Facts About Lily of the Valley


Liliy of the valley, scientific name Convallaria majalis, is native to Europe but has been spread by gardeners who prize it for its sweet smelling flowers that bloom in early spring. It is easy to care for, and quickly forms dense patches.


Lily of the valley is a short, shade-loving groundcover that grows 6 to 12 inches tall and has two or three 6-inch-long green leaves and small, white, bell-shaped flowers.

Landscape Uses

Lily of the valley is good for woodland garden settings, perennial beds and rock gardens where it has room to spread. It grows well in shady areas under trees.


It requires moist, well-drained ground to stay green after blooming. Grow it in partial shade with morning sun to full shade. The USDA recommends it for zones 3 through 8.


This plant naturally spreads by underground rhizomes that can be dug up and replanted. Thin an established bed when flowering becomes sparse.

Medicinal Uses

Although it is considered toxic, it has been used to treat heart disease. Ointments and teas from this plant are used for burns, fever and as a diuretic and sedative.


  • Lily of the Valley
  • Convallaria Majalis L.
  • NC State University

Who Can Help

  • The Wild Flower Society
Keywords: convallaria majalis, shade groundcover, woodland garden

About this Author

Brian Albert has been in the publishing industry since 1999. He is an expert in horticulture, with a focus on aquatics and tropical plants like orchids. He has successfully run an aquatic plant business for the last five years. Albert's writing experience includes the Greater Portland Aquarium Society newsletter and politics coverage for a variety of online journals.