Lily Of The Valley Seed Pod – Tips On Planting Lily Of The Valley Berries

By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Lily of the valley plants have an Old World charm with their dainty dangling blooms and arching foliage. The berries on lily of the valley and all other parts of the plant are poisonous if you eat them. They are pretty when they turn deep red and add interest among the dark green strappy leaves. But can you plant lily of the valley berries? Certainly, but the easiest and quickest way to start the plants is by division. Still want to try it? Let’s learn how to prepare the seed and when to plant lily of the valley berries for the best chance of success.

When are Berries on Lily of the Valley Ready?

If you wish to try starting lily of the valley plants from seed, you should be aware of one important fact: lily of the valley seed toxicity. Those little lily of the valley seed pods are extremely dangerous to have around pets and children. Since they are so easy to just divide, planting lily of the valley berries is the slow way to go for more plants. Germination is capricious and the seeds must be used as soon as possible and should be ripe.

Viable seed must come from ripe berries. The green berries will turn red and then gradually shrivel and turn rusty brown when they are ripe. Waiting for the seeds to ripen can be an exercise in futility because birds and other wild animals don’t seem to mind their toxic reputation.

To give them a chance to ripen, place small, mesh or fabric bags over the stems where the berries are. They will protect the berries from insects and animals and allow air and light to circulate through. Check the berries on your lily of the valley plant every week until you see them shriveled and darkened. Then it’s time to harvest.

Separating Seed from Lily of the Valley Seed Pods

The dried berries can be hard to open without crushing the seed. Soak them in warm water for an hour to plump up the berries and then carefully excise away the flesh. Use gloves to prevent any of the poisonous flesh or juice from getting on your hands. There will be 1 to 3 seeds per pod. The seeds do not store well so planting lily of the valley berries quickly is important to success.

Choose a lightly shaded area and work the soil at least 6 inches (15 cm.) deep. Incorporate generous amounts of leaf litter or compost to enhance drainage and fertility. Remove weeds and other debris and rake the bed smooth.

Plant the seeds 1/4 inch (0.5 cm.) deep and firm the soil over them. Keep the area moderately moist. Keep a watch on the little plants for the next few years. Slugs, cutworms, and other insect pests will likely find the succulent new stems delicious. Don’t expect flowers for several years.

Alternatives to Planting Lily of the Valley Berries

Now that you know how much work it can be, the question isn’t, can you plant lily of the valley berries, but should you? Dividing the pips or rhizomes is the fastest way to increase your stock of plants. Division should be done in the fall when the plants are dormant.

Dig up a patch of lily of the valley and pull away the little offsets. Plant pips 2 inches (5 cm.) under the soil with the stem area up. Mulch over the area to protect the little plants. In late winter to early spring, pull away the mulch so new sprouts will have an easier time coming up.

New plants will have flowers the following year. If you prefer the challenge of planting the berries, it can be an interesting project. Due to the variability of seed germination, you can always fall back on division to increase your crop of these darling, little, white bell flowers.

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Read more about Lily Of The Valley

Lily of the valley

Lily of the valley, Convallaria majalis ( / ˌ k ɒ n v ə ˈ l eɪ r i ə m ə ˈ dʒ eɪ l ɪ s / ), [1] sometimes written lily-of-the-valley, [2] is a woodland flowering plant with sweetly scented, pendent, bell-shaped white flowers borne in sprays in spring. It is native throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere in Asia and Europe.

Due to its dense content of cardiac glycosides, it is highly poisonous if consumed by humans or domestic animals. [3] [4]

Other names include May bells, Our Lady's tears, and Mary's tears. Its French name, muguet, sometimes appears in the names of perfumes imitating the flower's scent. In pre-modern England, the plant was known as glovewort (as it was a wort used to create a salve for sore hands), or Apollinaris (according to a legend that it was discovered by Apollo). [5]

How to Grow Lily of the Valley in a Pot

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Unlike other plants commonly grown indoors out of season, or forced, lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) is not a bulb. The herbaceous perennial, hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8, grows from a rhizome -- a fleshy underground stem -- and is sold as a pip, a rhizome with roots growing from its bottom and a small bud at its top. If you wish to grow lily of the valley in pots, bundles of these pips are commonly available at garden centers in late fall.

Put on garden gloves and loosen a bundle of lily of the valley pips. Remove all string or rubber bands holding the pips together, and shake off all packing material.

Place the pips in the bottom of a bucket, and put enough cool water in the bucket to cover the entire mass of pips. Let them soak in the water for several hours.

Moisten standard, loam-based potting soil, and place a small amount of it in the bottom of an 8- to 10-inch-diameter plant pot that has bottom drainage holes. When you plant lily of the valley in a container it's best to have a pot that is taller than it is wide it will be better able to accommodate lily of the valley's long roots.

Remove the pips from the bucket, and trim their roots if the pot is not tall enough for them. Use a clean, sharp knife. It won't harm the plants if you have to trim 1 to 2 inches from the roots.

Place the pips in the pot with their buds facing upward and their roots facing downward. Separate the pips slightly so that either 1 to 2 inches of space is between them or they are spread evenly throughout the pot.

Fill the areas around the pips with the moistened potting soil. Adjust the pips' depth so soil just barely covers the tops of the buds.

Place the pot in bright, indirect light in a room that is about 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy. No fertilizer is necessary for the plants, which will grow from the pips.

Things You Will Need

Standard, loam-based potting soil

8- to 10-inch-diameter plant pot with bottom drainage holes

Trim back the plants' stalks of the delicate white or pink, bell-shaped flowers after they fade, but keep watering the plants until their foliage turns yellow.

Plant faded lily of the valley specimens in the ground in spring in a shady spot where their roots have room to spread and form a colony. Be aware that the plant can be invasive, which is one reason to grow lily of the valley in pots even if you intend to eventually move it outside.

Plant lily of the valley into an outdoor pot in early spring, if that's your intention. Again, a deeper pot is desirable as it provides more space for the lily's roots.


All parts of lily of the valley are highly toxic if eaten. Keep the plants out of the reach of small children and pets.

Lily of the valley is a woodland plant with attractive green foliage and tiny, bell-shaped, white or pink flowers. Learn how to plant, grow, and care for lily of the valley in your garden!

About Lily of the Valley

Lily of the valley is a low-growing (6 to 12 inches tall), spreading plant that comes up year after year in late spring. The genus Convallaria includes a single species, C. majalis, which is among the most useful ground covers for shade.

Warning: Lily of the valley is known to be a very aggressive spreader. Plant with caution!

Lily of the valley blooms are bell-shaped and appear as a cluster on one side of a leafless stalk and last for about three weeks. The leaves are located at the base of the plant. The delicate white or soft pink flowers are very fragrant.


Photo by: Monique Dumas-Quesnel / Millette Photomedia.

Convallaria majalis var. rosea

All existing cultivars of lily-of-the-valley have white flowers, except for this lovely nonconformist, which displays pretty pale pink bells that turn even darker pink when the plant is located in full shade. Looks beautiful alone or intermixed with white lily-of-the-valley.

Height: 6 to 8 inches

Photo by: Karl Gercens / Millette Photomedia.

Convallaria majalis 'Fernwood's Golden Slippers'

Many of the newer lily-of-the-valley cultivars don’t tamper with the pristine beauty of the classic white flowers but instead jazz up the look of the leaves, making them broader, brighter, and more colorful. Because the foliage retains its color all summer long, that can be a real asset in the shade garden. This stunning cultivar features bright gold leaves in the spring that gradually change to chartreuse later in the season.

Height: 6 inches

Photo by: Christopher Burrows / Alamy Stock Photo.

Convallaria majalis 'Hardwick Hall'

This welcome visitor from across the pond has been grown for generations in the gardens at England’s historic Hardwick Hall. Its broad, variegated leaves have creamy yellow margins, and the abundant white flowers are exceptionally large. Also try ‘Crème de Mint’, another striking variety with creamy gold leaf edges.

Height: 9 to 12 inches

Photo by: / Alamy Stock Photo.

Convallaria majalis ‘Albostriata’

Broad hosta-like leaves sporting creamy yellow stripes make this lily-of-the-valley a standout in the shade garden from spring through late summer. It's also better behaved than most varieties, tending to grow in clumps rather than spreading out of bounds.

Height: 8 to 10 inches

Photo by: visi39873 © Visions BV, Netherlands / VisionsPictures & Photography.

Convallaria majalis 'Prolificans'

This cultivar is truly prolific, with each flower forming clusters of as many as six smaller cup-shaped blossoms. The individual flower heads are so full that they give the impression of being double flowered. Also try ‘Flore Pleno’, which is similar in appearance but has true double flowers.

Height: 8 to 10 inches

Photo by: visi39873 © Visions BV, Netherlands / VisionsPictures & Photography.

Convallaria majalis ‘Geant de Fortin’ (Fortin’s Giant)

Think of this exceptional cultivar as lily-of-the-valley’s bigger brother. The strongly scented flowers are twice the size, the foliage is broader and greener, and the stature is significantly taller, rising to almost knee level. Also try ‘Bordeaux’, another variety with larger, more abundant blooms.

Height: 12 to 18 inches

Poisonous Lily of the Valley - Can I plant it near raspberries and fruit trees?

posted 1 year ago

  • I just got a bunch of Lily of the Valley, which is very poisonous.

    Can I plant it around the base of my cherry trees, or will it somehow make the cherries poisonous?

    This is also about fifteen feet from my raspberry rows. Will the raspberries become poisonous is they spread too close to them?

    posted 1 year ago
    • 3

  • All parts of the plant are poisonous, but it is still used in limited quantities in herbalism.

    You are safe to plant these wherever. The toxicity won't be imparted to anything. The most dangerous thing about the lily of the valley is that their berries often look appetizing to children they shouldn't be unsupervised around lily of the valley.

    Don't eat it, and don't handle broken plants with bare hands and then suck on your fingers. It won't negatively affect cherries, raspberries, or anything else that grows around them, though they prefer slightly alkaline soil, whereas most food plants that we enjoy, with few exceptions, prefer a soil pH just on the acidic side of things.

    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
    -Robert A. Heinlein

    Watch the video: Lily of the Valley. Fountainview Academy. Help in Daily Living

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