I remember seeing variegated Solomon’s seal, Polygonatum odoratum Variegatum, massed for the first time. It seemed to me to be the epitome of a master gardener’s palette. Solomon’s seal spreads deliberately to form colonies, ensuring it will never become an invasive headache. The nodding, tubular flowers appear quickly in April or May.
Variegated Solomon’s seal, also known as fragrant Solomon’s seal, is an easy to grow shade perennial that should be welcome in every garden. Solomon’s seal has beautiful, long-lasting foliage on a plant that arrives in early spring and spreads diligently to form beautiful swaths as over time. Stems are maroon.
Planted with ferns (autumn fern pictured above), Solomon’s seal provides a rich foil. If you will plant it in shady spots (morning sun is fine, as the photograph below shows), you will be richly rewarded.
Variegated Solomon’s Seal: afternoon shade, rich organic soil, drought tolerant
Solomon’s seal grows 12″-24″ in rich to medium soil. It is hardy in zones 3-8 and maintenance requirements are non-existent once established. Drought tolerant after it is established, Solomon’s seal will survive with average rainfall in most locations. I never water fragrant Solomon’s seal after the first year.
Mainly spreading through underground rhizomes, Solomon’s seal stays where you plant it. Unlike, for example, northern sea oats, which throws seeds all over your garden, Solomon’s seal is a wonderful companion to other plants.
One of the common names is fragrant Solomon’s seal, but I’ve never noticed it as especially fragrant at all. You may find in the Deep South it recedes as summer progresses but it will be back the following spring.
Fall foliage is pleasant, a soft yellow. Dark blue berries form in fall, although I’ve never personally taken note of them. Native to Europe and Asia.