Planting Lily of the Valley Pips: A Fragrant Delight


Lily of the Valley, known by its scientific name Convallaria majalis, is a beloved flowering plant known for its delicate beauty and enchanting fragrance. With its nodding bell-shaped flowers and lush green foliage, it has captivated gardeners and perfume enthusiasts alike for centuries. If you’d like to introduce this exquisite plant to your garden or cultivate it for its aromatic essence, this guide will provide you with expert advice on how to plant Lily of the Valley and ensure its successful growth.

1. Selecting Healthy Lily of the Valley Pips

Before you begin planting, it’s important to obtain healthy Lily of the Valley pips. These pips, also known as rhizomes, are the underground stems of the plant from which new shoots and roots will emerge. When choosing pips, look for ones that are plump, firm, and free of any signs of rot or damage. It’s a good idea to purchase pips from a reputable nursery or garden center to ensure their quality.
Once you have acquired your pips, inspect them carefully. They should be creamy white in color and show signs of life, such as tiny buds or root nodes. If the pips appear shriveled or desiccated, it’s best to avoid them, as they may have trouble establishing themselves when planted.

2. Preparing the planting site

Lily of the Valley thrives in partially shaded areas with moist, well-drained soil. Before planting, prepare the planting site to create optimal conditions for the lilies of the valley to grow and thrive. Begin by clearing the area of weeds, rocks, and other debris. Lily of the Valley prefers soil that is rich in organic matter, so consider incorporating compost or well-rotted manure into the soil to improve fertility and moisture retention.

To improve drainage, it’s a good idea to loosen the soil with a garden fork or tiller. This will help prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot. In addition, make sure the planting site receives dappled sunlight or partial shade, as direct sunlight can scorch the leaves and stunt the plant’s growth.

3. Planting Lily of the Valley Pips

Planting Lily of the Valley is a straightforward process that requires careful attention to detail. Begin by digging a shallow hole or trench about 4 to 6 inches deep. Depth is important because planting too shallow can cause the pips to dry out, while planting too deep can prevent them from emerging.

Space the pips about 4 to 6 inches apart to allow room for the plants to spread out and form a lush carpet over time. Carefully place the tubers in the hole or trench with the buds or root nodes facing up. Cover the pips with soil and gently compact to eliminate air pockets and secure the pips in place.

After planting, water thoroughly to settle the soil and encourage root establishment. Maintain moist but not soggy conditions throughout the growing season to encourage healthy growth. Mulching the area around the Pips with organic material such as shredded bark or compost can help conserve moisture and suppress weed growth.

4. Caring for Lily of the Valley

To ensure the continued success of your Lily of the Valley plants, it’s important to give them the proper care. Regular watering is essential, especially during dry periods, as the plants prefer consistently moist soil. Be careful not to overwater, however, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot.

Fertilizing Lily of the Valley is generally not necessary as these plants are hardy and can thrive without added nutrients. However, if your soil is poor or lacking in organic matter, you may consider applying a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring to provide a nutritional boost.

To maintain the aesthetic appeal of your Lily of the Valley border, remove spent flowers promptly. This practice, known as deadheading, not only keeps the plants looking neat, but also redirects their energy toward producing new growth and potential fragrance.

5. Divide and Propagate Lily of the Valley

Over time, Lily of the Valley can form dense colonies, and dividing the plants becomes necessary to prevent overcrowding and maintain vigor. Dividing is best done in early spring or fall when the plants are dormant.
To divide Lily of the Valley, carefully lift the clumps from the ground with a garden fork, taking care not to damage the pips or roots. Gently divide the clumps into smaller sections, making sure that each division has a sufficient number of pips and healthy roots. Replant the divisions following the same guidelines as above, and water thoroughly to aid in their establishment.


Planting Lily of the Valley pips is a gratifying endeavor that allows you to experience the beauty and intoxicating fragrance of these beloved flowers. By selecting healthy pips, preparing the planting site, planting with care, providing adequate maintenance, and dividing when necessary, you can create a thriving Lily of the Valley border that will delight your senses for years to come. Whether you’re a dedicated gardener or a perfume enthusiast seeking to capture the essence of this fragrant plant, following these expert guidelines will put you on the path to successful cultivation and a truly enchanting garden experience.


How do you plant lily of the valley pips?

To plant lily of the valley pips, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a suitable location: Select a shady area with well-draining soil. Lily of the valley thrives in moist, organic-rich soil.
  2. Prepare the soil: Loosen the soil and remove any weeds or debris. Add compost or well-rotted organic matter to improve the soil’s fertility and drainage.
  3. Obtain lily of the valley pips: Pips are small, underground rhizomes or bulbs that serve as the plant’s propagating units. Purchase healthy pips from a reputable nursery or obtain them from an established lily of the valley plant.
  4. Plant the pips: Dig small holes or trenches about 1 to 2 inches deep, spaced approximately 6 to 8 inches apart. Place the pips in the holes, ensuring that the growing tips face upwards. Cover them with soil and gently firm it around the pips.
  5. Water thoroughly: After planting, water the area generously to settle the soil and provide moisture to the newly planted pips.
  6. Maintain moisture: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged throughout the growing season. Mulching the area with organic materials can help retain moisture and suppress weeds.
  7. Provide care and maintenance: Lily of the valley requires minimal care. Remove any weeds that compete with the plants and apply a balanced fertilizer once or twice a year to promote healthy growth. After flowering, allow the foliage to die back naturally before trimming it.