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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.