Convallaria majalis 'Golden Slippers'
Common Name: lily of the valley 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asparagaceae
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Deer, Heavy Shade, Erosion, Clay Soil, Dry Soil


Easily grown in moist, fertile, organically rich, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Performs well in sun-dappled shade. In optimum growing conditions, it will spread rapidly by rhizomes to the point of being weedy, to form dense colonies in the landscape. Tolerates a wide range of soil conditions, including dry and clay soils. This is a long-lived plant which naturalizes readily in woodland areas, possibly negatively affecting native plant populations. Flowering may decrease over time, however, at which point dividing the plants may become appropriate. This is a cool weather perennial which is not recommended for growing in hot and humid summer climates where it will perform poorly. May easily be propagated in spring or fall by root division.

'Golden Slippers' does not spread as aggressively as the species, but care should still be taken to site this plant properly and control its growth when needed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Convallaria majalis, commonly known as lily-of-the-valley, is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial that that typically forms an indefinitely-spreading ground cover to 8-12” tall. It is native to Europe, but has escaped cultivation and naturalized over time throughout much of temperate eastern and central North America plus parts of the northwestern United States. Foliage and flowers make this an attractive and beloved shade garden wildflower. Each plant has 2 to 3 parallel-veined lanceolate-ovate to elliptic green leaves (to 5-10” long and to 1-3” wide). In spring, an erect to slightly arching flowering stem rises from the center of each leaf clump bearing a one-sided raceme (to 4-9” long) of nodding, bell-shaped, sweetly fragrant, white flowers (corollas to 1/3” long) which bloom in early to mid-spring. Each raceme typically contains 5-10 flowers. Globoid orange-red berries may appear in fall, each berry containing 1-6 seeds.

All parts of this plant are very poisonous because they contain cardiac glycosides.

Genus name comes from the Latin word convallis meaning a valley.

Specific epithet means of or belonging to May in reference to the month of flowering.

'Golden Slippers' (often sold as 'Fernwood's Golden Slippers') is a yellow-leaved selection of lily-of-the-valley that was discovered by Rick Sawyer of Fernwood Nursery & Gardens in Montville, Maine. A compact yet vigorous grower, this plant can reach up to 1' tall and will spread by underground rhizomes quickly, but not aggressively, and fill an area. Its foliage emerges bright gold in spring and matures to chartreuse as the season progresses. The flowering stems are upright to slightly arching, reaching 6" tall, and clad with bell-shaped, pendulous, fragrant, white blooms.


Watch for aphids and spider mites. Stem rot, leaf spot, leaf blotch and anthracnose may appear but usually are not significant deterrents to growing this plant. Foliage decline will occur in hot summers. Deer tend to avoid this plant. Spread can be aggressive and this plant is considered invasive in parts of the northern United States. Check local laws and recommendations before adding to your landscape.


Best as a ground cover for shady areas where spread is desired. Good cut flower. Performs well under the shade of trees and shrubs. Will brighten up a shady woodland path or border.