‘Polygonatum’ attractive all season

Polygonatum multiflorum. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Polygonatum multiflorum. Photo: Gerard O'Brien

Planting a low maintenance, easy care perennial is a good start to spring. 

Polygonatum multiflorum, or as it is commonly known Solomon’s seal, is a graceful and elegant perennial that has it all. It can handle a shady location, has clean, green foliage and a height that suits many spots.

Once the stems reach 30-60cm they arch over gracefully, displaying a series of quite large clear long deeply-veined green leaves.  Drooping flowers hang down under the leaves and there is even a light fragrance.

The most pretty creamy-white bell-shaped  flower  is edged with green, which fades as the flower buds open.  Solomon’s seal has a reasonable vase life and looks great as a background to floral arrangements or simply on its own.

It doesn’t require dead-heading; the flowers are small and will drop off naturally. Foliage will remain attractive all season, turning a golden yellow in autumn, then gradually dying back for the winter.

Propagation is by division in the autumn or spring, or by seed.  Polygonatum look good in a woodland situation where they can be left to naturalise.

For an early season display, they can be planted near the middle to the back of a perennial or mixed border. They are particularly good companions to Hosta, Astilbe and ferns.  See them at Dunedin Botanic Garden in the herbaceous borders.

- Garden Life is produced by Dunedin Botanic Garden.  For further information contact Barbara Wheeler.

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