The Q&A Archives: Lilly of the Valley

Question: I love Lily-of-the-Valley, and used to enjoy smelling them and picking them back in Pennsylvania. I'd like to plant them here. Is it possible? And, where can I obtain them? I'd appreciate your advice about them - history, folklore, etc.

Answer: Convallaria is derived from the latin Lilium convallium, meaning lily-of-the-valley. It's a perennial plant that grows from pips, which are offshoots of rhizomes. Give them a shady garden spot with lots of room to spread and they'll grow vigorously and multiply rapidly. Amend the soil with organic matter (compost, leaf mold, etc.) prior to planting, and mulch with peat moss or leaf mold to help the soil retain moisture. Lily-of-the-Valley is available from Burpee. Order online at:, or phone toll-free (800) 888-1447. (Item B-12617)

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