Convallaria majalis

In the garden

Convallaria majalis is one of the few perennials that grows well in the shade of trees and shrubs.
Even under a very dense shade, the lily of the valley continues to grow, but ceases to flower.

Shade is not the only spot where it grows, Convallaria does well in full sun too and grows in all soils, from sandy to lime and from quite dry to humid.
The soil it enjoys most is a humid, humus rich soil with enough nutrients on a semi-shaded spot.

Originally Convallaria majalis originates in the temperate zones in Europe, Northern America and Asia, in light shadowed forests (mainly oak- and beech-woods) and over many years can spread over large surfaces.

The spreading is mainly by rhizomes that grow from the base of the plant noses.
In the garden you also have to keep this characteristic in mind. If Convallaria gets everything she wants, she might spread rather too far, not keeping within bounds! :-)

A good way to temper her enthousiasm, is by digging in a thick plastic sheet vertically into the ground, about 25cm deep, around a bed where you grow this plant.
An other possibility is to use large containers (10-15 litres), burry them into the ground so deep that the rim fits just below the soil level.
The pot can't be seen then and the plants stay in.
You do have to replant them after approximately five years to give the rhizomes some space.

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Ordering Convallaria plants

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