Last updated on May 21st, 2023 at 06:32 pm
Lily of the valley is little bell-shaped flowers that grow in clusters. These flowers have a wonderful, sweet fragrance and bloom in the spring. Also called convallaria majalis, it belongs to the asparagus family and is not truly a lily.
Its foliage resembles some lilies—medium, green leaves 5 to 10 inches in length and 3 inches (ca. 8 cm) wide. The leaves clump and the flowers grow on a long stem in the middle. It is a herb and a perennial in most parts of the world.
Lily of the valley grows well in woodland areas and is native to cool climates in Asia and Europe. It grows well in North America as well. It is used as a folk remedy in small doses. The lily’s sweet fragrance attracts butterflies and is a food source for species like the gray Chi moth. Though it attracts butterflies, it is toxic to people and animals when ingested.
The lily’s scientific name—majalis—means belonging to May. In France, lily of the valley bouquets are traditionally sold on May 1st—International Labor Day. The lily of the valley is the national flower of Finland and an emblem of Yugoslavia.
What does the Lily of the Valley flower symbolize?
The meaning of the lily of the valley flower is very deep in different cultures. In Germany, the flower is associated with Ostara, a pure and humble goddess.
During Victorian times, it stood for a return to happiness.
The flower signified Eve’s tears for her banishment from the Garden of Eden in the Bible. It is also known as Our Lady’s tears in legends related to Christianity. It is believed that these flowers rose after Mary’s tears touched the ground as her son was being crucified. This flower also stands for humility in religious paintings and is a sign of the second coming of Christ.
Lily of the Valley plants are also believed to protect gardens from the effects of evil spirits. It is also believed to guard against spells cast by witches.
All in all, the lily of the valley flower symbolic meanings are:
- absolute purity
- delicate femininity
Meaning of the Lily of the Valley flower colors
The white lily of the valley flower symbolizes rebirth and humility. Other symbols associated with the flower are purity, chastity, motherhood, and sweetness.
The pink lily of the valley flower represents compassion, femininity, love, admiration, and understanding.
The purple lily of the valley flower is a rarity, royalty, passion, accomplishment, dignity, success, and pride.
Interesting facts about the Lily of the Valley flowers
- Lily of the valley is the birth flower for May.
- Giving someone you love a lily of the valley means that they make your life complete, in the language of flowers.
- It is a popular choice of flower in wedding bouquets and religious ceremonies.
- It is toxic to both people and animals. Every part of the plant, including its fruits, is poisonous.
- It is believed to bring luck in love relationships.
- The plant’s leaves are used to make green pigment.
- Lily of the valley extract is used widely in perfumes and cosmetics.
- It was used as a healing tool to combat the effects of gas poisoning during World War I.
- It was also used to treat heart problems, burns to the skin, and epilepsy.
How to grow Lily of the Valley flowers
The lily of the valley grows from a rhizome and a perennial. Plant along with Hostas or Cannas for a colorful flower bed.
- Plant the lily of the valley in moist, well-drained soil.
- Place in partial shade as the plant does well in sunny or full shade (based on soil conditions).
- Water the plants well to thrive.
- Add a bit of fertilizer during the growing season.
How to care for Lily of the Valley flowers
- When new growth sprouts in the spring, side-dress with compost.
- Maintain an even moisture level in the soil.
- Do not let the plants dry out.
- Remove the foliage when the flowers have faded.
- In the late fall, mulch with aged manure or compost.
Best time to gift Lily of the Valley flowers
If you have a friend with a May birthday, you can give these flowers as a gift bouquet or a plant.
Since the meaning of the lily of the valley flower is deep, use your judgment based on the occasion.
You can give it to a friend who is sweet or has accomplished something phenomenal.
Like other flowers, the lily of the valley has significance in many cultures. If you plan to plant some in your garden, ensure that children and pets don’t eat any part of the plant.
The flowers can be cut and used to make a fragrant bouquet for your home or as a hostess gift. Now that you know more about this flower, you can start planting or gifting it.