Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Madonna Lily
Lilium candidum

Family: Liliaceae (lil-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lilium (LIL-ee-um) (Info)
Species: candidum (KAN-did-um) (Info)

» View all varieties of Lilies

One vendor has this plant for sale.

20 members have or want this plant for trade.

3 - Candidum hybrids

Flower Habit:
(b) Out-facing

Flower Habit:

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer

Flower Shape:

Bloom Size:
Smaller than than 3" (75 mm)
3" to 6" (76 mm to 150 mm)

Color Pattern:
Unknown - Tell us


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
By dividing the bulb's scales
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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to view:

By Schmetterling
Thumbnail #1 of Lilium candidum by Schmetterling

By Baa
Thumbnail #2 of Lilium candidum by Baa

By mahans30
Thumbnail #3 of Lilium candidum by mahans30

By BobCrystal
Thumbnail #4 of Lilium candidum by BobCrystal

By frostweed
Thumbnail #5 of Lilium candidum by frostweed

By John_Benoot
Thumbnail #6 of Lilium candidum by John_Benoot

By frostweed
Thumbnail #7 of Lilium candidum by frostweed

There are a total of 15 photos.
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5 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral coriaceous On Nov 14, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Mine did not survive its first winter.

This lily has a reputation for capricious performance, growing well in one garden and failing in another for no obvious reason. It is said to grow well among low-growing perennials to shade the soil in summer.

Because it's susceptible to virus, it's best propagated by seed, and this is said to be easy.

Susceptible to botrytis.

Positive flying_squirrel On Jul 17, 2011, flying_squirrel from Priest River, ID (Zone 5b) wrote:

My madonna lilies are blooming for the first time! I started them from seedJan 2010 and planted them out in the summer. I wasn't expecting flowers for another year or two so was quite pleasantly suprized when they budded out. They are on the short side(2 ft) but beautiful clear white blooms. I gave them no special care after planting and they survived the harsh north Idaho climate. Love them!

Positive nevadagdn On Mar 28, 2005, nevadagdn from Sparks, NV (Zone 7a) wrote:

Where happy, this plant will divide like mad. Be prepared to dig and harvest more bulbs every three years, or they will push themselves right out of the ground and do the job for you. That's also when they start failing to bloom.

Positive Monocromatico On Mar 13, 2004, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

The Madonna Lily is one of the oldest plants registered by humans beings. It can be recognized on paintings made by the Minoic civilization that lived on Crete over than 4000 years ago. Its also the first evidence of a plant cultivated only for its beauty, which is a well deserved title for this beautiful lily.

Positive lilyhunter On Jul 23, 2003, lilyhunter from Melbourne
Australia wrote:

It's a temperamental thing to grow, and seems to take off like a rocket in some gardens, whilst it just makes no growth at all in the next one. When in flower it is stunning, however. Brilliantly white flowers with golden pollen, and probably the most intoxicating and intense perfume of any flower I've ever come across. It can sometimes look a bit spindly and sparsely leafed (as Bob Crystal's specimen does) but there are quite a few varieties of this species. Some are taller than others, some lose their lower leaves during flowering, and others are quite vigorous and multiply before you can bat an eyelid.

All in all, it's a very elegant lily with lots of charm that suits formal, cottage, and even succulent gardens.


Positive BobCrystal On Jun 30, 2003, BobCrystal from Rochester, NY wrote:

Like all early plants, it is a plain jane but is disease,insect, abuse and drought resistant. Mine is living under a black walnut tree.
Herbalist use: to induce labor decoct the root and drink
also used as a salve for scalds

Neutral Baa On Jun 29, 2002, Baa wrote:

Large upright Lily from the Mediterranean region of Europe.

Has large (to 9"), lance shaped basal leaves which over-winter (this is the only Lily to do this) which appear in Autumn. The deciduous leaves are smaller (to 3"), lance shaped, glossy leaves arranged up the tall stems. Bears large, pure white, scented, trumpet shaped flowers with yellow bases and anthers.

Flowers late May-July

Likes a neutral-alkaline, fertile soil in sun or light shade. They will not tolerate deep shade and prefer a drier soil than most other lilies.

Plant the Lily bulb close to soil surface for best results


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Sacramento, California
Tallahassee, Florida
Fayetteville, Georgia
Priest River, Idaho
Grayslake, Illinois
Mount Prospect, Illinois
Newton Highlands, Massachusetts
Ludington, Michigan
Piedmont, Missouri
Sparks, Nevada
Himrod, New York
Rochester, New York
Bessemer City, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Felicity, Ohio
Whitehall, Pennsylvania
Etowah, Tennessee
Middleton, Tennessee
Arlington, Texas

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