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Wild Lily of the Valley
Wild Lily of the Valley, Maianthemum dilatatum
Also known as False Lily of the Valley, Wild Lily of the Valley is a versatile and beautiful foliage option that grows in USDA zones 3-8. This plant prefers shady to slightly shady areas and is commonly found in wooded areas, especially along water banks. It grows quickly and requires minimal maintenance to grow.
A part of the Asparagaceae family, it is an herbaceous perennial that resembles Lily of the Valley. It grows up to 8 inches tall and has smooth-textured, dark green leaves. Wild Lily of the Valley produces edible (though bitter) berries. The tiny white flowers are in a terminal cluster and bloom from early to late spring.
While most commonly used as pretty foliage, Wild Lily of the Valley is also great for attracting bees and butterflies, as they love the sweet aroma that the flowers produce. Use it to invite pollinators to your garden, but keep an eye on its ability to overtake a garden. To avoid this, it's best to plant Wild Lily of the Valley in containers if there are other plants nearby.
Caring for Your Plant
Maianthemum dilatatum survives best in moist, nutrient-rich, and acidic soil that is in full to partial shade. When caring for your this flower, keep weeds and outside plants away by pulling them frequently. This plant likes its space, so it's best to remove rocks, debris, and dead leaves or mulch away as well.
Though drought-resistant, your plant will do well with regular watering. Water it when the topsoil becomes dry to the touch. Avoid getting the plant itself wet by watering the soil around the plant with a steady stream of water. Moisten until the soil is wet to about a foot deep.
Maintenence your plants with regular prunings after each bloom. When flowers are yellowed and falling off, cut the flower stalks ¼ inch above where it joins the main stalk. To avoid overcrowding, it's beneficial to divide your plants every two to four years, depending on growth.
Wild Lily of the Valley is a gorgeous name for a lovely plant. Although it is small, it will still bring a lot of color and life to an area. The best growing conditions moist to dry soil compositions. These environments will make for an even better producing plant with more color and blooms. All the way from May through June, this plant will put on a show of white flowers highlighted by shiny dark green leaves.