Plant Type
Sunlight Amount

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-shape, white blooms on the undersides. These blossoms later give way to bluish black berries that are adored by wildlife. The spreading and clumping habit of this plant makes it a great groundcover for shady spots.

Solomon’s Seal

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-shape, white blooms on the undersides. These blossoms later give way to bluish black berries that are adored by wildlife. The spreading and clumping habit of this plant makes it a great groundcover for shady spots.

genus name
  • Polygonatum
light
  • Part Sun
  • Shade
plant type
height
  • Under 6 inches
  • 6 to 12 inches
  • 1 to 3 feet
width
  • Up to 2 feet
flower color
foliage color
season features
problem solvers
special features
zones
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
propagation
Jerry Pavia

Garden Plans For Solomon's Seal

Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

Beginner Garden for Shade

This low-maintenance, foolproof shade garden is attractive in three seasons, but particularly throughout late winter and spring. Witch hazel and astilbe light up the early season with their cheerful blooms. The striking leaves of hosta and Solomon's seal ensure that the garden is attractive even when the flowers aren't in bloom.

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Colorful Combinations

These plants, with their clean green foliage, make great backdrops for other shade-loving perennials in the garden. New sprouts of Solomon's seal emerge in early spring and are ornamental in their own right, resembling green wands that wave playfully in the breeze. In some varieties, this new growth is flushed gray purple, which enhances the whole effect.

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 but lightly 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 relish them.

Solomon's Seal Care Must-Knows

Solomon's seal are pretty easy plants to grow. They prefer rich soils with plenty of organic matter, lots of moisture, and a shady spot—think woodland or shade gardens. Once they are established, they can survive short droughts fairly well. During longer dry periods, however, they do appreciate extra water.

Because of their love of shade, these plants are often found growing in the dappled light under large shade trees. They can take full shade as well, but may look a bit more spindly. Solomon's seal has golden fall color, which shows best where sunlight shines on it. If you plant them where they get some direct sun, they'll do better in cooler morning sun than hot afternoon 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

There is a whole world of little-known types of Solomon's seal that make fantastic shade garden plants. A number of different variegated selections are truly unique, and a large variety of plant sizes are available. You can find dwarf forms that are less than six inches tall and varieties up to 12 feet tall! These varieties can be pricey and typically aren't found at commercial garden centers so check online or at local specialty nurseries.

More Varieties of Solomon's Seal

Jerry Pavia

Common Solomon's seal

Polygonatum x hybridum has gently arching stems with dangling pairs or clusters of cream flowers in late spring. The stout rhizomes are drought tolerant and colonize well. It may reach 5 feet tall. Zones 3-8

Peter Krumhardt

Variegated fragrant Solomon's seal

Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum' has creamy-edged alternate leaves, and usually pairs of hanging creamy bells. It may grow 3 to 4 feet tall, is very drought tolerant, and is hardy in Zones 3-8

Plant Solomon's Seal With:

Peter Krumhardt

Bleeding heart

It's easy to see the origin of bleeding heart's common name when you get a look at its heart-shape pink or white blooms with a protruding tip at the base of the heart. They grow best in partial to full shade in moist, well-drained soil. Some types bloom only in spring and others bloom spring, summer, and fall, provided temperatures aren't too high.

David McDonald

Lungwort

In early spring, the brilliant blue, pink, or white flowers of lungwort bloom despite the coldest chill. The rough basal leaves, spotted or plain, always please and continue to be handsome through the season and into winter. Planted close as a weed-discouraging groundcover, or in borders as edgings or bright accent plants, lungworts are workhorses and retain their good looks. Provide high-humus soil that retains moisture. Although lungwort tolerates dry conditions, be alert for mildew.

Mike Jensen

Columbine

Perfect for cottage and woodland gardens, old-fashioned columbines are available in almost all colors of the rainbow. Intricate little flowers, they are commonly a combination of red, peach, and yellow but also blues, whites, pure yellows, and pinks; they look almost like folded paper lanterns. Columbines thrive in sun or partial shade in moist, well-drained soil. Plants tend to be short-lived but self-seed readily, often creating natural hybrids with other nearby columbines. If you want to prevent self-seeding, deadhead plants after bloom.

Peter Krumhardt

Coralbells

Exciting new selections with incredible foliage patterns have put coralbells on the map. Previously enjoyed mainly for their spires of dainty reddish flowers, coralbells are now grown as much for the unusual mottling and veining of different-color leaves. The low clumps of long-stemmed evergreen or semi-evergreen lobed foliage make coralbells fine groundcover plants. They enjoy humus-rich, moisture-retaining soil. Beware of heaving in areas with very cold winters.

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