’ve carefully placed the lily in the hole, take some of the soil you’ve dug out and fill the rest of the hole. The last thing you should do is water the soil until it becomes saturated.
6. Provide Extra Attention in the Establishing Months
The first few months after you’ve planted the lily of the valley plants, you need to make sure they have everything they need in order to establish themselves. This means that until summertime, you have to keep a close eye on them. That’s the period when their root system develops, so intensive care is vital. The most important thing you have to pay attention to is your plants being surrounded by enough moisture. You can purchase a moisture meter and use it to determine when the soil is too dry so that you know when you should water it. We recommend the General Tools MMD7NP Moisture Meter.
7. Choose Some Companions for Your Lily of the Valley
While most plants have no issues growing next to different companions, lily of the valley is a bit more pretentious. That’s mainly due to the fact that it’s quite unpredictable, so it’s difficult to anticipate how it’s going to affect the plants around it. Still, if you want to have more than one ground plant in your garden, you’re in luck. Lily of the valley plants get along the best with other similar plants. Some options would be the “Cherry Ingram”, wood anemones, “Nigrescens”, ferns, aquilegia, or corydalis.
8. Consider Their Ability to Spread
It’s true, lily of the valley flowers are small. Still, that doesn’t mean they won’t take up a lot of space. That’s because being a groundcover, this plant tends to spread quite extensively. Before planting it, you should keep this is mind. Consider whether or not you have enough room for it in your garden. Once it starts growing, it’s going to be more difficult to stop it. Plus, you probably wouldn’t want to, since the flowers grow close together, creating a beautiful carpet for your garden.
9. Remember That It’s Poisonous
An important thing to keep in mind about the lily of the valley plant is that all of its parts are poisonous. Eating it is absolutely out of the question. Even animals avoid it. If you have small children, you should be extremely careful with allowing them to play with the plants, or spend too much time in their vicinity.
10. Keep in Mind That as a Cut Flower, It Doesn’t Last for Too Long
If you’re thinking of using lily of the valley as a cut flower, feel free to do so. They make extremely beautiful cut flowers, and they will provide your home with a lovely fragrance. Be careful because when taken out of their natural growing environment, they tend to wilt quite fast. This means you’ll be able to enjoy them for about three days until they die and you have to replace them with new ones.
11. Plant It in Containers
Growing lily of the valley in pots is a great way to adorn your home with this flower, without worrying that it will wilt after only three days. The container will also keep it from spreading uncontrollably, ensuring a controlled environment, where you can decide how many flowers you want to grow. Just make sure you choose a deep pot since their roots tend to grow quite large. The pot should also have good drainage holes, and be filled with multi-purpose compost.
12. Don’t Feed It Fertilizers Rich in Nitrogen
When it comes to feeding lily of the valley plants, there isn’t much you have to do. They don’t require constant feeding. In fact, in some cases, you might not have to feed them at all. Especially if you’ve planted them under trees, where the fallen leaves will serve as fertilizer. Whatever you do, stay away from fertilizers which are rich in nitrogen. They will cause the leaves of the plants to grow more than usual, taking away from the growing energy usually directed towards the flowers. As a result, you might end up with a lot of foliage, but not many blooms.
13. Beware of Leaf Spot
Fortunately, lily of the valley is a strong plant. As a result, not many common pests attack it. There’s only one pest you should worry about, and that’s leaf spot. This pest is easy to identify since it causes dark spots on the leaves of the plant. Those leaves will eventually fall, and the pest might damage the health of the entire plant.
If you’ve noticed a few dark spots before they had a chance to spread to the entire plant, remove the leaves and burn them. If there are a lot of spots on your plants, it might mean you’re also pouring water on the leaves when watering the plant. This can cause the spots. If you stick to only watering the soil, it might make a difference, but if the place where you’ve planted lily of the valley is naturally too damp, you’re just going to have to accept this is not a great location for them.
Summing It All Up
Planting lily of the valley is a gardening activity which doesn’t take a lot of time, and which offers amazing results. Not only are these plants an aesthetically pleasing addition to any garden, but they also provide their surroundings with an intoxicating scent. Which is why we recommend planting them to anyone who is looking for lovely ground covers to grow in their garden. We hope today’s 13 tips on how to plant them for a successful yield have told you everything you wanted to know about the beautiful lily of the valley.
Cathy McCall says
Thanks so much for the tips to plant my lily of the valley flowers, the information you’ve given me will no doubt help me to enjoy the experience of having added them to our garden.