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Lily of the Valley

We have lots of wild lily of the valley growing in this area and I thought I'd like some in my 'wild' garden.  The ones I buy from the garden centre just won't grow for me, I've tried several times and they just die.

I know its illegal to dig plants up from the wild, but I'm very tempted!

Please can someone tell me what I'm doing wrong so that I don't end up in Holloway on bread and water?



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  • HelskiHelski Posts: 13

    We planted lily of the valley under a tree and nothing happened until we removed the tree and now they are going mad, if you live near us we'd gladly give you a clump! Failing that go on your local freecycle or contact your local gardening club and ask if someone has a few to share.  They'll be local to you so should settle in more easily than ones of unknown origin. 

  • BbarbBbarb Posts: 12

    I never thought of freecycle, thank you.

    I have always bought them in the green, and they are planted under a group of three trees where my primroses and cowslips are flourishing (but the trees are conifers which may have a bearing on things) so maybe I'll try them somewhere else.

    I also bought bluebells in the green and they failed, but my snowdrops came up smiling.  

  • Fishy65Fishy65 Posts: 2,272

    Hi Bbarb, from everything I'm hearing about lily of the valley, they can be very temperamental. I've heard some gardeners have it growing quite happily in dry and sunny positions. But elsewhere I hear it prefers damp and partial shade.

    So having recently purchased five plants from the GC, I've planted all five in the shade of a large flowering redcurrant. After all, they are supposedly a woodland species. I shall give them plenty of water until established, especially as April has been bone dry so far. All we can do is try to keep them happy and keep our fingers crossed. Good luck image

  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,850

    My lily-of-the-valley prefers growing in the lawn to anywhere else, which is a pain.  I suspect that the conifers may be the problem; I think it prefers the shade from deciduous trees and shrubs, where the ground isn't so dry.  But Fishy is right, I'm sure - it's one of those plants which will grow where it feels like and not anywhere else.  I transplanted some of mine (out of the lawn!) to a shady spot a few feet away where I thought it would look lovely and be happy growing through ivy under some shrubs.  It's disappeared...

    Last edited: 24 April 2017 06:58:44

    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 3,601

    They certainly are temperamental. Mine grow in damp shade and are very invasive, growing through and over everything else. I have to weed them out to check their advance.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,954

    I bought some very dried up looking pips a couple of years ago and chucked them in a pot stcuk them under a shrub  and forgot about them. They produced a bit of foliage last year and are now very green and shooting up like mad.

    If you have a warmer garden in a warmer area, they might be trickier, but they can often be a bit temperamental until established.

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Joyce21Joyce21 Posts: 15,489

    Mine have spread from half shade to full sun and do well in both.

    SW Scotland
  • WonkyWombleWonkyWomble SuffolkPosts: 4,304

    Hello, I've tried for three years to grow lilly of the valley. I planted it in the shade....nothing! Bought some more planted it in semi shade and nothing! This year found two little clumps struggling in the shade, so moved them to morning sun afternoon shade and they have flowered for the first time! Sounds like there is no rule with these flowers! Good luck!

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,954

    I've had it in sunnier spots too Joyce. I think it just prefers cooler, moister conditions in general, but once it gets going, it's happy to go anywhere. It's a bit like many Hostas. They're perfectly happy in some sun if they have cool feet.  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

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