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Almanac Planting Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)

Lily of the Valley

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Convallaria majalis

Overview

Uses: Quick spreading herbaceous perennial. May be used as groundcover. 

Benefits: Attracts pollinators. Produces small, attractive, white flowers that have a wonderful fragrance. 

Zones: 3 - 9

Sun: Partial Sun to Full Shade

Life Cycle: Perennial 

Mature Height: 12"

Mature Width: 12"

Bloom Season: Spring

Summary

Convallaria majalismost commonly known as Lily of the Valley—is a herbaceous perennial that's best known for its beautiful small white flowers that emerge in the spring and last about 4 weeks. It's flowers produce a sweet, spring-like fragrance. Reddish-orange inedible berries are produced in the fall. 

This plant was Christian Dior's favorite, and the scent produced by its flowers inspired a perfume made by his company.

Despite its name, it's not a Lily and actually belongs to the asparagus family (Asparagaceae) of plants. 

It's known to thrive in many areas of North America, often growing in shady areas that other plants won't. Quickly establishing itself and often spreading fast, it's often utilized as a unique type of ground cover. Use caution though, it's potentially invasive.

Use caution, it's highly toxic if ate.  

Care

Lily of the Valley Care

Convallaria majalis is very easy to care for and does not require lots of attention or maintenance. 

Although it often does not require fertilizer unless soil conditions are quite poor, fertilizations will accelerate growth and keep your plant well fed. We suggest using our slow release fertilizer, or something similiar.

Lily of the Valley may be grown in full sun, although shaded areas are often much better. Prolonged exposure to strong afternoon sun may injure this plant. If growing in full sun, ensure that soil is kept moist and cool through the use of irrigation and mulch (or other suitable ground covers). 

Water regularly after planting until established, or in periods of drought. Its ideal soil is moist, rich, and well draining. It's known to thrive in both acidic and alkaline soil.

It's best to cut back the leaves and flower stalks of this plant in the winter, although not required.

After a few years, we suggest propagating your Lily of the Valley through division. This is best done in spring, and is accomplished by simply cutting the base of the plant and its roots into sections, and replanting those sections. Failure to divide and transplant every few years may result in situations of poor growth. 

Size

Size of Lily of the Valley That You Ship

We ship our Convallaria majalis in a 4" grow pot. The plant will be appropriately sized for its pot. 

Size of Lily of the Valley When Fully Grown

Convallaria majalis typically grows to a height and width of 12". 

Additional Information

Common Names of Convallaria majalis

  • Lily of the Valley

  • May Bells

  • Lady's Tears

  • Mary's Tears

  • Mayflower

Toxicity and Risks of Lily of the Valley

Convallaria majalis is extremely toxic to both pets and people if it's consumed. Do not allow pets or children free access to this plant. All parts of this plant are considered toxic. 

The toxicity of this plant is due to its concentration of cardiac glycosides (cardenolides) throughout all parts of the plant, and concentrated in the roots. 

Symptoms of toxicity include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, irregular heartbeats, and (in severe cases) death.