Gardening

Solomon’s Seal: Elegant Shade Plant, Eye Catching Dangling Flowers


Solomon’s Seal: Elegant Shade Plant, Eye Catching Dangling Flowers

Solomons Seal

Photo Compliments of Lorianne DiSabato

Polygonatum biflorum var. commutatum (common name Solomon’s Seal) is an elegant shade plant that has gently arching stems and dangling creamy flowers. It will add height and grace to your shade in spring. It is a very easy plant to grow, and will slowly colonize, even in tough areas where shallow tree roots rob moisture and nutrients. An added bonus is that the foliage turns golden in fall.

Solomons seal is found in wooded areas with rich soil, thickets, and stream. It typically grows 3 to 5 feet, occasionally reaching a height of 7 feet .  The stems can be described as stout and arching . Flowers are bell-shaped, greenish-white, and dangle.  Flowers arise in spring from the leaf axils along and underneath of the arching stems. Flowers appear in clusters of 2 to 10 per leaf axil. Flowers are followed by attractive blue -black berries that are inedible and also dangle from the stems. Leaves are parallel-veined, alternate and grow to a length of 7 inches.

Nomenclature of this plant is somewhat controversial. There is both the Great Solomon’s Seal (can reach a height of 7 feet) and the small Solomon’s seal (only reaches a height of 3 feet).  Each is native to eastern North America. There is unanimous agreement that the small Solomon’s seal is P. biflorum. There is considerable confusion as to what to call great Solomon’s seal.  The current thinking seems to be that the great Solomon’s seal is a variety of P. biflorum, namely  P. biflorum var. commutatum. It should be noted that the small and great Solomon’s seals do differ considerably related to plant size, flower, fruit size, leaf vein arrangement, and the number of flowers per axillary cluster.  The result is  that a number of authorities have assigned great Solomon’s seal separate species status as P. commutatum, P. canaliculatum or P. giganteum, all of these are considered to be synonymous with P. biflorum var. commutatum.

How To Make Your Solomon’s Seal Thrive

Solomon seal grows easily in medium to wet soils in either part shade or full shade. The ideal growing condition is moist soil in partial shade.

General Solomon’s Seal Information

Disease And Pests

No serious insect or disease problems.

Propagation

Propagation is by dividing rhizomes.

Garden Uses

Your best choices are to use this plant in woodland gardens, wild gardens, cottage gardens, native plant, or naturalized areas where it has plenty of room.  It can also be used in containers, beds and borders.  This is an ideal answer for your rain garden, or where erosion control is needed.

Quick Facts

  • Family: Asparagaceae
  • Common Name: Solomon’s seal
  • Type: Perennial
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 3 to 9
  • Height: 3 to 7 feet
  • Spread: 3 to 4 feet
  • Bloom Time: May to June
  • Bloom Color: Green, white
  • Fruit: Showy purple fruit
  • Leaves: Alternate leave, up to 6 inches in length and 4 inches across
  • Sun: Part shade to full shade
  • Water Requirement: Medium to wet, will tolerate wet soil
  • Maintenance: Low

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28 Comments

  1. The forest would look very different without this plant. I’ve seen hundreds this year.

  2. Solomon’s Seal is one of my absolute top favourite plants. Here in the Toronto area, it grows in a very wide range of conditions, something few other plants will do in this climate! I adore its relaxed, lush beauty.

  3. Must get some Solomon’s Seal for our shady, damp areas. Love the flower and the fact that it spreads easily.
    bridget recently posted..Summer days at Flynn’s Cottage.My Profile

  4. Every time I visit you I learn something new Thank you Charlie
    Anyes – Far Away in the Sunshine recently posted..Do you see it?My Profile

    • Thank you for dropping by. My purpose for posting is to take something I know a little bit about and expand my knowledge. Sharing that information helps me do that and the information I get back from others gets me one step closer to my goal.

  5. Solomons Seal is lovely! Thank you for providing the information. I alway learn about plants from your site.

  6. One of my favourite woodland plants, so graceful. Certainly one I could do with adding, perhaps to my new daisy border, it would mix well.
    Janet/Plantaliscious recently posted..Tulips, daisies and a comfy pair of jeansMy Profile

  7. It seems like that plant would do well in your area even though I see that you have it as a Eastern US plant. We have a lot of clay in our soil, so I am thinking it might not do too well here.
    Amy recently posted..Weekly Photo Challenge: FleetingMy Profile

  8. I used to see tons of this around my uncle’s cabin in the Monadnock mountains (NH) when I was a kid. I loved how graceful it looked and I used to get a big kick out of flicking the flowers with my thumb and forefinger, imagining I was ringing tiny little bells!
    I have to say, any parent who over schedules their kids in summer must never have had the pleasure of pinging those little flowers and using imagination! What a wondrous time those cabin trips were!
    Thanks so much for bringing back these wonderful memories, that truthfully I’d all but forgotten!
    Happy Sunday, Charlie!

  9. p.s the Solomon Seal from my Monadnock experience was the big one, 4-5ft tall Great Solomon Seal. To a kid they really looked huge!
    karen recently posted..Weekly Photo Challenge: FleetingMy Profile

  10. What simply delightful flowers!

  11. Always a nice/well behaved plant here. I have a miniature variety, not sure the name. Nice profile.
    Donna recently posted..Around the Garden – Rain at LastMy Profile

  12. I would love to put some of this up around my kids’ tree house, but I fear it would be too dry for it there. It’s always been a favorite wildflower of mine. Maybe I could put it along the edge of the woods next to our house, where it will shaded most of the day, but not have to fight with big tree roots for water!

  13. M. E. Smith says:

    I planted some beautiful variegated Solomon’s seal in my shade garden. Unfortunately, the deer are having a field day with it and have eaten one of the two plants almost completely to the ground. Any suggestions? In the past I have used fabric softener sheets to keep the deer away from my Daylily-just stuff the sheet down in the plant and the deer avoid it because of the smell, I assume. The Solomon’s Seal doesn’t lend itself to having fabric softener sheets hanging off of it. I was thinking about spraying some febreeze around the plant since the deer don’t seem to like scents, but was concerned about hurting the plant with these chemicals.

  14. Charlie, one of my favorite things about Solomon’s Seal is that it’s lovely in the fall too. I’m glad I stopped by since I didn’t realize it will also grow in the shade. Now I can move some to fill in a dark corner that I have.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀
    Wendy L. Macdonald recently posted..Driving Mrs.Crazy ❀ (teaching teens how to drive)My Profile

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