Content Detail

This vigorous, shade-loving ground cover has broad green leaves and stands 6 to 8 inches tall. In mid-spring, charming white bell-shaped flowers with a sweet scent dangle along short stems. Lily-of-the-valley spreads rapidly by sprouting from underground stems and may crowd out other plants.

  • Family (English) Lily-of-the-valley
  • Family (botanic) Ruscaceae
  • Tree or plant type Ground cover, Perennial
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Low-growing plant (under 6 inches), Small plant (6-12 inches)
  • Light exposure Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily), Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 2, Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Occasional drought, Road salt
  • Season of interest early spring, mid spring, late spring
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, White
  • Shape or form Creeping, Upright
  • Growth rate Fast

Size and Form:

Lily of the valley grows 6 to 8 inches tall. It is a colony-forming ground cover that will spread rapidly.  Colonizing ground covers produce underground stems that spread out horizontally and shallowly, produce roots and then send up new shoots.  These plants are strong growers and may have the potential to grow aggressively.

Native geographic location and habitat:

It is native to Europe.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Leaves are elongated and grow in groups of twos and threes. entire leaf edges.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Flowers are tiny white, bell-shaped, waxy and appear on erect green stalks in spring.  They are very fragrant.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Flowers may be followed by orange berries later in season.  These berries are poisonous.


Plant Care: 

This is an old-fashioned aggressive ground cover. It is tolerant of most soil types, but grows best in well-drained loamy soil, and is tolerant of drought. If flower production decreases over time, divide clumps to promote flower production. It can crowd out other plants.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Anthracnose (fungus) and slugs can be problematic for this plant. This plant grows very aggressively.



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