I have attempted to kill off lily of the valley which has been growing in one of my flower beds for over 20 years; to no avail I might add! I have tried in the past to restrain its spread by installing deep edging as a barrier, but the rhizomes tunneled underneath to escape with ease. I have tried a sharp-edged shovel around the boundary of the planting to sever the rhizomes, but they made their break for the freedom beyond. You would think our harsh winters would kill this plant off. I have ceased watering it and tending to the bed in attempt to rid myself of this plant. Nothing matters; it just keeps growing and coming back stronger year after year.

Ten years ago, I find I had grown weary of the annual task of rototilling the flower bed to the depth of the tines in attempts to eradicate Lily of the Valley. Instead, I removed all the railroad ties supporting the soil, removed and replaced all the soil and added all new landscape timbers in attempts to rid myself of this invasive species. I swear the lily of the valley didn’t reappear until several years ago. But, reappear it did. The plant has since overtaken the whole bed killing off pretty much everything in its path. I had finally given up in my attempt to remove the lily. Seems this plant is just as tenacious as I am; perhaps stubborn would be a better word!

This spring I am about to try again. I have learned it is best to kill the entire plant, roots, runners and leaves and this can be done with what is known as a non-selective herbicide. Seems lilies have a sturdy root system. If you dig them up, you simply break the roots into more pieces and from these pieces grow more plants. So, digging or pulling the plants up generally results in more plants sooner, than had you left them alone in the first place.

Not only is this plant an invasive species it is also poisonous. Lily of the valley is not generally bothered by insect pests, perhaps because all parts of the plant are toxic. Neither is it very susceptible to most diseases. This plant is bound and determined to survive no matter what it encounters. People, pets, or wildlife which eat any part of this lily may experience an irregular heart rate, confusion, digestive upset, diarrhea or vomiting. Lily of the valley can cause serious problems or death if ingested.


If you plan on surviving whatever life throws at you, it is time to start behaving like this plant. Similar to the lily, our survival is dependent upon the roots we develop. The deeper and more extensive our social roots, the better. Humans are social beings and we do best when we are surrounded by friends and family. Forming strong, secure and a number of social bonds, means nothing can break us apart or come between us and helps insure we remain healthy and strong.

Plants do best in rich soil with good drainage. When exposed to warm temperatures and loving care givers, lily of the valley will be around a very long time. The same holds true for humans. Humans do best when we surround ourselves with positive people that treat us with warmth and respect. At the same time, we need to rid ourselves of daily stresses and harmful influences in order to flourish and remain healthy.

Similarly, just as poison staves off whatever may threaten Lily of the Valley, we are capable of staving off negativity by being determined to eliminate these influences from our lives.


It is said that the power of men to envision a better world has been attributed to the lily of the valley. Just as Lily of the Valley symbolizes man’s ability to envision a better world, we, too must strive for a better world and better life. After all, no matter what happen in life, our outlook and our stubborn will to survive and thrive determines our outcome.