Solomon Seal-adding a native shade companion to your garden

Solomon Seal, native plant, woodland garden native

I have been carefully keeping track of this woodland beauty for the last couple years when it magically appeared one spring under the Dogwood tree

Solomon Seal {polygonatum biflorum} is a native woodland beauty that not only looks good in the shade garden but it also has been used for hundreds of years for medicinal purposes. This plant has been often overlooked in the landscape because it is not usually found at your local garden centers and can be ordered from reputable native plant growers. As fall approaches, this is also prime time to add this beauty to your shade garden.

Mostly native to the midwest and eastern U.S. this plant is zone hardy from 3-9 and many times it is hard to find because propagation by seed can take up to 2 years. Native plants require little care and are accustomed to the soil and seasons of your area. Even though this plant can be transplanted any time, it is best to divide this woodland native in the fall after the leaves have withered away. To transplant this woodland beauty you want to only plant is about 2″ or less in the ground and in good rich woodland soil. If you have red clay soil like I do, then add some compost or manure to the soil to give the plant a healthy start. solomon seal 014The Solomon Seal also loves shade but will tolerate morning sun in most zones especially in zones 3-5.

I love the Solomon Seal because its leaves add so much texture to the shade garden. This woodland beauty blooms in the spring with delicate white flowers dangling from the arching leaves. Now in August, the green berries are dangling from the arches of green leaves and then soon will darken and fall off to start new plants.

April 2014 004Sowing by seed takes time and patience. For my clump of Solomon Seal pictured here, it started growing under the flowering Dogwood (cornus florida)  that I planted 5 years ago. Which means that the clump magically came up 2 years after I had planted the small Dogwood tree! I now have been finding random arches throughout the small woodland area behind my home. Even though Solomon Seal is best started by taking a part of the rhizome of the parent plant, the seeds can lay dormant for a few years which makes for wonderful surprises in the garden.

There is so much history in this plant and learning that its name comes from King Solomon who was given this plant to take for wisdom and aid him in doing magic and commanding “his evil demons without coming to harm” [check out http://www.solomonsseal.net/abouttheplant for more information]. Throughout history this plant has been used for medicinal uses such as healing cuts and even removing freckles (maybe I should try this!) The history of this plant is amazing and I really do encourage you to read to find out more.

Fall color

Fall color

There are many garden centers and online growers who carry many woodland plants. Do some research before you spend the money to seeds or plants. It is important to buy plants from reputable nurseries or growers who are not illegally digging up or harvesting seeds. It is our responsibility to protect nature.

Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!solomon seal 015

*I want to highly recommend that you do not just go out in the woods and start digging up woodland plants. Taking woodland plants, seeds,and/or native plants along the roadways and in ditches is illegal in many states. If you know someone who owns some woods, then I would ask them if you can go check out and dig up a ‘start’ from some woodland beauties. Research what you are digging up and please do not dig up and take the whole plant if you do! I also cannot stress enough about taking the whole seed head if you are harvesting seeds too.2014-10-30 14.02.32

2014-2016 copyrighted material C Renee Fuller @ the Garden Frog Boutique

3 thoughts on “Solomon Seal-adding a native shade companion to your garden

  1. Pingback: Can You Control a Groundcover? | The Garden Frog Boutique

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