About Lily of The Valley
Lily of the valley is a common name for Convallaria majalis, an ornamental plant with small, bell-shaped white flowers that are often tinged with green. The plant spreads via underground rhizomes and forms dense colonies. It is native to Europe and Asia but has been introduced to the United States and can be found in moist woods and along stream banks in most areas of the country.
The flowers are fragrant, and little kids often pick them to make flower crowns or necklaces. The leaves are lance-shaped, often have a mottled appearance, and grow in pairs opposite each other on the stem. The tiny red berries are poisonous when eaten by people or pets but provide food for birds.
Lily of the Valley is an early spring flower that smells like heaven and looks like a little bouquet of happiness.
The flowers are often used at weddings and are a symbol of purity, sweetness, and humility. They’re also known as Our Lady’s Tears since they’re said to have sprung up where Mary’s tears fell on Earth when Jesus was crucified.
In addition to being very pretty and smelling nice, the plant is mildly poisonous. It’s been linked to toxicity in cattle and dogs (and other animals), so keep it out of kitty’s reach!
Growing Lily of The Valley
Growing lily of the valley can be quite easy, as long as you take care to choose the right location and provide the right conditions for this plant. Here are some tips on how to grow the lily of the valley in your yard or garden.
- Choose a shady spot with well-drained soil. Lily of the valley is a shade-loving plant, so you should find a spot where it will receive at least partial shade throughout the day. You can grow the lily of the valley under trees or next to buildings that provide shade. It’s also important to choose an area with well-drained soil, which means that water doesn’t pool in it after a good rainstorm. This is because the lily of the valley doesn’t do well in standing water and prefers moist but not soggy soil.
- Prepare your garden bed by removing weeds and any other plants that might compete with your lilies for nutrients. Then, rake up any debris such as leaves or twigs to refrain them from attracting any virus or fungal diseases.
- Dig planting holes that are twice as wide as the root ball and deep enough so that the crowns are at or just slightly above the surface. If you are planting multiple plants, space them six inches apart.
- Put one plant into each hole and fill it with soil, tamping it down lightly to remove any air pockets. Water thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots.
- You can also feed your plants every spring with a balanced fertilizer such as 5-10-5 at a rate of one pound per fifty square feet.
Caring Lily of The Valley
Lily of the Valley is a delicate, beautiful flower that you can’t help but love.
But keeping the lily of the valley healthy and happy isn’t always easy. It’s got some special needs. Here are some tips for keeping your lily of the valley plants in tip-top shape:
* They thrive in cool temperatures and partial shade, so if you’re worried about your lily of the valley exposure to too much sun, don’t be afraid to pop it into a shady spot for a while.
* They need moist soil, so be sure to water regularly—the soil should never be bone dry. If you want to give it some extra TLC, consider using distilled water instead of tap water to avoid any minerals or other chemicals that could be included in tap water that might harm your plant.
* Lily of the valley plants are susceptible to certain types of bugs and fungi, so be sure to check for any signs of infestation on a regular basis and treat them immediately if you find anything.
Propagating Lily of The Valley
Propagating the lily of the valley can be done by dividing its root system or by planting seeds. Both methods are relatively simple.
Propagate Lily of the Valley by Seeds
Collect lily of the valley seeds in fall after they have ripened on their stems. Cut off the seed pods with scissors, and store them in a paper bag until you are ready to plant them in spring.
Fill a seed tray with moist potting soil, and sprinkle the seeds on top of it. Cover the seeds lightly with soil, and water them well. Place the tray in a cool, dark location for germination to begin.
Check the tray regularly to make sure that the soil remains moist at all times. Once seedlings emerge from the soil surface, move the tray to a well-lit location out of direct sunlight. Allow the plants to grow for several months before transplanting them into pots or your garden.
Propagate Lily of the Valley by Division
Dig up a clump.
Use a shovel or spade to dig up the entire lily of the valley plant and place it on top of a tarp so the soil doesn’t spill everywhere.
Remove all foliage.
You will not need any of the foliage, so you can clip it off with some shears or scissors and throw it away (or compost it).
Divide the plant into smaller clumps.
Use your fingers or a knife to divide the plant into smaller pieces so that you have individual bulbs with roots attached. Make sure each piece has at least one bulb and several roots attached; they should be about three inches in diameter. You can trim off any excess foliage or roots at this point if necessary.
Replant the divided pieces
Replant each division in a container with well-draining soil. Make sure that each division has ample space to allow for growth. They will grow quickly!
Pest and Disease Control
Lily of the valley is a low-maintenance plant, but it’s not immune from pests and disease. These include:
Slugs and snails. Lily of the valley’s sweet, fragrant scent attracts these slimy creatures. Snails and slugs are most active in the evening or on rainy days, so this is the best time to handpick them or use baits to kill them.
Fungal leaf spots. This disease appears as dark spots with yellow borders on leaves and stems, causing the leaves to eventually drop off. Remove all affected leaves and stems that fall to the ground so they don’t spread. Lily of the valley will continue to grow, but it won’t look as pretty.
Viruses. There are several viruses that can affect the lily of the valley, including the amaryllis necrotic streak virus and the gladiolus mosaic virus. These viruses are spread by aphids and other insects or by coming into contact with infected plants or seeds. Viruses don’t have a cure, so remove any infected plants immediately to prevent them from spreading.