and sentimental, Lily of the Valley are admired for their gorgeous bell-shaped
blooms and lovely scent. In floral language, Lily of the Valley signifies
the return of happiness and indicates purity and humility. Popular not
only as plants, the Lily of the Valley image and scent appear on linens,
china, silver, in perfume, etc. This unassuming flower has accompanied
many a bride down the aisle, including Grace Kelly.
Growing Lily of the Valley
Lily of the Valley is native to Europe, but is distributed throughout North America and Northern Asia. Though its botanical name, Convallaria magalis, indicates that it grows in the valley and belongs to the month of May, the plant actually thrives in dryer wooded areas can bloom April through June, depending on climate. The flowers are white, but a cultivated variety, Rosea, produces pale pink blooms.
Lily of the Valley can grow in zones 2-9, but grows best in zones 3-7. Easy to grow, this plant does well in partial shade with moist, yet well-drained, soil. Lily of the Valley "pips" are available commercially, ready to plant. Roots should be about one inch deep into the soil. The plants will spread out yearly via a sideways-growing root system. They bloom in Spring with flowers that last about a week.
Lily of the Valley require little maintenance - they are practically worry-free! The green leaves make for a nice ground cover that will spread quickly. If the Lily of the Valley plants are "taking over" an area of the garden, dig up the pips in early Spring and share with a friend. Or transfer some to a flower pot and enjoy the plants indoors.
Note: all parts of the Lily of the Valley plant are poisonous
Lily of the Valley has quite a past. It is mentioned in the Song of Solomon in the Old Testament of the Bible, is thought to be a sign of Christ's second coming, and it is said that Mary's tears as she cried at the cross turned into Lily of the Valley blooms.
A French legend tells of Saint Leonard, who lived in the woods to better commune with God. A dragon, representing temptation, also occupied the woods and demanded that Saint Leonard leave his home. Many battles followed and blood was spilled on both sides, though Saint Leonard was the victor. Lilies of the Valley sprung from Saint Leonard's blood on the forest floor.
Lily of the Valley has been used medicinally for a variety of conditions. It has been though to strengthen the brain, stimulate a weak memory, and restore lost speech. Lily of the Valley has been valued as a diuretic, an aid in heart disease, and a cure for headache and earache.