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Solomon’s seal is a classic shade garden plant that adds an architectural component to garden beds, thanks to its arching stems. In spring, these stems become lined with small, bell-shaped white blooms on the undersides. These blossoms later give way to blue-black berries that are adored by wildlife. The spreading and clumping habit of this plant makes a great tall groundcover.
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Part Sun, Shade
Under 6 inches to 3 feet
Up to 2 feet
These plants, with their clean green foliage, make great backdrops for other perennials in the garden. New sprouts of Solomon's seal emerge in early spring and are ornamental in their own right. Emerging shoots hold their leaves tightly against their new stalks, creating playful wands. In some varieties, this new growth is flushed gray purple, creating an even greater sight.
There are very few flower colors of Solomon's seal—the most common is white with green tips. A few obscure species offer unique bloom colors, such as purple, pink, or orange. The flowers are often pleasantly fragrant. Once flowers have finished blooming, berries soon take their place. These berries begin green and age to purple-blue, then turn black in color. They are poisonous to humans, but birds delight in eating them.
Soloman's Seal Care Must-Knows
Solomon's seal are pretty easy plants to grow. Solomon's seal plants like dappled shade, rich and organic soils, and plenty of moisture—think woodland plants. Once they are established, they can survive short droughts fairly well. During longer dry periods, however, they do appreciate a good drink of water.
When it comes to exposure, these are plants that do best in part sun, especially sheltered from hot afternoon sun. Because of their love of shade, these plants are often found growing under shade trees. They can take full shade as well, but may be a little bit looser in habit. Solomon's seal has wonderfully golden fall color, and this shows best in part sun.
Solomon's seal are steady growers and can form dense colonies of plants over the years. These plants spread by underground stems called rhizomes. Rhizomes can be divided in early spring or fall to create more plants. Simply dig up the plants and carefully separate or cut apart rhizomes, leaving several growing points on each division. This makes these plants easy to contain if you don't want them spreading too much.
A Collector's Plant
Most gardeners do not know that there is a whole world of little-known types of Solomon's seal that make fantastic garden plants. A number of different variegated selections are truly unique, and large variety of plant sizes are available. You can find dwarf forms that are less than 6 inches tall and varieties up to 12 feet tall! These varieties cost a pretty penny and typically aren't found at commercial garden centers.