of the month
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Convallaria majalis (kon-va-LAH-ree-a mah-JA-lis)
Lilies-of-the-valley are rhizomes that have nodding, bell-shaped
flowers occurring in one-sided clusters on 8- to 10-inch-long
stems. They are known for their mild, sweet fragrance.
Lilies-of-the-valley’s flowers are available in white and pink.
The flowers last from three to six days.
• ‘Fortin’s Giant’ - This variety has longer stems and larger
flowers than others.
• ‘Rosea’ - It has light pink flowers.
• ‘Variegata’ - Gold-striped leaves are this variety’s standout
• ‘Prolifica’ and ‘Plena’ - Both varieties have double blossoms.
Lilies-of-the-valley are available year-round although their
peak time is from October through May. The best way to ensure
availability is to order the flowers at least six weeks in
advance from growers or wholesalers. The flowers tend to be
expensive in the off-season.
Lilies-of-the-valley can be held in floral refrigerators at 32 F
to 34 F.
WATER Check the water level daily, and add warm flower-food
solution as needed. Recut stems every two to three days to
ensure effective water uptake. Remove any damaged or dying
Lilies-of-the-valley’s delicate blossoms will deteriorate
rapidly if they are exposed to ethylene gas. Check with your
supplier to make sure your flowers have been treated with an
anti-ethylene agent at the grower or transportation level.
HANDLE WITH CARE The
flowers’ tips are elegant but brittle, so take care when
HEAT SOURCES Advise
customers to display their flowers in cool locations, out of
direct sunlight and away from air and heat vents.
DESIGN TIPS You can use
lilies-of-the-valley individually in wired-and-taped bouquet
designs. Wire each spike for support with a fine gauge, taped
wire bent into a tiny shepherd’s hook, and attach it to the tip
of the flower. Bring the tip down to the end of the stem. Tape
the wire and flower stem together. For a more natural look, add
foliage as the stems are taped.
lilies-of-the-valley when the stems have three or four open
flower bells near the base. Look for puffy buds that show color
up to the tips. The flowers will be the most fragrant when they
are fresh, so be sure to smell them, too.
WHAT'S IN A NAME The genus
name “Convallaria” is Latin for “valley,” referring to where the
plant is found. “Majalis” means “May,” when the plant commonly
are members of the Liliaceae (lily) family. Common relatives
include lilies, tulips, Fritillarias, Ornithogalums, Eremuruses
HOME SWEET HOME
Lilies-of-the-valley were first cultivated in 1420 and are
thought to be native to Europe. They grow wild in England, where
they are found in abundance in many areas.
HISTORY Legend says that the
tears Mary shed at the cross turned to lilies-of-the-valley.
have berries that can be toxic to humans and pets. Also, the
flowers’ scent may bother ill people, so don’t include them in
Some information provided by:
The Chain of Life Network®,
Roy Borodkin; Brannan Street Wholesale Florist Inc.; San
You may reach “Cut Flower of the Month” writer Steven W.
Brown, AIFD, at
email@example.com or by phone at (415) 239-3140.
Super Floral Retailing • Copyright 2008
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.