Botanical Name: Convallaria majalis
Fragrant lily of the valley flowers are a delight when they bloom in spring. But why wait? These types of lilies are easy to force into bloom indoors in the middle of winter.
The sweetly scented clusters of nodding bells are nestled between pairs of broad, pointy tipped leaves. Once the flowers fade, they're followed up by a show of red berries.
Don't let this lily's delicate appearance fool you. This hardy plant is a vigorous grower. It spreads quickly from rhizomes and will need to be potted up or divided each year.
You'll find lily of the valley plants for sale in nurseries and online florists' delivery sites already potted or shipped bareroot, ready for planting.
Beautiful lily of the valley flowers will bloom for about 4 weeks, then can be brought back into bloom the next year. Here are the steps:
CAUTION: All parts of lily of the valley are highly poisonous to people and pets.
Origin: European and Asian woodlands
Height: Up to 10 in (25 cm)
Light: Low to bright light.
Water: Keep soil evenly moist, not soggy. Established plants will tolerate drier soil.
Humidity: Average room humidity
Temperature: Cool to average temperatures 60-70°F/16-21°C. Lilies of the valley are cold-hardy to USDA Zone 2, if you want to plant them outdoors. Their natural bloom time is in late spring.
Soil: Peat moss based potting mix that drains well.
Fertilizer: Feed monthly with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half while plant is growing. Do not feed while dormant.
Propagation: These lilies grow from creeping rhizomes that spread quickly under the soil. Divide lily of the valley plants when they become crowded. Cut the rhizomes apart, leaving some roots attached to each piece. Lilies grown indoors will not set seed, but you can grow them from purchased seeds.
The secret to keeping lily of the valley flowers fresh for several weeks is to keep the plant fairly cool.
Several good varieties are available. Convallaria majalis 'Fortin's Giant' has large white blooms and is good for forcing.
'Prolificans' and 'Flore Pleno' are stunning with double flowers and 'Rosea' has charming pale-pink flowers.
'Variegata' and 'Green Tapestry' are varieties with creamy white-striped leaves.
Lilies of the valley are classified in the lily (Lilaceae) family, but were once in a class all their own -- Convallariaceae.
These pristine, white bell-shaped blooms are often given as gifts and symbolize purity and happiness. Lily of the valley flowers are popular in wedding bouquets, and also used to celebrate May Day in Europe.