Lily of the valley is a low-growing, 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 care!
Lily of the valley blooms are bell-shaped and appear as a cluster on one side of a leafless stem and last about three weeks. The leaves are located at the base of the plant. The delicate white or soft pink flowers are very fragrant.
PLANTINGWhen to plant lily of the valleyPlant in spring or fall.Choosing and preparing a planting siteChoose a place in the shade or partial shade.Find a location where the soil drains well.Amend the soil with aged manure or compost.Lily of the Valley can also be planted in a container and placed in a shady location.How to plant lily of the valleyDig a small hole.Place the rhizome with the core (pointed bud) in the planting hole about 1/2 inch below soil level.Spread out the roots around the core.Space the rhizomes about 6 inches apart.Cover with soil.Water properly.GROWINGHow to care for Lily of the ValleySide dress with compost when new growth appears in the spring.Keep the soil evenly moist.Do not let the plants dry out.Do not remove the foliage after flowering.The plants will have orange inedible berries in the fall and the leaves will turn golden.Mulch with aged manure or compost in late fall.How to propagate lily of the valleyDivide lily of the valley when dormant in spring or fall.Dig up clumps and separate the rhizome.Replant the rhizomes about 6 inches apart.Water deeply.How to grow lily of the valley indoorsDig up some plants in the fall.Plant in a container and bring indoors.Place the container in a bright place.The plants will flower during the winter months.RECOMMENDED VARIETIESConvallaria majalis var. rosea has pink flowers. The flowers are less fragrant than the white varieties.C. majalis ‘Albostriata’ has white flowers and variegated leaves. The green leaves have creamy white stripes.C. majalis ‘Bordeaux’ produces large white flowers on long stems.C. majalis ‘Fernwood’s Golden Slippers’ has beautiful golden green leaves in early spring.
Lily of the valley as cut flowersPick when 1/4 of the buds are open.Include some leaves in the bouquet.Use small vases or containers.Place the vase in a cool place with medium light.The flowers last up to a week.Change the water every other day.WIT AND WISDOMOther names for lily of the valley are May bells, Our Lady’s tears and Mary’s tears.Lily of the valley is not a lily. It belongs to the asparagus family.All parts of the plant are poisonous.In the language of flowers, the lily of the valley symbolizes the return of happiness.Lily of the valley is the birth flower for May.
According to folklore, the lily of the valley is said to protect gardens from evil spirits.