I just bought Lily of the Valley at a nursery and was wondering if it is invasive? Should I plant it? I love the smell of the flowers or or should I take it back to the store?
Thank you for contacting the Toronto master Gardeners with this timely question concerning Lily of the Valley.
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) is a perennial herbaceous ground cover plant. It is highly invasive in natural areas and spreads by both seeds and rhizomes. Although dispersal by seed is less prolific, even a single plant can rapidly spread by rhizome to form a large colony which will out-compete native as well as non-native species for moisture, sunlight, nutrients and space. The same undesirable effect will also likely occur in your backyard. Once established this plant will take years to remove.
The Toronto Master Gardeners recommend that you do not plant this invasive plant, especially if you live within reach of a natural area (the seeds can be spread some distance by birds and small animals who do not seem to mind their high toxicity) and see if you can return it to the retailer. Save yourself the work and aggravation and don’t plant it, however, if you would like to enjoy the scented white flowers we suggest you plant it in a pot and then dispose of the plant in its entirety in the garbage not in the yard waste before it sets seed.
For more information on this and other invasive species please consult our factsheets: https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/invasive-species-awareness-initiative/
May 26, 2022