Friday, May 24, 2024
Lily of the Valley
Local Gardener

About invasiveness of lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis)

Recently, Canada’s Local Gardener changed our profile picture to a thumbnail of lily of the valley. We did it because it is the “birth flower” for the month of May.

We have received word since then, declaring that it is an invasive species. Looking into it, it is not on any invasive species list across the country, but it is noted as a species to watch in Prince Edward Island, and in Ontario in the Credit Valley, Halton and the Upper Thames River.

This does not mean that lily of the valley is a great plant to use in your garden. It increases by underground stolons and many people report difficulty getting rid of it.

Lily of the Valley. Photo credit to Dorothy Dobbie.

It can escape your garden and grow in forested areas, and, unchecked, it becomes a problem. It can colonize an area and choke out native species.

At the same time, it grows in the shade and the foliage stays green throughout the growing season. If you are a dedicated gardener, it is not difficult to keep it in check.

Additionally, the glossy red berries of lily of the valley are very poisonous. As little as one to five berries eaten can lead to a heart attack. This is true for cats, dogs, rabbits and birds as well.

You should know all of the above if you choose to plant it.