Seal of approval

Solomon's Seal

For a shaded spot, here’s a plant that pulls out all the stops. Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum x hybridum) is a woodland dweller whose sublime green-tipped bells march four by four along graceful, arching stems. The plant peaks at around 1.2m high (a shorter version is Polygonatum multiflorum, which grows 60-90cm high), forming an attractive clump of rich green leaves.

Bloom time is late spring to early summer, and the tall stems can be picked for the vase. Pick when most of the flowers are open.

Solomon’s seal is a hardy, herbaceous perennial, dying back in winter, and reappearing around October in the Southern hemisphere. It does best in cool, dappled shade in rich soil with good moisture. Top-dress each year with compost or aged manure then leave it to its own devices; it doesn’t deal too well with disturbances.

Photo credit: M Tutschner

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