Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) is a woodland plant, much valued for its fragrant summer flowers. They grow quickly spreading to form a fragrant carpet of pure white, bell-shaped flowers and long, dark green leaves.
Receiving your convallaria
When you unpack your convallaria roots they may be a little dry. Don’t worry this is normal and they will grow just fine. Separate the individual crowns and soak them in water for an hour.
Get them going indoors first
Newly planted Convallaria struggle to grow in cold, wet conditions, so it pays to plant the crowns into pots first, then grow them on indoors before planting out. This head start will increase the likelihood of flowers in the same year. Plant one crown root per 7-8cm pot.
Fill the pot with compost leaving just the shoot above the surface. Water in and place somewhere relatively warm but frost free, a sunny windowsill or greenhouse is ideal.
When the roots fill the pot around mid-May they’ll be sufficiently developed to plant in your borders. They prefer partial shade and moist soil but will adapt to full sun if they receive enough water. Likewise they will tolerate dry soils if kept in full shade.
Growing convallaria from seed can be erratic so most gardener’s grow the crowns that can be divided in the autumn or before spring growth. Simply lift the plant and separate the roots, replant as per above.