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lily-of-the-valley

Champaign, IL(Zone 5b)

My Grandma has lily of the valley that she's had for 50 years. She brought starts from her old house(that my mom and aunt and uncles were born and raised in) to her new house years ago. She's not doing well and isn't able to take care of them. I was thinking of getting some and putting them in pots for me, my mom, and my sister. Will they do well in pots year after year, or would they be best put in the ground? I had taken a few shoots a couple of years ago and put them in my shade garden, and they keep coming up, but they haven't multiplied at all and haven't bloomed. Any ideas?

Also, they've already bloomed and are done, could I dig them up now?

Kristie

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Hi Kristy, how wonderful that you all want a part of your mum through her old garden, Yes you can grow Lilly of the vally in pots, BUT very shaded and cool if in doors, also the same applies to growing them in the garden, they are really woodland plants and like dapple, shaded nooks, with plenty of leaf mould added, however, as they spread, they will also spread into some sunlight and survive, but need a damp leafmould soil to get going. if you are growing them in pots, maybe the roots are over crowded or soil too dry, knock them out and see, if you replant, add the leaf mould or compost and see if the do better for next year, some people keep them out doors till just about flowering, then bring them indoors to enjoy the perfume once they bloom, hope this helps as it would be a shame to loose them now after all these years, good luck.
WeeNel.

Champaign, IL(Zone 5b)

Thanks WeeNel. They're doing ok at my grandma's, but this is the first year they've bloomed there in awhile. A lot of wild ivy(or something) had taken them over, and last year we cleared it out and they bloomed this year. They're getting overtaken again, so I thought I'd clear the weeds and making dig some up. They're at the end of her trailer right next to her rock driveway....they've started growing into the rock.

As far as the few I had taken and put in my own shade garden, I'm not sure why they haven't spread or bloomed. The leaves even look a lot smaller as well. It could be that I kept forgeting I put them in there and ended up accidentally digging them and and having to replant them. Maybe they just haven't gotten established enough. I also noticed they took a lot longer to sprout than my grandma's did, and she only lives about 20 minutes south of me. Should they be fertilized or anything? I've been fertilizing the bed they're in.....hope that's ok.

Kristie

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Hi Kis, WeeNel again, I think you are geting you own answers really, yes, if you have been accidently digging the lilly of the valley up and replanting, you are disturbing the roots and they dont really like that, also when you moved them from one garden to the next, they need time to establish roots into the new site, yes I would give them a feed especialy since they have done the growing for this year, this will help them to build up strength for next season, I dont know what kind of feed you have used, but I would try dig in as much leaf mould as you can fint AND add some fish blood and bone meal, this feeds quicker than the artificial foods that are like little pellets that are more a general food to give slow release over a longer period, and prob too rich for your Lily of the Valley, as these plants are woodland they get goodness from the leaf fall in the natural environment, (no one comes along to the woods and offers them plant food) but as you will imagine they sustain goodnes from animal bones/droppings, dampness and a cool rootrun from the shaded woodland, it is a case of trying to give them as close to the conditions that they grow in in the wild.
You can get ready mixed blood fish and bone meal at DIY plant dept, or garden centers and it will tell you on the box how much to use. you are also right in thinking, they need time to establish, it you have other plants in that area, just put a cane with a label on it to warn you that you have a plant that is resting under ground, so when you dig, you will see the warning cane, be patient as plants sometimes take a couple of seasons to feel at home in new situation, remember to water when you add your feed and leaf mould/compost as this will get the food down to the roots. hope this helps Kis as these are lovely little plants and wonderful scent, plus your many memories, so good luck.
WeeNel.

Canyon, TX(Zone 6b)

I had on of these, in a very large pot inside my house. I sat on the west side of a south facing window so it mostly got direct morning sun, but there was light there all day. I lived in New Mexico at the time. I did keep it moist and feed it Miracle Grow all the time at least every 2 weeks it not once a week. It got HUGE! It was beautiful! After moving it died back to just a nub and has put off a few leaves but has never achieved its former glory!

I think I might stick it in a smaller pot and let it get root bound more and see it that will make it grow again!

But I am open to any other ideas!

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Hi txflower, your Lily-of-the-Valley, needs resting after flowering, in fact, mine are dying down again now, let the leaves go yellow, give it a feed so it can store energy, (after all you said it grew huge) dont put it into a smaller pot, you may find it needs a larger pot and new soil, keep it in a SHADEY place as they are woodland plants and get tree shade where they grew origionaly, it will come back next spring and start feeding it then, it likes a coolish site, try cover it with some leaf mould if you put it outdoors as this will protect it from frost and give a very little neutrients, good luck, hope it blooms again for you, the perfume from the flowers are wonderful.
WeeNel.

Canyon, TX(Zone 6b)

Thanks WeeNel, I will give it a feed! It is down to just a few (very few) leaves! LOL now it looks for like the type that some people where putting in the top of a vase and had the little chinese fighting fish in.

But I am working on it!! I cant believe how big it got! LOL I have a wounderful pic of my daughter when she was about 1 and walking around. She had started playing peek-a-boo with the leaves and had one half on her head and is looking out from one side! It is one of my favorites!!

So I guess I want it to grow for other reasons too! LOL

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