The lily of the valley (Convallaria) is an oligotype or monotypic (which includes a small number of species) genus that belongs to the Asparagus family. More recently, this genus was part of the lily family, and it was also allocated to a separate family of lily of the valley. Carl Linnaeus gave such a flower the Latin name Lilium convallium, which means "lily of the valleys". It is assumed that in Russia the name "lily of the valley" came from the Polish language, this plant is also called rejuvenile, sorochka, rejuvenile, culprit. In natural conditions this flower can be found in Asia, Europe and North America, and it prefers to grow in floodplain oak forests, and in pine, mixed or deciduous forests.
It has been cultivated since the 16th century. There are French cities in which on the first Sunday in May the lily of the valley is celebrated. This plant has medicinal properties, which are used in both traditional and non-traditional medicine. This plant is also widely used in the perfume industry.
Peculiarities of lily of the valley
The lily of the valley blooms in May and June and lasts about half a month.
The bushes are short, about 20-25 centimeters. The creeping rhizome is quite thin and a large number of stubs have a lobular structure. Leaf laminae will grow from 1 to 3. They are broad-lanceolate and have an oblong-oval shape, until the last days of July they retain a deep green color, after which they become yellow and die off. The peduncle grows from the flower bud, it has a triangular cross-section in the upper part.
Also, the peduncle is twisted in a spiral. Fragrant snow-white florets are part of a tassel-shaped inflorescence of 8-12 pieces. The flowers look like small bells that are 0.5 cm wide and 0.4 cm long, as well as short stamens.
When flowering begins to end, the inflorescence will become dark and ovaries will form, which are three-chambered berries. There are three to six seeds inside such fruits. The seeds, like other parts of the lily of the valley, contain poison.
Growing lily of the valley in the garden
Lily of the valley are shade-loving plants and they are listed in the Red Book. Not only the snow-white flowers are very striking but also the dark green leaves which are wide enough.
This flower should be planted next to lily of the valley, ferns and aquilegia. Lily of the valley: Lily of the valley is very vigorous and can crowd out other plants. They also stand out in prefabricated bouquets because any other flowers in the vicinity of lily of the valley quickly wither away. Remember, the poison is in all parts of the lily of the valley so handle very carefully.
Lily of the valley and garden care
Time to plant
Lily of the valley in the open ground should be planted in autumn, namely from the first days of September to November.
They are recommended for planting under bushes or trees as they are best in the shaded area where the moisture does not evaporate so quickly. However, when deciding where to plant lily of the valley they need sunshine because without it they will not flower. And you should also remember that such plants should be protected from strong gusts of wind. Suitable soil should be moist, rich in organic matter, neutral or slightly acidic. If excessively acidic soil in order to correct it, it is necessary to make under a deep (about 0.
3 m), recultivation of 1 square meter from 200 to 300 grams of lime, 10 kg of peat compost or humus, and more fertilizer: 40 grams of potassium sulfate and 100 grams of superphosphate. And the soil should be prepared well in advance. For example, if lily of the valley plants will be planted in autumn, prepare a site for them in the spring.
Transplant such plants in rows in prepared grooves. The distance between the bushes should be 10 centimeters and the rows should be 20 to 25 centimeters wide.
If you want to grow lily of the valley from seeds, you should take into account that they have a very low germination, and such flowers grow relatively long. In this regard, experienced gardeners prefer to propagate such a plant by dividing the rhizome. It should be remembered that each partition should have a sprout, a part of the rhizome and a lobe of roots. Individual sprouts have a flower bud, and you will be able to see them bloom in the coming spring. Such a sprout should have a rounded apex and a diameter of at least 6 mm.
Sprouts that are not as large in diameter and have a pointed apex will only be able to produce leaves next year. Holes should be deep enough, so, in them should be placed vertically lily of the valley root system, with the sprouts should be deepened into the soil for 10-20 mm. If you planted flowers in dry soil, you will need to make abundant watering. After the first frosts will begin, you will need to mulch the area. This measure will keep young flowers from freezing, if not very much snow will fall during the winter.
It is possible not to transplant such a flower for 5 years.
To plant such a flower, you can also plant in spring time, but this year you will definitely not wait for flowering, because the plants will be sick. However, if you are already in the fall time prepare the area for flowers, as described above, and with the onset of spring time dig it up, then the young sprouts will be much easier to adapt in a new place. Planting more lily of the valley plants in the springtime and cover them overnight with loutrasil or film to prevent frosts.
How to care for lily of the valley
Those plants are able to take care of themselves.
The proof is that they will be able to displace any other plant from the bed. But for a good gardener, this will not be enough, as all his flowers must be as well cared for and beautiful as possible. In this regard, lily of the valley will also need some care. When it's hot outside it's important to water these flowers, and remember that the soil in the area must always be moist. Also need to loosen the ground surface on the site and remove weeds.
Also lily of the valley will be grateful if you feed it with organic fertilizer (humus or decomposed manure). Such a plant can become ill with gray vegetable rot, which can be destroyed by treating the bush with fungicide. If the flowers are infected with nematodes, then they will need to be dug up and destroyed. Because of this, it is very important to remove weeds from the lily of the valley in time.
Lily of the valley after flowering
Flowers end in the beginning of summer, but even after that they are still able to decorate the garden plot for a long time with their spectacular foliage.
To prevent such flowers from "conquering" all new territories, the plot where they grow should be fenced with sheets of slate, and they should be buried in the soil by 0.4 m. In the autumn you can begin transplanting these flowers, if there is such a need. If not, just mind your own business, as lilies of the valley are frost-resistant and do not need to be covered. After the spring snow has melted, remove old leaves from the lily of the valley with a rake.
Soon the first sprouts should appear.
Is lily of the valley dangerous?
As mentioned above, all parts of lily of the valley contain poisonous substances. Because of this, work with such plants should only be done with gloves. You should also tell children that the red berries growing on such a flower, as well as its beautiful leaves in no case should be picked and eaten. Also remember that you yourself should not try to prepare any folk remedies from such a plant and use them.
Also need to be extremely careful with drugs that are sold in the pharmacy and include in their composition lily of the valley extract. Use them only on the prescription of a doctor, and in this case strictly adhering to the recommended dosage.
Types of lily of the valley with a photo
Some experts believe that lily of the valley is a monotypic genus, and they allocate in it only one species - lily of the May. Other species, however, they classify as varieties of the lily of the May lily. As a result, a description of the species and varieties of such a plant will be given below.
Lily of the May (Convallaria majalis)
In natural conditions it can be found in the temperate belt of the Northern Hemisphere. The inflorescence is a sparse brush with 6 to 20 flowers with rather long pedicels. The fragrant, bell-shaped flowers may be light pink or white with bent teeth. Garden forms:
- Grandiflora - has very large florets;
- Proliferance - macerated florets have white coloration;
- Variegata - has yellow stripes on the green leaf plates.
Lily of the Keiske (Convallaria keiskei)
In nature, it can be found in the Kuril Islands, Japan, North China, the Far East and Korea.
This species prefers to grow in floodplain meadows, forests and in the taiga zone. Unlike the previous species it has bigger flowers and less early blooming. It is often used to decorate public gardens and parks as well as for pot plants.
Mountain lily of the valley (Convallaria montana)
In the wild, this plant can be found in the middle belt of Southeast America. Compared to the lily of the May, this plant has larger leaves and broad bell-shaped flowers.
Lily of the Caucasus (Convallaria transcaucasica)
It is endemic to the forests of the Caucasus. Its florets are larger and wider than those of the lily of the May.
Lilies in the garden, how to grow lilies