DIY: Grow Lily of the Valley on a Windowsill by

Issue 105 · Editors' Picks 2013 · January 1, 2014

DIY: Grow Lily of the Valley on a Windowsill

Issue 105 · Editors' Picks 2013 · January 1, 2014

When I'm talking about getting plants to flower indoors, I prefer the word "coax" over "force." It sounds kinder, doesn't it? Well, coaxing Lily of the Valley to bloom indoors is a very good thing to do when you're greedy for all the springtime you can get.

Photographs by Erin Boyle.

growing lily of the valley indoors, gardenista

Above: I bought a pot of already-started pips a little more than a week ago and settled them into their new urban home. Today? There are blooms.

forcing lily of the valley indoors, gardenista

Above: If you live by a nursery that has Lily of the Valley already started in pots, your work is practically finished. To avoid disturbing the roots, I decided against repotting the pips in favor of disguising the pot  I used garden scissors to trim off the top inch of my pot. If you're looking for a new, sharp pair, see 10 Easy Pieces: Floral Scissors.

 

forcing lily of the valley indoors, lining wooden box with parchment paper, gardenista

Above: I lined an old wooden box with a bit of parchment for protection and slipped my plastic pot on top of that. 

forcing lily of the valley indoors, gardenista

Above: After the pot was nestled into a corner, I used moss that I picked up at a local florist shop to cover the edges of the pot. You can also use preserved moss; Green Dried Preserved Moss is $2.99 from Jamali Garden.

 

forcing lily of the valley indoors, gardenista

Above: I broke my moss into smaller bits so that it fit neatly around my pot, but didn't cover any of the emerging pips.

forcing lily of the valley indoors, gardenista

Above: The wooden box fit squarely enough on our windowsill, which gets filtered light for most of the day. I made sure to give the pips a good drenching mist every morning and night. For similar results, you could use a Nickel Plant Mister ($20 from Terrain).

 

starting lily of the valley indoors, gardenista

Above: Ten days later, there were flowers. 

lily of the valley pips, gardenista

Above: If you're hoping to get your hands a little bit more dirty, you can also plant Lily of the Valley pips directly yourself, though in my experience whether they'll flower is a bit more of a gamble.

forcing lily of the valley indoors, gardenista

Above: A bag of pips I picked up at a local nursery came with soil which I moistened before planting. A kit of 12 Lily of the Valley Pips Plus Potting Soil is $29 from White Flower Farm.

forcing lily of the valley indoors, gardenista

Above: I gave a small trim to too-long roots and then potted them in an assortment of small glass jars.

forcing lily of the valley indoors, gardenista

Above: I left just a small bit of the pips exposed and placed them on my windowsill alongside my other plants.

starting lily of the valley indoors, gardenista

Above: The pips that I started myself grew quickly, but they're not showing any signs of flowering. I'm not sure if it's because I didn't use pips that have been specially prepared for growth indoors, but happily, I've gotten my landlord to agree to let me transplant the experiment outdoors. Here's hoping that they might flower some other spring.

For more about Lily of the Valley, your grandmother's favorite plant, see Would Spring Still Smell Like Spring Without Lily of the Valley?

N.B.: This is an update of a post published May 8, 2013 as part of our Kitchen Gardens week.



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