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Growing Lily of the Valley — 27 Comments

  1. Hello Margaret
    My entry for Lily if the Valley was indeed 2016, but I have placed many post-entries since then. I still have my Lily of the Valley in that very same pot and it has flowered every year, the pot is not very large in fact it is quite small, but deep to accommodate the long roots. After flowering, I give a liquid feed in June then again in August. Ire pot every third year. I use the same pot and am virtually just refreshing the compost.
    Lily of the Valley do not like to dry out, take care with terracotta as plants tend to dry out quickly with these. The plants also like to be quite root bound so don’t go for large pots. My eyesight gradually deteriorates but I can still enjoy the garden. in fact, I think I become more obsessed as the years go by. Alistair ps if you go to my homepage you will see i am still posting.

  2. I’m not sure if this is still appropriate (I see the last entry was 2016 and since it is now 2020 circumstances may have changed (i.e. do hope your eyesight situation has improved!!!) I have spent the last hour in utter frustration on my iphone trying to glean information about my Lily of the Valley in pots, without success!! I have come across your site and thought perhaps I’d give it one more go, after all I have nothing to lose apart from my sanity if things don’t improve!! I have grown the plants in two beautiful old terracotta pots for the last three years and this year they were a mass of flowers and looked absolutely stunning!! However, I understand that they can only be grown like this for a limited amount of time before they need dividing or repotting, in which case I need to be certain of this before risking losing the lot if I’m mistaken!! Therefore I wondered if it would be possible if you could advise me in this matter and ideally give me all the relative information I may need to, hopefully, continue growing these lovely plants in my equally lovely pots!! I had intended to plant any surplus ones in the garden if that’s possible but maybe you could kindly advise me in that respect!
    I appreciate, I am being very presumptuous in this matter and I do apologise for any inconvenience or offense I may have caused, and please don’t feel obliged to even reply if it is not appropriate!
    However, I would very much appreciate it if you could possibly help me in this matter and I look forward to hearing from you at your convenience!
    Best Wishes,

  3. Hello Carole
    Lily of the valley in pots works for me, hope you have the same success. Important that you know which type of macular degeneration which you have. The dry form which I have there is no cure for, it is recommended to take a supplement (Preservision Arreds 2) tests in the USA has proven that this helps the condition from worsening. Here in the UK it is only available at the moment from Amazon.
    The( wet form) of AMD although more serious in some ways can at least be medically treated with a course of injections, I hear its not so very bad, has to be done but I suspect you have the dry form..
    Cataracts, I had my right eye done two months ago, hasnt helped for me reason being my AMD and cornea damage is worse than the cataract. In spite of this I am getting my left eye done this coming Wednesday.
    I have heard that many people with AMD do have success with cataracts done, so good luck on the 16th.
    Oh, Mcgregor! we are off back to Scotland in 11 weeks time.

  4. Hi Alistair , I went on to your website to see if I could plant Lily of the Valley tubars in pots, I have never been successful planting them in the garden, I live in the south part of the UK. which doesn’t have very harsh Winters, so I will try planting them outside in pots now and see how they fare. I was very interested in the trouble with your eyes too, I am due to have my first Cataract done on Nov. 16 th. can’t wait !!!. I also have Macular Degeneration so I don’t know how much better I will see after the cataract op. it is a very frustrating condition as you well know, colours are distorted and it is like looking through a net curtain with patterns on, my Son has used the app. for enlarging for me too, it makes a good difference for me too. I wish you luck with the treatment for your eyes and hope all goes well. I was delighted to see two subjects on your blog that were of interest to me hehe, thank you very much Alistair, if you have a moment would you be good enough to reply with what the supplement is for the Macular Degeneration, over here they seem to think that sticking a needle in your eye does the trick, no thanks. Best Regards Carole .

  5. Sorry to hear for your eye problems, we hope that everything will get better soon! Thank you for gathering all your love for beauty and gardening and still updating with interesting articles and information. Lily of the Valley is such an amazing, delicate and beautiful flower with such a pleasing fragrance we all enjoy so much!

  6. Hi Deb, Like what you do with pots, I guess that system could help with those perennials which spread and get out of hand.

  7. I must plant my hostas in pots because otherwise, voles eat the roots! I find they do well. I buried some of them in the ground in large plastic pots with the bottoms removed.Just the lip of the pot peeks above the ground, and this is covered with pine straw. No more vole damage!

  8. Hi Diana, yes my reading is restricted to the computer where I have a few tricks up my sleeve. Still manage my books on the kindle with the largest fonts. Hoping for an improvement, always a risk to consider with these things.

  9. Lily of the valley must be virtual for me – but they do grow it in Elgin where there is frost for the apple orchards.
    My pots are now mostly small bulbs. Indigenous except for … bluebells, snowflakes, Eucharis lilies, Maltese cross.

    Hope all goes well with your eyes, and that you can achieve an improvement you can enjoy. It is more comfortable to read online and tweak the zoom. I sometimes abandon a book … too tiny, can’t do that!!

  10. Lily of the valley is invasive for me, Like Helene I’ve been digging the stuff up and throwing it away. Or at least relocating it to somewhere it has room to spread. It does a great job of holding the soil in the steeper areas of the garden. Lately I’ve tried sinking it in pots into the soil in an attempt to restrict it where I’d like to have it in tidier borders.
    Good luck with your eye treatment Alistair.

  11. Hello Alistair, I’m sorry to hear of your problems with vision, I hope the cataract surgery and cornea transplant goes well. I enjoy reading your blog and look forward to many more posts giving advice and ideas.

  12. I have sort of run out of space to plant in the borders, think I will give hemerocallis a go in pots.
    Hakonechloa is really good in tubs.

  13. Like you Alistair I grow hostas in pots and this year I am trying a selection of perennials to see which do best. In the past I have had good results with hemerocallis, certain grasses and penstemons. The Lily of the Valley has marched down the border over the years and has now literally piled up at the edge of the path, I might well follow your lead and plant some up in containers for a change.

  14. Hi, Alistair!
    It’s interesting that I tell about Lily of the Valley in my last post too! They grow in shady place near my pond and this year I was surprised to see their flowers. I like your photos of Lily of the Valley.
    I’m very sorry to hear about your problem with eyesight. I hope the surgery does well and you are able to see better. Good luck!

  15. Hi Alistair, I am so sorry that you have been having trouble with your eyes. I hope that you get the OK for surgery soon and that the blurriness lifts.
    I have tried growing Convallaria majalis in two borders twenty years apart and neither attempt was as successful as I had hoped. It is a weed for some – I was hoping it would be one for me, but I will follow your advice and try it in pots next season. I am delighted that you are not considering giving up your blog. Wishing you all the very best, Sarah

  16. Thank you for your kind words Donna, I hope I haven’t come across that I am feeling sorry for myself.
    The magnification of the screen helps greatly and I will keep dropping by from time to time. Enjoy the rest of the gardening season Alistair.

  17. Hi Helene
    From time to time I comment as to how my plant profiles reflect my experience with plants in my garden.
    Lily of the valley should not be kept indoors over Winter. To give them the best start for outdoor use
    they are best started off in pots when purchased in Spring and then planted outdoors in mid May, as I suggest
    Even for this short period it would be unwise to keep indoors in a centrally heated room. If you want to keep it as a pot plant, place the pot in a semi shaded position and leave it there forever more, (do not take indoors in Winter) feeding with high potash at the required time.
    If you want to plant it outdoors it should be done immediately after the short period of its indoor life

  18. Hello Alistair, I wish you good luck with your eye operations, hope everything goes well and once you have decided what to do you won’t have to wait too long.

    It’s interesting what you write about Convallaria, I had them in my previous garden since I introduced 6 tiny pieces of roots in 2004 – and they almost took over the bottom of my garden. I used to pull them up with my hands and give away to anyone willing to take them – and I still had to chuck lots every year. BUT, they didn’t flower much. I did have some flowers here and there, but not a lot, it seemed they were all more intent on producing leaves. I had them in deep shade under the huge camellia, semi shade to the bottom left and dappled shade to the bottom right in my previous garden.

    I pulled up quite a lot when I moved – very easy to do as they are so shallow rooted, and they survived well in pots last year. I planted them early February while dormant and it seems all of them survived, all have produced leaves, but only a handful flowered – just like in my previous garden. And here I have similar light conditions; deep shade and dappled shade.

    Some years ago I tried feeding them a couple of years in a row with tomato feed from leaf emerge and for a few months, made no difference. I think my house is too warm in the winter to bring any inside, I tried that once and they were not happy – died in the end. I would really like to know how to get lots of flowers, if it is about the right kind of feed or anything else – the soil in my previous garden should have been perfect, here the soil is more is so-so. I have too many to dig them all up and put in containers, but I can always try with a few, never done that before, but last year when they all were in 3 litre pots they didn’t flower any better than in the ground.
    Any idea why yours don’t thrive in the ground? Do you lift yours at some point, dry them and then re-plant indoors in the spring? Or do you just take your containers indoors? I assume you don’t buy new ones every year? I have been scratching my head about my convallarias so thanks for highlighting this.

    As for container plants, I have so many I have lost count….I grow anything from raspberries to magnolias in containers and the 3 hostas I have had for donkeys years have lived container life since they arrived. I even have a Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ in a container, it has been growing in a container since 2004 and produces beautiful catkins. Containers are great – requires more in terms of watering but so versatile since they can be moved! Sorry this comment became so long, didn’t mean to take over your blog! Good luck with everything and keep blogging, even if it’s not as often, I have done the same now.
    Take care, Helene.

  19. First I’ll address my favorite Lily of the Valley. It is the birth flower for May birthdays (that’s me)…and it is lovely with an incredible fragrance. Luckily mine do bloom in the garden, because here I can’t keep pots out in winter. Love how they look in your container.

    I am so sorry to hear you have increased vision issues. And I am glad to hear there are solutions though….and you know you are my hero Alistair. You continue to remain blogging, gardening and not letting these issues stop you. I think blogging keeps me going too even with health issues.

    Keep me posted if you can…I will be thinking of you….and if Myrna doesn’t mind I am sending lots of love and big hugs to you!

  20. Ah, Larry
    Always good to hear from you. Glad the gardening is going good, things have been pretty good here also.
    Thanks for the information regarding your sister, very encouraging.
    I saw the consultant a few weeks ago and he wants me to see the specialist who does the cornea transplants
    but he was uncertain as to whether the cataracts would have to be done first, I will find out more in five weeks time.

  21. Just a quick hello Alistair…. I’m sorry to hear of your vision issues… if it’s any encouragement, my sister-in- law has had cornea transplants in both eyes and it was very successful. Having a wonderful gardening year here…. we’ve been so lucky to have missed most of the severe weather in the mid-west and the gardens have been a joy thus far…. all my best regards…. Larry

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