Lily of the Valley look as delicate as their name implies, but they are a tough little plant. They produce dark green broad furled leaves with 8 to 10 inch flower stems with clusters of tiny, fragrant bell-shaped white blossoms. Once the flower has bloomed, the foliage can be left as a ground cover. Homes with children and pets should use caution with Lily of the Valley, as the entire plant is toxic.
New Outdoor Planting
Plant Lily of the Valley in early spring or late fall. They prefer partial shade and are ideal under deciduous trees. They need rich soil that retains moisture. Amend the soil by adding generous amounts of compost or decayed matter several weeks before planting. Plant the rhizome (also known as pips) 1 inch deep and 4 inches apart. Easy to Grow Bulbs recommends soaking the pips in lukewarm water for several hours before planting. They also suggest snipping off the last inch of the roots to activate the roots and speed up the growth. Water thoroughly to settle the soil around the pips.
Dividing the Plants
Lily of the Valley can be divided in the spring or fall, during their dormant period. Carefully dig up the plants, begin careful not to damage the rhizomes. Divide the rhizome, making sure there are roots on all sections. Replant them 1 inch deep and 4 inches apart. Water thoroughly to settle the soil. Lily of the Valley have few problems, but poor drainage can rot the roots.
Lily of the Valley makes a wonderful indoor plant, bringing springtime blooms in the middle of winter. Fill a container that is at least 3 inches deep with a mixture of potting soil and peat moss. Plant the pips of 1 inch deep and 1 ½ inches apart. Water thoroughly and set in a spot that receives indirect light. Keep the soil moist but not soaked. After they flower, transplant them outdoors and they will bloom the following season.