The Q&A Archives: Forcing Lily-of-the-Valley to Bloom

Question: I have some 2 year old lily of the valley rhizomes which I chilled in the fridge and planted in Scott's seed starting soil and 50% potting soil a month ago. Only one has a leaf forming and some others have green tips. I am growing them for a May 9thwedding and am worried. Should I start over with fresh ones (if I order from you they will only be 1 year old and I thought I needed 2 years for maturity) My mother is a master gardener in DE and told me that they should be forceable in 3 weeks- I also saw this Martha Stewart and she said 6 weeks (I was trying to stagger plantings to make sure I had them for my wedding and they aren't growing). Please help! I'm running out of time I wanted to use pots of them for my table center pieces as well as some in my bouquet and my mothers corsage. Please respond with any and all advice and information you have. Donna Putnam San Diego, CA

Answer: Flowering of Lily-of-the-Valley occurs on the three year old pip or crown. The first year a new rhizome begins to elongate in early spring and terminates in a vegetative shoot bud by the fall. The following spring leaves appear. Growth the second season is again vegetative. Early in the third season a flower bud begins to form, and at the same time a vegetative growing point forms in the axil of the last leaf. The pip is used for spring time forcing. So based on the grwoth of the lily of the Valley,you may need older plants to get flowers from forcing. Is it possible to dig up some older plants to force indoors, or have they alrady bloomed in your area?

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