12 Lily of the Valley Companion Plants & Ultimate Care Guide

Note the compatibility of lily of the valley with various companion plants, note how these combinations create resilient and visually appealing garden landscapes. The specific companion plants mentioned include Hostas, Ferns, Irises, Bleeding Hearts, Astilbe, Coral Bells, Japanese Forest Grass, Tiarella, Epimedium, Trillium, Columbine, and Virginia Bluebells. These plants not only thrive under similar growing conditions but also enhance the beauty and health of lily of the valley.

Key Takeaways

  1. Choose the Right Location: Plant lily of the valley in partial shade with moist, well-draining soil to avoid sunburn and ensure optimal growth.
  2. Companion Plant Selection: Pair lily of the valley with shade-loving plants like hostas, ferns, and astilbes to create a visually appealing and harmonious garden.
  3. Careful Handling: Handle lily of the valley with caution as all parts of the plant are highly toxic.
  4. Regular Watering: Maintain consistently moist soil, especially during the first few years, to prevent root rot and promote healthy growth.
  5. Mulching and Fertilization: Apply mulch to retain soil moisture and lightly fertilize in spring to support blooming and overall plant health.

The Enchanting Lily of the Valley

Lily of the valley, scientifically known as Convallaria majalis, is a small yet captivating plant native to Europe and parts of Asia.

With delicate, bell-shaped white flowers adorning thin stems, it exudes both elegance and fragrance.

However, it’s important to handle this plant with caution as it is highly poisonous.

This shade-tolerant plant thrives in moist areas and is commonly used as ground cover or in borders and rock gardens.

Its stunning blooms also make it a popular choice for floral arrangements and bouquets.

Growing Lily of the Valley

lily of the valley companion plants

Lily of the valley is a herbaceous perennial that emerges anew from its roots every spring, gracefully wilting back to the ground in the fall.

Boasting bell-shaped flowers that cluster on slender stalks, this plant adds a touch of elegance to any garden.

Despite its common name, it doesn’t belong to the true lily family and has different growing preferences.

This resilient plant generally thrives in USDA hardiness zones 2 to 3.

It prefers partial shade or filtered sunlight, as its delicate leaves may suffer from sunburn if exposed to excessive direct sunlight.

Symbolizing purity and happiness, the lily of the valley is a cherished flower for wedding bouquets and holds the honor of being Finland’s national flower.

Planting Lily of the Valley in Your Garden

If you’re considering planting lily of the valley in your garden, here are a few steps to guide you:

1 – Choose the right location

Find a spot with partial shade, receiving morning sun but protected from intense afternoon rays. The plant thrives in moist, well-draining soil, but it can also tolerate less-than-ideal conditions.

2 – Purchase healthy plants

Look for lily of the valley plants with vibrant green leaves, free from pests or diseases. If you opt for bulbs, ensure they are firm and free from decay.

3 – Plant at the right time

Fall or early spring, when the soil is cool and moist, is the ideal planting time. This allows the plants to establish themselves before the onset of hot summer weather.

4 – Prepare the soil

Lily of the valley prefers rich, humus-rich soil that drains well. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, consider adding compost or peat moss to improve drainage within the top 6 to 12 inches of the ground.

5 – Plant the lily of the valley

Plant bulbs or young plants around 3 to 4 inches deep and 12 inches apart. Over time, the rhizomes will spread underground, forming a thick, lush mat. After planting, water the plants generously and apply a layer of mulch to keep the roots cool and moist.

6 – Care for the plants

Maintain moist soil, removing any weeds that may compete for water and nutrients. Fertilize the plants in spring to promote growth and flowering.

With a little care and attention, lily of the valley can bring its exquisite beauty and fragrance to your garden.

The delicate white flowers will grace your spring landscape, filling the air with their sweet scent.

However, remember that every part of the plant is poisonous, so handle it with care.

Taking Care of Your Lily of the Valley

lily of the valley companion plants

To ensure your lily of the valley thrives, follow these care tips:

  • Water regularly: Especially during the first year or two, water your lily of the valley plants regularly. They prefer moist, well-draining soil. Be cautious not to overwater, as it can cause root rot.
  • Mulch the soil: Before the stalks appear in late fall or early spring, apply a layer of composted yard trimmings as mulch. This will help retain moisture in the soil and keep the roots cool, while also suppressing weed growth.
  • Fertilize in spring: Lightly fertilize your lily of the valley plants in spring, following the instructions on the fertilizer package.
  • Remove spent flowers: Snip off the flower stalks to encourage new blooms and maintain tidy plants. This prevents the plant from expending energy on growing berries from pollinated flowers.

12 Lily of the Valley Companion Plants

Lily of the valley pairs beautifully with various other plants. Here are some fantastic companion plants to consider:

1. Hostas

lily of the valley companion plants

Hostas are a popular choice for accompanying lilies of the valley.

Their deep green and blue-green foliage creates a striking contrast to the white flowers.

Hostas come in various sizes, allowing you to create a diverse shade garden.

Hostas prefer partial to full shade and well-draining soil. They are relatively low-maintenance and thrive in consistently moist conditions.

Why it pairs well with Lily of the Valley: Hostas complement Lily of the Valley by providing a contrasting foliage texture.

The combination of the large, bold leaves of hostas with the delicate, bell-shaped flowers of Lily of the Valley creates a visually appealing balance.

2. Ferns

lily of the valley companion plants

Ferns offer a graceful backdrop to the delicate lily of the valley blooms. They share a preference for moist soil, making them an ideal pairing.

Ferns are non-flowering, shade-loving plants known for their feathery or leathery fronds.

Ferns thrive in shaded, moist environments with well-draining soil. They add a lush, green backdrop to gardens.

Why they pair well with Lily of the Valley: Ferns and Lily of the Valley share similar growing conditions, and the fine texture of fern fronds complements the more substantial presence of Lily of the Valley flowers.

3. Irises

lily of the valley companion plants

Irises offer bold, colorful flowers that beautifully contrast with lily of the valley’s delicate blooms.

Their varying hues, including blue, purple, yellow, and white, add vibrancy to your garden.

These plants also tolerate slightly more sunlight.

4. Bleeding Hearts

lily of the valley companion plants

With heart-shaped pink or red flowers and ferny foliage, bleeding hearts exude romance and charm.

They make an excellent choice to complement lily of the valley.

It prefers partial to full shade and well-draining soil. Bleeding Heart is a spring-blooming perennial.

Why it pairs well with Lily of the Valley: Both plants have graceful, arching growth habits, and the contrasting flower shapes and colors create a visually dynamic combination in a shaded garden.

5. Astilbe

lily of the valley companion plants

Shade-loving astilbes provide plumes of delicate flowers in shades of pink, red, or white.

They harmonize perfectly with lily of the valley, adding warmth and color to your garden.

Astilbe thrives in partial to full shade with consistently moist soil. It adds vertical interest to the garden.

Why it pairs well with Lily of the Valley: Astilbe and Lily of the Valley both thrive in similar conditions, and the feathery plumes of Astilbe provide a lovely contrast to the bell-shaped flowers of Lily of the Valley.

6. Coral Bells

lily of the valley companion plants

Coral Bells have colorful, lobed foliage in shades of green, purple, red, or silver, and they produce slender spikes of small flowers.

They prefer partial shade and well-draining soil. Coral Bells add color and texture to shaded areas.

Why it pairs well with Lily of the Valley: The colorful foliage of Coral Bells complements the greenery of Lily of the Valley and adds visual interest to the overall planting.

7. Japanese Forest Grass

lily of the valley companion plants

Japanese Forest Grass is an ornamental grass with cascading, arching blades in shades of green or gold.

Growing Conditions: It prefers partial to full shade and moist, well-draining soil. The grass adds a graceful, flowing element to the garden.

Why it pairs well with Lily of the Valley: Japanese Forest Grass and Lily of the Valley both prefer shady conditions, and the flowing habit of the grass provides a soft, elegant contrast to the upright flowers of Lily of the Valley.

8. Tiarella

lily of the valley companion plants

Tiarella, or Foamflower, has attractive, lobed foliage and produces spires of small, airy flowers.

Growing Conditions: It thrives in partial to full shade and moist, well-draining soil. Tiarella adds a delicate touch to shaded areas.

Why it pairs well with Lily of the Valley: The airy flowers of Tiarella complement the bell-shaped blooms of Lily of the Valley, creating a harmonious and textured planting.

9. Epimedium

lily of the valley companion plants

Epimedium, or Barrenwort, is a low-maintenance ground cover with heart-shaped leaves and delicate flowers.

Growing Conditions: It prefers partial to full shade and well-draining soil. Epimedium is drought-tolerant once established.

Why it pairs well with Lily of the Valley: Both plants share a preference for shaded conditions, and the ground-covering nature of Epimedium can complement the taller growth of Lily of the Valley.

10. Trillium

lily of the valley companion plants

Trillium is a spring-blooming perennial with three-petaled flowers, typically in shades of white, pink, or red.

Growing Conditions: It thrives in partial to full shade and moist, humus-rich soil. Trillium adds a natural, woodland feel to the garden.

Why it pairs well with Lily of the Valley: Trillium and Lily of the Valley both contribute to a woodland garden aesthetic, and the different flower shapes and heights create a visually diverse planting.

11. Columbine

lily of the valley companion plants

Columbines have unique, spurred flowers in various colors, including shades of blue, pink, red, and yellow.

Growing Conditions: They prefer partial shade and well-draining soil. Columbines attract pollinators with their nectar-rich blooms.

Why it pairs well with Lily of the Valley: Columbines add color and vertical interest to a shaded garden, and their diverse flower forms complement the simplicity of Lily of the Valley blooms.

12. Virginia Bluebells

lily of the valley companion plants

Virginia Bluebells produce clusters of tubular, blue flowers and have oval-shaped leaves.

Growing Conditions: They thrive in moist, shaded conditions and are often found in woodland settings. Virginia Bluebells are spring-blooming perennials.

Why it pairs well with Lily of the Valley: Both plants share a preference for shaded, moist conditions, and the blue flowers of Virginia Bluebells add a touch of color and diversity to the planting.

Propagating Lily of the Valley

lily of the valley companion plants

To propagate lily of the valley, the most common method is division.

The shallow roots are easy to dig up and separate either with a clean knife or by pulling offset plants away from the root mass.

Propagation through seeds is possible but less reliable and more challenging.

Sow the seeds immediately for the best chance of germination, although it may take up to two years or more before you see blooms.

Lily of the Valley Plant Toxicity

It’s crucial to note that every part of the lily of the valley plant is highly toxic – flowers, leaves, stems, sap, berries, stalks, and rhizomes.

Never consume any part of this plant, nor plant it in an area accessible to consumption.

lily of the valley companion plants

The plant may contain numerous cardiac glycosides, primarily convallarin and convallamarin, which can affect the heart.

Along with that are saponins, capable of impacting the gastrointestinal tract.

So even as they are beautifully innocent, they are definitely not that babe in arms.

I mean, try to be careful about any strange urge of putting it in your mouth! (Yes, sometime this happens!)

Frequently Asked Questions about the Lily of the Valley Plant

lily of the valley companion plants

Can I grow lily of the valley indoors?

While lily of the valley prefers outdoor conditions, you can try growing it indoors in containers with proper care. Provide it with partial shade, moisture, and appropriate soil conditions.

Can lily of the valley survive in hot climates?

Lily of the valley thrives in cooler climates and prefers partial shade. If you live in a hot climate, provide it with ample shade and consistent moisture to increase its chances of survival.

Now that you’ve discovered the enchanting lily of the valley, you’re well-equipped to add this captivating plant to your garden.

Enjoy its delicate white blooms and fragrant beauty as they grace your landscape. Just remember to handle the plant with care due to its high toxicity.

Happy gardening, my friend!