Lilies are one of the most appreciated flowering plants by gardeners due to their elegance and pleasant aroma. Among its more than 100 species there is a wild one: the Convallaria majalisalso know as muguet or lily of the valley.
This beautiful outdoor plant will delight any garden and, although it has a certain reputation for being difficult to grow, the truth is that it is not so difficult if we know what to expect. If you want to learn more about how to care for lilies of the valley, keep reading in this EcologíaVerde article in which we have prepared a practical gardening guide on the lily of the valley care.
Characteristics of lilies of the valley
These are the main characteristics of lilies of the valley:
- To begin with, it must be said that although lilies of the valley tend to be sold as bulbous plants, they are not. The Convallaria majalis it grows from a rhizome that is kept buried, which is not exactly the same as a bulb despite maintaining some similarities.
- Its stems usually reach a height of between 15 and 30 cm.
- In the warm months it produces bell-shaped flowers with white or pink petals.
- Despite this, its flowers are not the only striking thing, and it is that its vivid green leaves They are very decorative and a great tool for carpeting and covering garden areas.
- It is a plant with which we must be careful if we have pets or small children, as it is toxic if ingestedso it must be located out of reach of these.
- The best time to plant the rhizomes is in autumn, since this plant appreciates spending a few months of cold before sprouting strongly.
- In France, this plant is a symbol of happiness and good fortune, which is why it is the one that represents May Day, a day on which there is a tradition of giving this flower to the closest people. Furthermore, it is also the national flower of Finland.
Weather for Lilies of the Valley
The Lily of the valley is originally from center of europe, being more difficult to find in the Mediterranean area, since it requires colder climates in general. Bearing this in mind, it is a plant that needs a cold winter to grow strong in the warm monthscoming to appreciate the presence of frost, despite the fact that its leaves can be slightly damaged by very low temperatures: it will more than recover later.
In very hot climates, you will probably have trouble keeping this plant in optimal condition, especially if the winters are very mild.
Light and location for lilies of the valley
The lily of the valley is an outdoor plant, since it needs to be in an airy and clear area. Despite this, in the garden we can plant them both directly in the ground and in pots, although it is important that the latter have drainage holes and no tray underneath. If it is necessary to place the plate, empty it of water about 10 minutes after each irrigation.
Regarding light, this plant does not tolerate direct exposure to high intensity sun. Find an area of shade or semi-shadewhere it is sheltered from direct incidence, but receives ambient light.
Lily of the valley watering
Irrigation is one of the key points to ensure that our lilies of the valley develop properly. This plant needs the soil or substrate is moist at all times, even though without floodingas this would cause rotting of the roots and diseases.
Thus, there is a need for a frequent watering but not too abundant, which maintains an adequate level of humidity, especially during the warm months. Depending on the climate, it is usual to water every 48 hours in spring and summer and every 5 days in the cold months.
We also recommend reading this other post about When to water plants.
Substrate and fertilizer for the lily of the valley
This plant requires a soil rich in organic matterso it will be necessary to have previously enriched it with earthworm humus, compost or some other similar contribution. Also, drain It is also vital to avoid dangerous flooding, so it will be necessary for the soil to be as loose and light as possible.
In the soil mix to plant the muguet in soil, add perlite and gravel to improve its ability to drain water. To plant this plant in a pot, you can use a mixture of peat, earthworm humus and coconut fiber in equal parts, to which you should then add perlite and vermiculite.
Like many flowering plants, the lily of the valley needs a regular fertilization in the growing monthsso we recommend a contribution of earthworm humus or some other fertilizer in spring and summer, every 15 days.
Lily of the valley pruning
The pruning lily of the valley or muguet plant It is very simple. More than a growth pruning, which many plants do need, what this plant simply needs is a maintenance pruningthat it be kept clean of damaged leaves, flowers and stems, cutting them at the end of winter so that they resprout with energy when the heat arrives.
When you do it, try to do it with clean hands or using disinfected pruning shears, which you will also have to disinfect when you finish pruning the plant. In this way, you will avoid the appearance of diseases and pests.
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