How to Grow and Arrange Lily of the Valley
“I’m often asked what my favourite flower is – and for me, it always has to be whatever is seasonal and looking at its best right now,” says our founder Rosebie Morton. “Small but perfectly formed, with a scent like no other – when Lily of the Valley comes into bloom here on the farm, it’s always a delight for all the senses.” With the short but precious Lily of the Valley season now underway, we wanted to share some tips with you for growing and arranging this fabulous flower.
How Long Does Lily of the Valley Flower For?
The leaves of Lily of the Valley start to appear in late March or early April and the highly scented, white bell-shaped flowers bloom for just three weeks in May.
Where to Grow Lily of the Valley
As long as it is planted in the right position and kept moist, Lily of the Valley is easy to grow and will reward you with masses of scented flowers for years to come. Lily of the Valley can be grown in nearly all types of soil from clay to more sandy conditions.
Lily of the Valley prefers shade or semi-shade so thrives under a canopy of trees or in the dappled shade below an established shrub. Lily of the Valley grows especially well in woodland conditions.
When to Plant Lily of the Valley
You can plant Lily of the Valley throughout the year. Lily of the Valley is grown from pips (horizontal sprouting rootstock). The pips in our Lily of the Valley Bulb Pots have already been potted and established.
Our idea is that you can enjoy watching these beautiful flowers bloom from the comfort of your home. This is their first year so they will probably produce only a few blooms this spring, but if you plant them out in your garden you will be able to enjoy them for years to come. We would recommend keeping the bulbs in their pots until autumn and then planting them out in the garden or into a larger pot.
How to Plant Lily of the Valley
- Dig a hole twice the width of the pot.
- Mix in a large handful of well-rotted manure or fertiliser (we use Vitax Q4).
- Place the plant in the hole so it is the same depth as it was in the pot, fill with soil around the edges and gently firm in.
- Water in well
In the right conditions Lily of the Valley can spread but it is easy to dig it up if it spreads too far.
How to Arrange Lily of the Valley
We think the small but exquisite stems of Lily of the Valley look so beautiful that they need nothing else as a backdrop. Their fragrant bell-shaped flowers are perfectly complemented by their lush green foliage.
Choose a small vase like those in our Mini Vase Trio and half fill it with fresh water. If you have some cut-flower food then add it to the water or substitute a drop of bleach, a teaspoon of vinegar and a pinch of sugar for each vase.
If you are picking Lily of the Valley to arrange in a vase then we would recommend doing this first thing in the morning, after the dew has dried. Cut the stems at a 90-degree angle and place straight into the vase.
Change the water every couple of days and choose a cool spot out of direct sunlight to help the flowers last for longer.
Lily of the Valley for Weddings
Lily of the Valley epitomises the month of May – its foliage embodies the sense of the countryside as it turns a vibrant green and its perfectly formed flowers seem to ring out a celebration for the joys of spring. Symbolising a return to happiness, Lily of the Valley has been a popular choice for Royal Weddings. The Princess of Wales included Lily of the Valley in her statement cascading bouquet and the flower also took pride of place in the Duchess of Cambridge’s small but perfectly formed bridal bouquet and the Duchess of Sussex’s understated but elegant bridal flowers.
As well as making a beautiful bridal or bridesmaid bouquet, bud vases of Lily of the Valley work beautifully to decorate the tables of a May wedding.
Here at The Real Flower Company we have found that Lily of the Valley has a very special place in so many people’s hearts. The fleeting few weeks on the farm when we are harvesting and arranging our sustainably grown British Lily of the Valley always feel very special. It is a privilege and joy to be able to send out these precious flowers in anticipation of the joy they will bring.