Lily of the valley: How to grow Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite ‘unfussy’ plant

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The stems of the plant are covered with tiny, white, nodding bell-shaped flowers that have a sweet perfume. They are known to be low maintenance and will thrive in lots of different conditions as they are quite adaptable. The gorgeous plant is said to be the favourite flower of Her Majesty’s, with them being a permanent feature in the floral displays at Buckingham Palace.

The Queen even had them as part of her Coronation bouquet and has also been seen holding them when she received a bunch from a member of the public.

Tom Hilton, director of hydroponic specialists, National Greenhouse, explained: “Lily of the valley can be bought as crowns from most garden centres or online.

“They dislike cold and wet conditions in the first months of growing, and will struggle to establish in outside soil.

“It’s wise to plant them in pots first, ideally in the month of March, so they can establish indoors.”

By the end of May, they are ready to be moved outside.

Tom added: “Although this adds an extra step to your planting routine, giving your lily of the valley this head start will increase your chances of flowers blooming in the same year.

“If the roots look dry when you first come to plant them, soak them in water for half an hour.

“Carefully separate into individual crowns, each one should have roots and a shoot.”

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The expert recommended planting them individually into seven to eight centimetre pots.

He continued: “Leave the shoot protruding just above the surface of the compost, water the plant, and then place it in a cool greenhouse.

“Continue to water regularly, and once the roots fill the pot, plant outside.

“Aside from their initial growing preferences, lily of the valley is a relatively unfussy plant.”

They prefer to be kept in moist ground throughout their growing season.

However, they can grow in all types of soil from sandy to clay.

The expert added: “They prefer shade or semi-shade throughout the day, the perfect spot to plant them is under a canopy of trees or large shrubs that can provide dappled shade.”

What’s more, they don’t need pruning and are generally pest-free.

Princess Alexandra, the Queen’s cousin, is said to have a passion for roses, in particular, the Golden Celebration rose.

It is known for its glossy, dark foliage and large, cup-shaped, highly fragrant flowers.

They continuously flower in summer and autumn and can be purchased from garden centres as well as online.

Just like the lily of the valley, they tolerate a lot of growing conditions.

They can be grown in chalk, clay, loam or sand but like it to be well-drained.

To allow them to thrive, they must be positioned in the full sun.

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