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Gardener reveals perfect hack for replacing common highly invasive plant: ‘[It] looks identical’

“It’s even heat tolerant and a favorite for pollinators.”

"It’s even heat tolerant and a favorite for pollinators."

Photo Credit: iStock

Lily of the valley is an attractive perennial plant that some gardeners might be keen to add to their own green space.

As House Beautiful shared, the drooping, bell-shaped white flowers were a favorite of the late Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, according to the Royal Horticultural Society.

However, despite their delicate features and fairytale aesthetic, they are considered invasive in some states, as Gardening Know How detailed, and all parts of them are toxic and can cause skin irritation. 

Thankfully, one Redditor might just have a more friendly alternative that is just as pretty and not as problematic for your garden — or your neighbors’, for that matter.

They shared a picture to the r/NativePlantGardening subreddit of the Canada mayflower, which also produces small white flowers but is native to eastern North America. 

"It’s even heat tolerant and a favorite for pollinators."
Photo Credit: Reddit

“Beautiful replacement!” one Redditor commented. “I have a huge bed of Lily of the Valley that I’ve been waging war on for over a year. I hope they will finally die off this year when I smother them!”

The original poster detailed why Canada mayflowers (Maianthemum canadense) are the ideal replacement or alternative to lilies of the valley in native plant lawns. They’re even sometimes referred to as the false lily of the valley.

“Mayflower foliage looks identical, can spread to be an excellent ground cover, is fragrant and blooms at the same time,” they said. “It’s even heat tolerant and a favorite for pollinators, which makes it even better than Lily of the valley!”

Any amount of rewilding you can do in your yard will benefit you — by saving money and time on lawn maintenance, conserving water, and lowering water bills — and the environment. 

As our Redditor observed, Canada mayflowers bring a range of benefits for a healthy, responsible garden.

It is not to be confused with the state flower of Massachusetts, though, which is typically referred to as just “mayflower” within America (aka trailing arbutus, with the species name of Epigaea repens).

According to the University of Minnesota’s forestry education extension program, the Canada mayflower’s “flowering stems have 2-3 leaves with an emerging stock of small white flowers that are used for pollen by bees, flies and beetles.” Bee hotels are another great way to attract these pollinators that are vital for a healthy ecosystem.

They might be a little tough to grow, as they need the perfect amount of light and soil conditions to thrive, but they will provide a stunning alternative that won’t bring harm to other plant species in your garden, which the lily of the valley is likely to do.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article did not specify that the flower in question was the Canada mayflower, as opposed to the mayflower that is the state flower of Massachusetts. The article has been updated to reflect the correct usage, and it now explains the distinction. We regret the error.

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