Garden

Guide to Solomon’s Seal: How to Care for “Polygonatum” Plants

This is our complete guide to the Solomon's Seal plant, otherwise known as "Polygonatum" all you need to know about how to grow & care for it.
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Solomon’s seal, also known as Polygonatum, is a perennial plant native to North America, Europe, and Asia. The plant was named after the sixth seal of King Solomon. The depressions on the plant are very similar to it. Polygonatum also means many knees in ancient Greek.

This flower is the epitome of low maintenance. It is a must-have for every woodland garden out there. Solomon’s seal is stunning from the moment the first flowers bloom. They can be green, white, or pink, depending on the specie. Solomon’s seal will continue to surprise you in fall as well because the spade-shaped leaves will turn yellow.

If you already have perennials that prefer shade, such as lilies or lady’s mantle, Solomon’s seal will fit right in. Some low-growing species of this plant look great in a rock garden as well. Just remember that Solomon’s seal flowers turn into berries in late summer, and these are very toxic to cats, as well as dogs.

About Solomon’s Seal

  • Solomon’s seal is a perennial plant that thrives in damp areas partially covered with shade. They can survive short periods without water. While Solomon’s seal is not prone to diseases, very humid weather can lead to fungus development on the leaves.
  • Since it is a woodland plant, it is best to grow it outside in your garden. But you can keep it indoors too. Solomon’s seal doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, and it is a gorgeous flower suitable for beginners. If your yard has a lot of vegetation and lacks direct sunlight, this flower is the perfect choice for you.
  • Considering that Solomon’s seal grows naturally underneath large trees, it is clear they don’t need a lot of light. Partial to full shade suits them well. However, if you live in a colder climate, you can plant Solomon’s seal in a sunnier spot, and the flowers will not wilt away.
  • New plants should be watered often as they love damp soil. Just make sure you don’t overdo it. Excessive watering might lead to root rot. Mature Solomon’s seal is more resistant, but you should still keep the ground moist.
  • You can grow Solomon’s seal from seeds, but they sometimes take up to two years to sprout. The easier way is to start with a couple of rhizomes. Rhizomes are usually available in garden centers, but if you have a friend who already has a woodland garden, ask them to help you out.
Solomon’s Seal
Solomon’s Seal

Solomon’s Seal Features: An Overview

  • Solomon’s seal starts blooming in April. Your yard will be decorated with gorgeous bell-shaped flowers until June. Those same flowers start turning into dark berries with a touch of blue at the end of the summer.
  • The plant will grow from 12 inches to seven feet, depending on the species. Most of them have similar features such as thin stems that carry the flowers. The flowers can be pink, white, or green.
  • The flowers are small, regardless of the specie, and they fall on their own. You can forget about pruning or deadheading your Solomon’s seal.
  • Solomon’s seal has vividly green leaves that look shiny and are smooth to the touch. The leaves start changing colors in autumn. Your woodland garden will look otherworldly with golden specks all over.
  • While this plant can survive a couple of weeks of low winter temperatures, it will die as soon as the frost hits the ground. But don’t worry, the seeds go dormant until spring and will sprout again when the weather is warm.
  • Even though the berries look delicious and are used for food in some parts of the world, this plant is toxic to animals. If your cat or dog ingests the berries, they will have stomach problems, so keep them away from Solomon’s seal.
  • This plant is a part of Chinese and Indian culture. Some species of Solomon’s seal are often found on the menu in restaurants. Traditional dishes feature leaves and stems. Additionally, you can get Solomon’s seal tea or candy. Both of these are made of flowers.
Polygonatum
Polygonatum

Growing Solomon’s Seal

Solomon’s seal has about 60 species. Some of the more popular ones are Polygonatum biflorum that has beautiful leaves and white flowers, and Polygonatum odoratum Prince Charming that stays close to the ground and is a fast bloomer. They share almost the same properties when it comes to care and maintenance.

The plants belonging to this genus can be super small and perfect for tiny gardens, while others could grow to be 7 feet tall. However, the average height within this species is 2 feet. Some of them can spread around and go more than three feet in width. The best time to plant Solomon’s seal is either in spring or fall.

Because Solomon’s seal naturally grows next to tall trees with lots of foliage, the best thing you can do for this plant is to mimic those conditions in your yard. Choosing the perfect spot is crucial. Always go for full or partial shade as this flower is not a fan of too much sunlight. Use the same guidelines if you plan to grow Solomon’s seal indoors. Placing the planter somewhere dark is the way to go.

Solomon’s seal Indoors
Solomon’s seal Indoors

When grown indoors, Solomon’s seal loves space, so your planter should be large. Additionally, these flowers require well-draining soil. You could add compost to the dirt to mimic the natural conditions because these plants thrive when organic material is in the mix. Don’t forget to add compost every year at the start of the growing season. The soil should also be slightly acidic.

The majority of species can adapt to any climate even though they love slightly colder temperatures and moisture. Living in a hotter and dryer climate shouldn’t stop you from growing these gorgeous flowers. But they will require more attention from you. For instance, you have to protect them from direct wind, especially if it is hot, and add mulch to keep the roots as cool as possible.

Creating the ideal environment for Solomon’s seal will make this plant pest and disease-free. Remember that super damp weather could lead to discolored leaves. A fungal disease is often the cause, so act quickly. You can prevent this by improving the airflow around the flower. Slugs and snails could attack the leaves of Solomon’s seal, so look for small holes on the plant.

Watering Solomon’s Seal

It can’t be stressed enough how much Solomon’s seal flowers love moisture. The soil should be damp at all times for them to grow as fast as possible. But be careful not to overdo it. Too much water could cause root rot, so think slightly moist and not soggy.

Young plants need way more water than an already established Solomon’s seal, so always check the soil with your finger. Older plants can survive short periods without water because they store it in their rhizomes, but this doesn’t mean you should ignore them. Remember that you can excessively water Solomon’s seal in case of a drought, and the plants will quickly bounce back.

Propagating Solomon’s Seal

While you can try propagating Solomon’s seal with seeds, this method could be lengthy. The best way to grow more of these flowers is by division. It is quick and doesn’t require too much effort. Timing is everything when it comes to propagating Solomon’s seal. You can either do it in early spring or fall. The process is straight forward, and all you need is a small spade or a knife to separate rhizomes.

Make sure you pick the spot for the flower in advance and prepare the soil. The ground should be moist and enriched with organic matter. Rhizomes need to be placed horizontally and close to the surface. So cover them with a thin layer of dirt. Keep watering the new Solomon’s seal plants regularly. They are not fast growers, so it might take months for you to see any progress.

Solomon’s Seal
Solomon’s Seal

Final Thoughts

Solomon’s seal is a staple in many woodland gardens. The plant has stunning flowers, and the leaves add more texture to the landscape as well as change colors in fall. Even though it is native to the Northern Hemisphere, you can grow Solomon’s seal anywhere with a little bit of extra care and effort. Generally, the plan doesn’t need a lot of maintenance.

Planting it in the right spot is the key to success. Solomon’s seal needs well-draining soil that is packed with organic material. Your goal should be to try and replicate the natural settings. Provide this plant with a lot of shade and keep it away from too much direct sunlight.

Its bell-shaped flowers could be a gorgeous addition to your garden since they come in several different colors. When the blooming season comes to an end, the flowers are replaced by bluish berries. These fruits are found in many traditional Asian recipes, and humans can eat them. On the other hand, the berries are toxic to pets, so keep your furry pets safe.

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