Solomons Seal are native to woodlands in North America, and can often be found growing in the wild.
This is a hardy and well adapted plant which will give you very little trouble.
It is a relative of the Lily of the Valley, and its flowers greatly resemble those of that plant in shape and fragrance.
With its graceful arching branches, exquisite white flowers shaped like little bells and tipped with yellow or green, the Solomons Seal plant is just the thing for your garden to usher in each new spring season.
The name originates from a mark where the stem rises out of the plant’s rhizome that can often look like two interlocked triangles, the legendary ‘Star of David’ and the symbol of Solomon.
The stems can grow up to four feet high and look extremely attractive with their blue green leaves, each over six inches in length. These leaves will turn golden yellow in autumn, and at that time the plant will have blue berries.
As this is a woodland flower, you should try to re-create its native environment to grow it successfully – but that’s not really difficult.
All plants have a tendency to flourish and spread given the right conditions for their growth.
Choosing a plant that is native to your climate is much better than attempting to grow some sub-tropical plant in conditions that are just not right for its growth.
To grow Solomons Seal, all you need to do is provide it with a rich humus-laden soil and sufficient, though not excessive, moisture.
Leaf compost is excellent for providing the organic components that it needs, especially as it replicates conditions on a forest floor so accurately. As leaves from deciduous trees fall to the floor and begin to rot, they form the kind of soil where plants like Solomon’s Seal can thrive.
Remember the soil needs to be kept moist, but it must never be marsh-like.
Solomon’s Seal is easily obtained from nurseries and garden centres. Don’t ‘steal’ the plant from a wild habitat as this detracts from the natural beauty of the country.
Whether you plant rhizomes or transplants, planting is best done in the spring or in the fall.
If you attempt to grow from seeds, its seeds can sometimes take two years to germinate.
When you plant transplants or rhizomes, put them into the soil to a depth of two inches, and space them about three inches apart.
Propagate by division about every three years or so. It is a rather slow grower so have patience.
Aspect, Planting, and Care
Locate in partial to deep shade. Putting them under trees, or in the shadow of a house, hedge or wall, it will protect them from the sun during the hottest part of the day.
These plants are survivors and will not die easily once established. However, you will have to care for them until they are established being careful to not let the soil dry out.
Mulch over winter, the plant is very hardy and will usually survive winters that are not overwhelmingly harsh.
The berries are very attractive in their own right, don’t ‘deadhead’ the flowers or the berries will not form.
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Solomon’s Seal is a relative of lily-of-the-valley, resembling the dainty fragrant bell shaped flowers. The long arching stems ranging from 3 to 4 feet are the main attraction. The leaves start half way up the stem and continue to the end. They are a rich deep green to bluish green and grow to 7 inches long.
The flowers are white with a yellow to green tips, which dangle down under the foliage. In autumn or fall the leaves turn a bright yellow and it bears blue-black berries.
While this wonderful flower for shade gardening will grow in just about any soil, even dry soil, it will do much better in a good composted, humus rich well drained soil. Add leaf mold before planting and keep on the moist side.
There are several species to choose from. I’m partial to the variegated, with its creamy white edges (P. odoratum Variegatum). The P. commutatum (Great Solomon’s Seal) has yellow flowers and grows to 6 feet. And let’s not forget Fragrant Solomon’s Seal with its captivating fragrance.
When first planted loosen the soil, add compost and keep moist until well established. This shade tolerant flower likes a light and loose type of soil.
If you like long arching stems, this is the plant for you. Other names include Saint Mary’s Seal and Lady’s Seal.