Lily of the Valley Growing Guide

Convallaria majalis

Lily of the Valley

Crop Rotation Group



Fertile soil that holds moisture well, with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH.


Partial shade.

Frost tolerant

Yes, lily of the valley is a hardy perennial bulb, tolerating cold to -34°C (-30°F).


The need to feed lily of the valley depends on the site. In poor soil, feed plants with a balanced organic fertiliser in early spring when they are actively growing.


Single Plants: 10cm (3") each way (minimum)
Rows: 10cm (3") with 10cm (3") row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Plant dormant bulbs, called pips, in groups of 3 or more in autumn, after the soil has lost its summer warmth, covering them with 5cm (2 inches) of soil. The plants will slowly grow roots through winter and bloom the following spring. Lily of the valley forms vigorous clumps that also can be dug, divided and replanted first thing in spring.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalised calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


In much of Europe, lily of the valley blooms around the first of May. The plants naturalise easily in partial shade, spreading by rhizomes and seeds. They are considered to be invasive in some areas, though dry soil or deep shade will check their spread. To be cautious, grow lily of the valley in containers. All plant parts are poisonous.


Gather fragrant stems for use in cut arrangements as you need them. Stems have a vase life of about 5 days. Dig out wandering plants in early summer, before they can shed mature seed.


Lily of the valley has few pest problems. Poisonous compounds in leaves, stems and flowers makes them resistant to rodents, rabbits and deer.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

< Back to All Plants

Pests which Affect Lily of the Valley