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Convallaria majalis

Previously known as:

  • Convallaria majuscula
  • Convallaria montana
Phonetic Spelling
kon-vah-LAIR-ee-ah ma-JAL-lis
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Lily of the valley is a rhizomatous perennial in the Asparagaceae (asparagus) family native to Eurasia.  This groundcover grows to a height of 10 inches and a spread of 1 to 2 feet with lush green leaves and delicate fragrant bell shaped white flowers.

Plant in dappled to partial shade to full shade areas in moist organically rich soil.  Tolerant of summer drought and heavy clay or dry soils and is resistant to browsing by deer and rabbits.  Plant at a depth of 3 inches to the base of the rhizome with 15 to 25 plants per square foot and top with mulch every fall.. If you wish to enjoy the bright red berries then genetically different plants must be placed in proximity of each other to promote cross pollination.

Propagate by division in the fall or by seed.  In ideal growing conditions, though they grow slowly their dense rhizomes can spread and choke out other plants.  

Use this ground cover in shady areas, planted under shrubs, in the fonts of beds, in rock, cottage, or woodland gardens.  The flowers make an excellent addition to bouquets so consider planting in these in the front of a cutting garden.  It resists erosion so can be planted along a slope.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Few to no insect problems.  Leaf spot may occur.  They naturalize easily and it is reported as invasive in WI and AK and may become weedy and aggressive in regions with moist, cool, winter climates.  Native alternatives should be considered, see the left column for recommendations.

VIDEO created by Andy Pulte for “Landscape Plant Identification, Taxonomy and Morphology” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee.

 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Bee Hive Garden, Wake Co
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bulb#showy flowers#poisonous#fragrant flowers#small spaces#drought tolerant#white flowers#weedy#slopes#rabbit resistant#mass planting#aggressive#deer resistant#rhizomes#foundation planting#small flowers#fairy garden#naturalizes#rock garden#cutting garden#delicate flowers#flowers late spring#flowers early summer#sensory garden#clay soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#spring flowering bulbs#partial shade tolerant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#heavy shade tolerant#woodland garden#landscape plant sleuths course#bell-shaped flowers
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bulb#showy flowers#poisonous#fragrant flowers#small spaces#drought tolerant#white flowers#weedy#slopes#rabbit resistant#mass planting#aggressive#deer resistant#rhizomes#foundation planting#small flowers#fairy garden#naturalizes#rock garden#cutting garden#delicate flowers#flowers late spring#flowers early summer#sensory garden#clay soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#spring flowering bulbs#partial shade tolerant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#heavy shade tolerant#woodland garden#landscape plant sleuths course#bell-shaped flowers
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Convallaria
    Species:
    majalis
    Family:
    Asparagaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    It is used in purfume and in the pharmasudical industry for use as a heart medication.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eurasia
    Bulb Storage:
    Not necessary
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 0 ft. 10 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 4 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Bulb
    Ground Cover
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    A r1/4" globoid red berry with 1 to 6 seeds in summer but seldom formed
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Petals:
    fused petals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    1-sided, slender cluster (raceme) about 4"-9" long tucked into and shorter than the leaves. 6 to 16 small, nodding, aromatic, white, fused bell-shaped about 1/3" long and wide with 6 lobes that curve out. Flowers appear late spring to early summer for around 3 weeks.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Basal simple paired elliptic or narrow ovate leaves 5 "-10" long 3" to 5" wide with entire margins and parallel veins. Petoioles wrap around a basal stalk that is partially buried underground.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Small Space
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Fairy Garden
    Garden for the Blind
    Rock Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Foundation Planting
    Mass Planting
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Heavy Shade
    Rabbits
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Toxic only if large quantities eaten. Irregular and slow pulse, abdominal pain and diarrhea, low blood pressure, disorientation, coma, seizures
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Cardiac glycosides and saponins
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems