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How to Care for Your Lily of the Valley Plant

How to Care for Your Lily of the Valley Plant

If you have been waiting to cover the long stretches in your yard, or if you have been waiting to get some wonderful fragrant flowers in your garden, you should have the lily of the valley planted soon. Once you make this decision, stay stress-free because this Gardenerdy article tells you how to care for this plant.
Samarpita Choudhury
The lily of the valley is known to grow on the graves of the innocent convicts, who were punished for no guilt of theirs!
The lily of the valley plant is known in the scientific realm as Convallaria majalis. But the popular names which have been given to this plant are many. Some of them are Our Lady's tears, Ladder-to-heaven, May Lily, Fairy Cups, to just enlist a few. It is important to know that the leaves of this flower bear an uncanny resemblance to another plant called Ramsons, also known as Wild Garlic. However, it is pivotal to know that unlike Ramsons, which is edible, lily of the valley is extremely poisonous. These beautifully serene, white flowers are very common in the European countries, and later were a thing of craze in America and other parts of the world as well. These flowers grow in such a way that they spread out to form cloaks or covers over a relatively large area. The flower is known for the fragrance that it emits. It is also considered to fetch 'good' luck. Planting these plants in the garden is believed to keep the nuisance of evil and ghosts away. It is also known as the harbinger of happiness, serenity, and modesty. This flower also symbolizes long-lasting marital bliss, and is therefore, an important flower for wedding occasions.

At a glance, you would find them as small, white flowers, almost resembling the shape of a 'bell'. The flowers emit a soothing fragrance. The plant is a herb. The flowers are arranged systematically along the sides of the stalk. The flowers are found to be drooping downwards. When the plant begins to germinate, a set of 2 - 3 leaves appear on a single stem. The color of the leaves is a rich green color, which remains so at most times, except for the winter months. With the onset of spring, they spring back to their original color.


Zone Specifications
USDA Zones 3 - 8

Time of growth
The flowers bloom at the end of spring, usually during the trailing part of April, or in the months of May and early June. It is ideal to plant them during the end of the winter season. The eye-catching factor is the green carpet of the plant, which is so appealing to the eye! The leaves remain green all through the summer period.

Soaking the bulbs
It has been observed in a number of instances that the bulbs of the flowers dehydrate early when not in direct touch with soil. Therefore, before planting them, make sure that you soak them in warm water for sometime. Follow this by cutting off the last section of the bulb. This eases out the water absorption intake of the plant, yielding in rapid growth.

NOTE: There are two distinct ways of having your white bells to bloom! They grow well in pots, as well as flower beds, which cover the area as carpets.


The soil needs to be clayey and/or loamy organic in nature. Good drainage is mandatory. The moisture should be high as the plant adapts to moist soil. The soil should have high contents of humus in it. The soil can be moderately acidic, having a pH of 5 - 6.

Light is yet another factor you should take care of. The plant grows as outdoor spreads, mats, and carpets, but it prefers shade to full sunlight. The plant prefers mild sunlight, especially the morning sun. The area should be shaded rather than being fully exposed to light.

The best time to have it planted is during the cool temperatures in the winter season. It prefers that and blooms in full, just at the fall of the spring season. It prefers a drier season for growth, and withdraws itself during the hot and humid seasons.

The ideal time for adding fertilizers is during the beginning of spring season, and after the blooming season is over. The fertilizers can be the normal all-purpose fertilizers. Care should be taken not to spray the fertilizers directly on the plant. You can also use a mixture of compost and fertilizer for best results.

The plant requires good amount of water. Therefore, watering it sufficiently is needed in order to have beautiful, fragrant blossoms. In order to retain the moisture of the soil, adding mulch is considered to be a good option.

This activity is highly important in order to allow the plant to grow well and remain healthy. The best time to divide it is soon after the blooming season is over. The plant is termed as invasive, as it has the ability to multiply from rhizomes.

► The plant is fast growing, so much so that it has been labeled as invasive in nature. To curb its unnecessary growth, it is better to grow it in pots and urchins or other flowering containers with a good drainage system. But if you wish to have the plant as beds, it is advised to incorporate some forms of barriers to control the growth of the plant.

► The flowering does not happen during the summer months, but it's important to allow exposure of the plant to the morning sun, so that photosynthesis takes place in its own course, and the plant does well in the next season as well.


► The plant is closely related to the religious month of May. In fact the majalis, from its scientific nomenclature Convallaria majalis, means 'of the month May'.

► The flower is closely associated with Biblical inferences. It is said to have grown from the tears of Mother Mary, post Jesus Christ's Crucifixion.

► In France, people actually gift these tiny bell bundles as a lucky charm during the month of May, and more specifically on the May Day.

► King Charles XI of France began the legacy of gifting the ladies of his court with lily of the valley since 1561.

► The plant traces its roots of origin in Europe, but it was introduced in Europe from Japan.

► As many as 10 - 12 flowers grow on a single stalk of the plant.

► The other counterpart of the flower is Convallaria majalis rosea, which is of a pink shade.

► Despite the fact that the plant is highly poisonous, its medicinal properties are put to use.

► The flower is widely accepted as a traditional wedding flower.

► The flower is commercially well exploited in the manufacture of candles, oils, and perfumes.


► The leaves of the flower turn brownish with small pores on them. This is due to a fungal infection, as the plant is very vulnerable to these kinds of infections.

► Stem rot is a cause of worry, as the rotting spreads to the lower portions and causes irreversible damage to the plant, hampering regrowth.

There is no substitute for pruning. When the parts of the plant suffer from diseases, cutting down the infected area not only helps to get rid of the infection, but also averts the spreading of the diseases to other parts of the plant, which is rather a spontaneous process.

Other Solutions
► Always wear gloves to handle the plant while tending to it, or at least have your hands washed rigorously, as they are highly poisonous.

► Insecticide sprays have proved really helpful to arrest the infections if any, and to prevent infections all together.

► The plant is highly poisonous; therefore, growing them should be avoided in case you have kids at home, or even pets for that matter.

As the winters are around the corner, gear up to make ideal conditions of growth for these tiny blossoms, and enjoy the fragrance with the onset of spring.