Flower Profile: Lily of the Valley
Updated: Nov 19, 2021
Lily of the Valley is a delicate and beautiful (and incredibly prolific) perennial with a bit of a dark side (as anyone who has watched Breaking Bad can attest). And it’s also May’s flower of the month.
With its sweet smell and bell-shaped flowers, Lily of the Valley is an obvious choice for May – it starts to bloom everywhere this time of year. Although it has a wonderful scent, that is a favourite of Christian Dior, it is also highly poisonous.
Lily of the Valley grows well in the shade and Northern climates. Given the ease at which it spreads, you wouldn’t expect it to be in favour with royalty, but it has been used in the wedding bouquets of Queen Victoria, Princess Grace of Monaco, and Kate Middleton. From humble beginnings to elaborate royal weddings – not bad for a simple white flower that actually comes from the asparagus family of plants. It’s said to bring luck in love – maybe that’s why it’s so popular with brides.
Although the tiny flowers are typically the draw to Lily of the Valley, the leaves also have cultural significance. Historically, they have been cultivated to make green dye.
If you are lucky enough to have this flower in your garden, you can expect it to live for up to a decade in the right temperate or in cool conditions. If you plant it, make sure you understand it is an aggressive spreader, and you’ll have to keep it in check so it doesn't take over your entire garden.
Lily of the Valley is the flower for May, with its coveted scent and beauty. Now is a great time to enjoy it.