Lily of the Valley Planting Tips

Lily of the valley is a lovely plant that grows well in almost any type of soil. However, it requires a bit of attention to thrive once it’s established.

Originally a forest floor plant, lily of the valley does best in moist but not waterlogged soils. Incorporate organic matter, such as compost, into the soil before planting to improve drainage.

Soak the Pips

Lily of the Valley is a hardy groundcover that thrives in most climate zones, and it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance to keep up. It grows in full to partial shade and is a naturalizer that spreads easily to overtake other plants in its area.

To get the most out of lily of the valley, plant it in the fall when the weather is cool. This will allow it to rest for the winter.

Before planting pips, soak them in water for about 30 minutes to stimulate growth. Then, place them into a hole just a bit larger than the root.

Once planted, space pips about 6 inches apart. Make sure that the tops barely peek out of the soil and water well.

This North American native is a great groundcover plant that adds color to your landscape. However, if not cared for properly, it can become an invasive plant that overtakes natural vegetation.

Dig the Hole

To plant lily of the valley, you must first dig the hole. While digging, you can use a level to help determine the right depth for the plant.

Measure the height of the soil at the high side of the hole (about 6 inches above the ground) and the distance between the top of the root ball and the bottom of the hole. Then dig the hole as deep as the roots and about twice the width of the root ball.

If the soil is too hard and dry, you can add a layer of soft humus or peat moss to the hole before planting. This helps firm the plant up and ensures it does not fall over.

Once the lily of the valley is planted, you must water it regularly to make sure it does not dry out. The key is to keep the soil moist but not too wet, which will cause rot.

Plant the Pips

Lily of the valley is an easy-to-grow groundcover that can thrive in full shade or partial shade, depending on moisture levels. It grows best in moist, rich soil that’s well-drained.

It’s a good choice for shady woodland areas and under tall trees or shrubs that cast dappled shade, such as azaleas or rhododendrons. This perennial also looks great as a lush carpet of green in naturalistic plantings.

This hardy North American native is resistant to most pests, but slugs are its biggest threat. Slug baiting can help keep slug numbers down, and neem oil can protect against fungal problems.

Because lily of the valley spreads from rhizomes called “pips” and grows fast, it’s wise to divide the plant every few years. This will control its rapid growth and promote new plants. Dig up a single rhizome in early spring or autumn, and split it into several parts. Then, replant each section with the pips intact.


Lily of the valley is a tough plant that can thrive in a wide range of conditions. It is also one of the easiest plants to grow and requires little maintenance.

The key is to make sure that the soil stays moist but not waterlogged. It is a good idea to add some compost during the autumn, which will help your lily of the valley flourish throughout the year.

If you are planting your lily of the valley in a container, then ensure that it has enough drainage before filling it with humus-rich potting soil. Place it in a location that receives part shade, which will allow it to grow freely and spread.

When it is time to prune the lily of the valley, cut it back to around half its size in late autumn or winter, allowing the foliage to rot down. This will encourage growth and strengthen the lily of the valley for future blooms.