Madonna Lily Lilium candidum (Ixb/a)

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
Madonna lily


The plant commonly known as Madonna lily has a striking and stately appearance. It is characterized primarily by its large, trumpet-shaped flowers that are pure white in color. These blossoms feature a set of six petal-like segments that are curved gracefully outwards, creating an inviting display. They are known for their remarkable fragrance, which adds a sweet and captivating perfume to the air. The leaves of the Madonna lily are shiny, dark green in color, creating a lush and vibrant backdrop for the flowers. They are arranged in whorls around the stem, with each group of leaves directly above the one below it, giving the plant a tiered effect. The foliage has a narrow, lance-shaped silhouette with a slightly wavy or rippled edge, adding a delicate texture to the plant's overall aesthetic. The stems are sturdy and upright, supporting the weight of the multiple flowers that cluster at the top. Beneath the ground, the Madonna lily develops a robust system of bulbous structures which serve as storage organs. This allows the plant to survive periods of dormancy and rebloom with vigor in subsequent growing seasons. In summary, the Madonna lily is a plant of remarkable beauty with pristine white flowers and lush green foliage, embodying a sense of purity and simplicity in its structure. Its appearance has made it a popular choice for gardens and floral arrangements, symbolizing grace and elegance throughout many cultures.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Madonna Lily, White Lily

    • Common names

      Lilium candidum var. salonikae, Lilium candidum var. cernuum, Lilium candidum var. pulchellum, Lilium candidum var. pyrenaicum, Lilium candidum var. saint-amandianum.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant in question is commonly known as the Madonna lily. The Madonna lily is not typically considered toxic to humans. However, as with many plants, ingestion of large quantities or sensitive individuals might experience mild stomach upset. Handling the plant may also cause skin irritation in some people. It is always a good practice to wash hands after handling plants and to avoid ingesting any plant parts unless they are known to be safe for consumption.

    • To pets

      The Madonna lily is highly toxic to cats. Even small ingestions can cause severe kidney damage. Symptoms of lily poisoning in cats include vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, and dehydration, which can progress to kidney failure and death if left untreated. Dogs are less affected but may experience mild gastrointestinal upset if they consume parts of this plant. It's important for pet owners to prevent their pets, especially cats, from accessing any part of the Madonna lily.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      3-4 feet (91-122 cm)

    • Spread

      1 foot (30 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: Lilium candidum, also known as the Madonna Lily, is highly valued for its striking white flowers that add beauty and elegance to gardens and landscapes.
    • Pollinator Attraction: The Madonna Lily serves as a source of nectar for bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects, playing a role in the pollination of surrounding plants.
    • Cultural Significance: The Madonna Lily has a rich history and is often associated with purity and virtue in various cultures, making it a meaningful addition to thematic gardens and spaces.
    • Wildlife Habitat: The plant can provide shelter and food for various small wildlife, contributing to biodiversity in the garden ecosystem.
    • Seasonal Interest: The Madonna Lily blooms in early summer, offering a seasonal display that can be coordinated with other plants for a succession of blooming in the garden.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Anti-inflammatory: Lilium candidum, commonly known as the Madonna lily, is traditionally used for its anti-inflammatory properties.
    • Skin health: The Madonna lily is used in herbal medicine for treating and healing burns, wounds, and scars on the skin.
    • Emollient: The plant has been used as an emollient to soothe and soften the skin.
    • Demulcent: It has properties that can relieve irritation of the mucous membranes by forming a protective film.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Lilium candidum, commonly known as Madonna Lily, has been traditionally used in perfumery due to its delicate and appealing fragrance.
    • The bulbs of Madonna Lily can be used to produce starch for the textile industry, offering a natural alternative to chemical starches.
    • Due to its striking appearance, the Madonna Lily is often used in religious and ceremonial decorations, symbolizing purity and virtue in Christian iconography.
    • The essential oil extracted from Madonna Lily is sometimes used in aromatherapy for its calming and soothing scent.
    • In artisanal crafts, the petals of Madonna Lily are used to create natural dyes, providing a soft color to fabrics and materials.
    • This plant can be used in the floral industry to create bridal bouquets and wedding arrangements because of its association with purity and elegance.
    • The Madonna Lily is occasionally used in culinary applications as a decorative edible flower to embellish desserts and specialty dishes.
    • In landscape gardening, the Madonna Lily is a popular choice for moon gardens due to its bright white flowers that reflect moonlight at night.
    • Gardeners may use the strong stems and leaves of this lily as natural supports for weaker or more delicate neighboring plants.
    • The leaves of the Madonna Lily, when dried, can be incorporated into potpourri mixes to take advantage of its pleasant scent.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Madonna Lily is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Madonna Lily is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Purity: Lilium candidum, commonly known as the Madonna Lily, often represents purity due to its white color and is frequently associated with the Virgin Mary in Christian symbolism.
    • Innocence: Similarly, the Madonna Lily is a symbol of innocence, reinforcing its pure and unstained nature.
    • Chastity: In historic cultural contexts, the Madonna Lily has been linked to the idea of chastity, especially within religious artwork and literature.
    • Renewal: Due to its perennial growth cycle, the Madonna Lily can also symbolize renewal and rebirth.
    • Heavenly: Its pristine appearance gives it associations with the heavens and celestial beings, often used to represent the souls of the pious or the sacred.
    • Motherhood: The Madonna Lily can symbolize motherhood in relation to its namesake, the Madonna, honoring maternal purity and divinity.

When soil is dry
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Madonna Lily should be watered thoroughly, ensuring the soil is moist but not waterlogged. During the growing season, typically from spring through late summer, water the plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, which may equate to approximately 1 gallon of water every week, depending on local climate conditions. Reduce watering in the fall as the plant prepares for dormancy. Ensure proper drainage to prevent root rot, and water early in the day to allow foliage to dry and reduce the risk of disease.

  • sunLight

    The Madonna Lily thrives best in full sunlight to partial shade. It should be placed in a location where it receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily, although some afternoon shade can be beneficial in hotter climates. Avoid placing it in deep shade as this can lead to poor flowering performance.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The Madonna Lily does well in a range of temperatures but prefers cooler conditions, with ideal temperatures between 60°F and 70°F. It can survive minimal temperatures down to 5°F once established. During active growth, protect the plant from extreme heat by ensuring it has some shade during the hottest part of the day.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the Madonna Lily is important for removing spent flowers and encouraging more blooms. Deadhead the blossoms as they fade and cut back the stems once all the flowers have expired. Pruning is typically done after flowering, usually in late summer or early fall, and should be frequent enough to keep the plant looking tidy.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Madonna Lily prefers well-drained, loamy soil mixed with sand and organic matter to ensure proper drainage. The best soil mix for Madonna Lily should be slightly acidic to neutral, with an ideal pH ranging from 6 to 7.

  • plantRepotting

    Madonna Lily should be repotted every 2 to 3 years or when the plant outgrows its container to ensure it has enough room to grow and the soil is nutrient-rich.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Madonna Lily thrives in moderate humidity levels. It is best to maintain a humidity level between 40-60% for optimal growth.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Grow Madonna Lily in a bright area, avoiding direct intense sunlight.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in well-drained soil; partial sun to light shade.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Lilium candidum, commonly known as the Madonna Lily, begins its life cycle as a bulb, which sprouts stems and linear leaves in the spring. The plant then enters a vegetative stage where foliage growth is prominent, providing energy through photosynthesis. During late spring to early summer, it produces a flowering stalk bearing large, fragrant, trumpet-shaped white flowers, which are pollinated by insects. After pollination, the flowers develop into seed capsules, and by late summer, the seeds mature and are dispersed, potentially giving rise to new plants. The leaves of the Madonna Lily wither and the plant enters a dormant period during late summer to autumn, with the bulb remaining underground until the next growing season. Throughout this cycle, the bulb also has the potential to produce offsets, which are small bulbils that can grow into new bulbs, thereby vegetatively propagating the plant.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The most popular method of propagating the Madonna lily (Lilium candidum) is through bulb scaling. This process typically takes place after the foliage has died back, usually in late summer or early fall. To propagate by this method, a gardener removes a few scales from the outer part of the bulb, being careful to include a portion of the basal plate to ensure that there are growth tissues attached. These scales are then placed in a moist growing medium, such as a mix of peat and perlite, and kept at a warm temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). In a few weeks, tiny bulblets will form at the base of the scales. Once these bulblets have grown to a reasonable size, they can be separated and planted individually. This is a straightforward and effective way to increase one's stock of Madonna lilies.