Species Lilium, Madonna Lily

Lilium candidum

Family: Liliaceae (lil-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lilium (LIL-ee-um) (Info)
Species: candidum (KAN-did-um) (Info)
Synonym:Lilium album
Synonym:Lilium peregrinum
» View all varieties of Lilies


9 - Species

Flower Habit:

(b) Out-facing


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Oakland, California

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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.



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


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