Plant lily of the valley

May lilies announce each year already at the end of April, the beginning of the merry month: The up to 30 centimeters high, reed-like green plants form small, white, intensely fragrant umbels from.

The lily of the valley, scientific name Convallaria majalisInterestingly, it is one of the asparagus plants - so the overlap of the lily-of-the-valley blossom with the asparagus season is not entirely coincidental. In Switzerland, lilies of the valley are known by the name "Maieriesli".

Lily of the valley flowers

Lilies of the valley: information at a glance

  • Root and plant in a schematic overview
  • Plant lily of the valley
  • Distinguishing features: wild garlic or lily of the valley?
  • Lilies of the valley: Nice, but poisonous

Lily of the valley, schematic drawing

Root and plant in a schematic overview

The lily-of-the-valley, which is related to the asparagus, has in common with it the reproductive technique: for example, the plant forms a rhizome, that is, a network of roots storing energy over the winter. In springtime, with rising temperatures, shoot out of the rhizome some shoots that unfold over the earth to the well-known lily of the valley leaves.

As can be seen in the picture, the root rhizome of the lily of the valley is widely branched and not comparable to a compact root tuber, such as the ginger rhizome. Under the soil, the rhizome of the lily of the valley expands rapidly.

A lily of the valley is therefore never alone: ​​Usually, with uncontrolled spread and good, slightly damp and shady conditions, whole carpets of green, fragrant lilies of the valley. But beware As beautiful as the little white bells look - all plant parts are highly toxic and must not be consumed.

Plant lily of the valley

Lilies of the valley are propagators: once planted, they spread quickly over the actual lily of the valley bed. The propagation takes place in four ways:

  • selfing: The lily of the valley can pollinate itself as a hermaphrodite plant.
  • Pollination by insects
  • further spread by the Excretions of birds, in particular blackbirds and bluebirds, which consume the berries of lilies of the valley in summer
  • Separate splits of the rhizome (most frequently)

The lily of the valley and its berries are poisonous.

Lily of the Valley berries

The easiest way to plant lilies of the valley is to dig up one or more lilies of the valley in May (the rhizome should not be injured) and replace it in your garden. You can of course also buy seeds - the effect remains the same: The lily of the valley spreads quickly and fragrant.

Lilies of the valley are in terms of their location not very choosy. However, they love it half shady and not too dry: a slightly damp place, for example under a tree or in the shade of the fence or garden wall, is ideal for planting.

Usually you do not have to water lilies, the time of their inflorescence falls in a rather wet season from April to June. Only if the soil is very dry, or if, as in previous years, there is an untypical spring drought, the lily of the valley must occasionally be poured.

Tip: Choose a location that ensures that infants or pets do not come in contact with the plant. If you can not guarantee the safety of the garden visitors, you should not put this plant in your garden.

Distinguishing features: wild garlic or lily of the valley?

Wild garlic is an absolute trend product in the new German cuisine: Every year in the spring, hosts of people in the woods to pick wild garlic for the pot and for tasty pesto.

Wild garlic, however, has a fatal resemblance to the lily of the valley: Inexperienced newcomers could fall into the hands of a poisonous and deadly lily-of-the-valley leaf instead of a delicious wild garlic leaf. Therefore, we have here, compact and understandable, the essential differences between wild garlic and lily of the valley listed.

  • Odor: Wild garlic smells intensively of garlic, Lilies of the valley smell more like nothing.
  • Leaves: The leaves are individually attached to the stalk of the wild garlic, while the lily of the valley grows together in pairs.
  • Blossom: A garlic-scented flower grows up in the wild garlic as a collective flower, the lily of the valley hanging several small flowers from the flower stem.

Wild garlic - long stems without leaves

wild garlic

Lilies of the valley - leaves on the ground

lily of the valley


If you are not sure whether it is a lily of the valley or a wild garlic leaf: Hands off! The risk of confusion is too great.

Our list is not exhaustive and we can not guarantee the correctness of the distinguishing features listed above.

lily of the valley

Lilies of the valley: Nice, but poisonous

Lilies of the valley, in contrast to the edible wild garlic, are quite poisonous: the contents of flowers, stems and leaves can cause nausea, cardiac arrhythmias and even heart paralysis.

The main poison of the lily-of-the-valley are heartwarming steroids: however, in highly diluted and treated form, these are also used to treat cardiovascular diseases in medicine. Like almost all poisonous plants, the lily of the valley also has a second function as a medicinal plant - but the use should be reserved for pharmacologists: Self-experiments are usually fatal!

Make sure that neither toddlers nor dogs or cats eat plant parts!

Video Board: Gardening Tips: How to Grow Lily-of-the-Valley (Convallaria Majalis)