Plant Now: Lily of the Valley

Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) is a rhizomatous perennial with nodding white bell-shaped flowers in spring. The flowers are highly perfumed, adding a delicious fragrance to indoor displays.

The trouble is, these plants are not that freely available here. I suggest searching for them on the internet, or try Maple Glen Nursery in Southland.

You can find a rose-blushed version too, from Ashton Glen and Wake Robin Nurseries.

Plant in fertile, free-draining soil in part shade. These are woodland plants, so avoid full sun. Water well after planting, then water as needed throughout the growing season. Adequate moisture is not usually an issue here with our wet winters.

Plant Now: Lily of the Valley

Lily-of-the-valley flowers on whitelily of the valleyFamed for its sweet perfume, lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis) grows in clumps in fertile, humus-rich, moist soil in shade. Its pure white bells are produced on 20cm high stems in spring. Occasionally you’ll find pink varieties too. These plants grow best in cold climates, naturalising well under trees.

You can plant the pips (rhizomes) now (autumn). Soak the pips in lukewarm water for several hours before planting, until they swell and become hard. Choose different areas to grow; a little more sun in one area and dappled shade in another will give you slightly different flowering times, extending your picking season.

When growth appears, apply liquid fertiliser to promote further good growth. Flower and leaf can be cut together for the vase, the flowers lasting about five days.