A perennial for any shade garden
Polygonatum odoratum holds a special place in my heart and in my garden. In fact, every garden I’ve ever planted has had this hardy perennial in it. And they are all descendants of the ones from my grandmother’s garden. Solomon’s Seal is incredibly easy to share. I’ve carried clumps to various friends and relatives over the years and they always produce the ‘wow’ factor. They are very shallow rooted and are quite forgiving if they aren’t planted right away. As shade lovers, they create a beautiful arching mass of unbranched stalks, each with a row of twin creamy white flowers resembling slender bells hangin on the underside. These hardy perennial plants are great for a very easy-going natural look in a garden. I have placed them under rhododendrons, at the base of blueberry bushes, under shade trees and in dappled light, and they do well everywhere. I love to use them in flower arrangements when the flowers are fresh, and when the foliage turns a gorgeous yellow in the fall. Deer do like to nibble, so if you plant them be sure to have them in a protected area. They make great companion plants to hostas, ferns and astilbes, who all like shade too.
The variegated variety (polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’) has been chosen as the Perennial of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association. Plants given this honor must meet certain criteria. In order to be nominated, plants must be suitable for a wide variety of climates (these are hardy from zone 3 to zone 8,) have low maintenance requirements (they are very easy to grow,) be relatively pest and disease resistant (perfect, except for deer,) have multiple seasons of ornamental interest (interesting to look at from the time they emerge in spring until they go dormant in the fall) and be commercially available the year they get the award. ‘Variegatum’ is slightly shorter (18-24”) and more uniform than the plain green variety (24-30”) but they are both sweetly scented.