Just the name itself rings some wedding bells already. The lily of the valley is a timeless flower that heralds the coming of spring, of joy, and of the wedding season. These are the best care tips from the grower and from flower food producer Chrysal to fully enjoy the romantic convallaria majalis cut flower.
Lily of the Valley
It's a common misconception that the lily of the valley (botanical: convallaria majalis) is actually a lily. It's not. Believe it or not, it's related to asparagus. Only the leaves on the convallaria are reminiscent of a lilium.
Lily of the Valley Is the Wedding Flower
Lily of the valley is known for its many uses. For centuries already convallaria has been used as medicine because the flowers contain glycosides, which are believed to have a positive effect on the heart. You can also be pretty sure that when you buy perfume and cosmetics, you will smell delicate hints of convallaria. The fresh, clean, floral scent is widely used with the aim to create a romantic and feminine atmosphere. The essential oil of convallaria is extracted from the flowers and is used in many perfumes and skincare products.
For florists, the most important thing to know about the lily of the valley is its popularity and symbolism as a wedding flower. Its delicate white flowers and sweet fragrance make it a popular choice for brides who want to create a romantic and elegant atmosphere on their special day.
The symbolism lies in its tiny flowers combined with the pristine white color. This shows the purity and innocence of the bride. Tip for the bride: if you have the jitters just before your wedding, just smell the convallaria in your wedding bouquet and you'll feel relaxed immediately. The sweet fragrance tends to have a calming effect on people.
The last thing noteworthy about using convallaria for wedding designs is its versatility when it comes to incorporating it into wedding décor. Lily of the Valley can be used in a variety of ways, from bouquets and centerpieces to boutonnieres and corsages. Its small size and delicate nature make it a great choice for adding a touch of elegance and romance to any wedding theme.
The Love for Convallaria by the Grower
Nursery Chr. Eggink is the true convallaria specialist. Grower Erik Willemse shares his love for this wonderful flower and unveils some caring tips.
"The Lily of the Valley is a beautiful natural flower and because it is scarce, it is also very exclusive and sought after. We realize that we are important to many brides around the world. It is so nice to make people happy with this product.
Unfortunately, it is not very easy to produce, but we are still learning. Producing excellent quality requires craftsmanship and is therefore challenging and fun to do. Supplying exclusive international customers makes it extra interesting and makes the profession so beautiful. When we see “our” little lilies on various social media from all corners of the world, we experience quite a proud moment, because it's simply cool, right...?
Although most of the convallarias are traded through wholesalers and exporters, we do supply directly to florists and designers as well through our own webshop Eostre.shop. We send these packages directly from the nursery."
How to Increase the Vase Life of Lily of the Valley?
"For a number of customers, we harvest the lilies of the valley as cut flowers, so without roots, sand, and soil. This does shorten the lifespan by approx. 30%. So, in order to still get the best result with these flowers we put them directly in chrysal after harvesting to extend their shelf life.
Two years ago, together with Chrysal, we conducted an extensive test with different types of pre-treatment agents to find out which one gave the best result, with the aim of extending the vase life. As a result, we are now using Chrysal Professional 3.
After receiving it, it is best to place the bundle with lilies directly on a layer of water so that the roots can absorb water. Lilies feel most comfortable with plenty of daylight and no drafts. In terms of temperature, Lilies can handle from 2 to 20 degrees."
Care tips From the Grower
With all his experience, Erik shares his care tips for florists and consumers:
"After receiving the lilies of the valley, it is best to place the bundle with lilies directly on a layer of water so that the roots can absorb water. The convallarias feel most comfortable with plenty of daylight and no drafts. In terms of temperature, these flowers can handle anything from 2 to 20 degrees Celsius."
Care Tips From Chrysal for Florists
A common use for Lily of the valley is in wedding designs. It is also sometimes used in funeral floral arrangements. It can be mixed with other flowers, or used in a mono bouquet for example. It is quite a special flower, with limited supply and availability. With these tips, you will be able to keep the flowers fresh as long as possible in the store.
- Use clean tools and buckets/vases
- Recut the stems and remove leaves under the water line
- Use a conditioner like Chrysal Professional 2
- Provide sufficient flower food to your customers
- Be sure not to display the flowers in direct sunlight or a draught
Care Tips From Chrysal for Consumers
If you want to enjoy your flowers as long as possible you can use the following flower care tips at home:
- Use a clean vase and fresh cold tap water
- Add Chrysal flower food and dose accurately. This will enhance the white color and opening of the flowers
- Cut 2-5 cm from the stem using a clean knife
- Make sure there are no leaves in the water
- Keep the flowers away from the fruit bowl, heaters, direct sunlight, and draughts
The effect of Chrysal BVB and flower food on Lily of the valley is shown in this timelapse YouTube video:
While Lily of the Valley is undoubtedly a beautiful and meaningful flower, it's important to note that it can be quite expensive, especially if you're getting married outside of the flower's peak season (which is typically late spring to early summer). However, many brides are willing to pay the extra cost for the beauty and symbolism that the flower represents.
Header image by Maayke de Ridder for iBulb.