Convallaria majalis (Lily of the Valley)

Scientific Name

Convallaria majalis L.

Common Names

Lily of the Valley, American Lily of the Valley, European Lily of the Valley, Our Lady's Tears, Mary's Tears, May Lily, May Bells


Convallaria latifolia, Convallaria linnaei, Convallaria mappii, Convallaria transcaucasica, Lilium-convallium majale, Polygonatum majale

Scientific Classification

Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Nolinoideae
Genus: Convallaria


Color: White
Bloom Time: Late spring


Convallaria majalis is a rhizomatous perennial that grows up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall, forming extensive colonies. The stem grows with 1 or 2 up to 10 inches (25 cm) long leaves. Flowering stems have 2 leaves and a raceme of 5 to 15 flowers on the stem apex. The sweetly scented flowers are white (rarely pink), bell-shaped, up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) in diameter, and appear in late spring. The fruit is a small, orange-red berry up to 0.28 inches (7 mm) in diameter.

Convallaria majalis (Lily of the Valley)


USDA hardiness zone 4a to 8b: from −30 °F (−34.4 °C) to 20 °F (−6.7 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Despite its temperamental reputation, Lily of the Valley is easy to grow if you buy it ready potted in spring. Dried crowns take ages to get going and do not always survive, and it may also prove difficult to establish chunks supplied by friends. In both cases, pot up the crowns separately in a loam-based compost, water well, and allow them to establish for a year before planting out. (You can do the same in midwinter, forcing the crowns for an early show indoors.)

At planting time, work in some humus, good garden compost or, even better, leafmould. Spread out any underground stems and cover with just a couple of inches of the planting mixture. Mulch well with leafmould. If you find that flowering is poor, an occasional dose of high-potash organic liquid feed may help. See more at How to Grow and Care for Lily of the Valley.


Native throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere in Asia, Europe, and the southern Appalachian Mountains in the United States.

Varieties and Cultivars


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